“You have given me many troubles and bad times, but you will give me life again.
When I am almost dead,
you will keep me alive.”
Psalm 71:20, NCV
“He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
Isaiah 53:3, NASB
Everyone hurts sometimes. We all will face our sorrows. But there are times, when our pain pounds us intensely. Sometimes it seems that we need God’s Flexeril. When we need it, as a muscle relaxer (for a strained back) it is useful. But if we abuse it and don’t really need it– it suddenly turns into a deep problem.
Sorrow is the effects of a hammering emotional or spiritual pain. I have never spoken out about this, but my wife and I had a daughter who died— stillborn. She was doing great, up to a week before her due date. We knew that in seven days, we would be able to see her– face-to-face.
But that was not to be. Elizabeth Grace Lowe died from strangulation (from her own umbilical cord.) Nothing could have been done. My wife had noticed a moment of very frantic activity, as Elizabeth fought for her life. We plummeted from ecstatic joy to a devastating sorrow in minutes. It came “out-of-the-blue,” totally unexpected. We both were completely undone.
“For the Lord will not reject forever,
For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion
According to His abundant lovingkindness.
For He does not afflict willingly
Or grieve the sons of men.”
Lamentations 3:32-33, NASB
There is pain, but there are promises. There is sadness, but there are psalms. There is a blessing on all those who grieve. This topic deserves far more attention than this simple post. (But they say, fools always want to play “Hamlet,” so I guess I’m not immune.)
There is such sorrow in this life, much more than the human heart can possibly contain. But our Savior has a title (one of many.) He is the “Man of Sorrows.” He is the one “on point.” He leads us through such intense hostility. He guides us when things get very dark.
There are a few things that I want to communicate to you. These have come out of great darkness.
- God takes the full blame for our pain and sorrow. He doesn’t shift the blame, or deny His presence in our sufferings. Sometimes you need to adjust your theology.
- Jesus has fully shared our sorrow. All that you are feeling right now, He feels. If you feel you are at a minus 10, then He does as well. As you suffer, He is your shadow.
- Nothing is ever wasted. We really shouldn’t treat these moments of sorrow as a waste. Have you ever wondered at Jesus’ ‘economy’ after the 5000 were fed? He assigns value to the leftovers. The disciples pick up their baskets and collect everything up again. Nothing will go to waste.
- This pain, this sorrow is the “intensive crash course” in becoming a person of mercy. You now will always walk with a limp. At times the scars will be quite visible to those who can really see. This will become forever a healed wound (but a wound nevertheless.) It helps to seek out others who have walked this same path. I don’t think I will ever fully trust a person who doesn’t walk with a limp.
- You will need (but maybe not accept,) the transformation of your suffering into glory. This will take some time, and it almost feels like your not progressing at all. I encourage you to re-think the above points. The Holy Spirit is working, perhaps behind the scenes.
*“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Psalm 147:3, NLT
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.”
Isaiah 61:1, NLT