When we deal with painful things, do we pull away from our Lord or lean into Him?
“You’re feeling yucky today, aren’t you?” My husband asks, seating himself next to my quivering body. He reaches out and pulls me in to a warm, close embrace. I cry out in pain.
When my chronic illness flares, one of the worst symptoms is the intense hypersensitivity of my senses. Wearing clothes hurts. Hearing any noise over a whisper hurts. Moving hurts. Not moving hurts.
So when the man I love touches me, I flinch away because the touch he intends for comfort and connection hurts.
In our struggles through earthly life, many things cause us pain. We face conflict, loneliness, uncertainty, fear, rejection, regret. When we face these painful realities, our first question to God is often: Why? Why me? Why now? Why this?
But our second question to God is even more desperate: Don’t You care?
We see in the Bible that the painful things in our lives are either meant to correct us (Hebrews 12:5-10) or to strengthen and purify us (1 Peter 1:6-9). Yet when those times come, the touch that the Lord intends to show His love and personal attention to our lives seems to offer neither comfort nor connection.
“I’m sorry.” My husband withdraws his hands. “Did I hurt you?”
“Yes.” I grit my teeth. “But don’t go away. I want you to be near. I want you to hold me.”
“Even if it hurts?”
“Even if it hurts.”
So he comes close and when his touch makes me want to scream, I swallow my screams and I let him be close. It hurts. It hurts! But I pull him closer and breath in his smell and feel his warmth.
Within a few minutes, it does not hurt anymore. It feels like home.
I fall into a restful sleep.
Woman of God, this is like the One who loves you. When His touch hurts, do not flinch away, but come closer. Say: “I want you to be near. I want you to hold me.”
Persevere even when the wounds of His kindness come.
It will not be forever.
The warmth of His closeness, the comfort of His presence, and the power of His love will overcome the pain. You know His character. Trust Him, put your doubts to death, and He will give you rest.
When the pain comes, lean in.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.