What do we do with our pain?
A month ago, I hung up a wood message board in my 10-year-old daughter, Brooke’s, bathroom. A week later, as she was getting ready for school, we heard a loud bang in her bathroom. Soon after, she came out with tears in her eyes and a red mark on her foot. My wife, Teri, gave her a hug. After Brooke got herself composed I asked her, “What happened?” She said the message board fell off her wall and landed on her foot. My immediate thought was “I hope I didn’t do that to her by not putting a big enough nail in the wall.” So I asked her, “How did it fall?” She said she was not paying attention and bumped into it while combing her hair. I was sorry it happened but relieved I didn’t cause it. This was not my brightest shining moment as a dad. At that point in time it was not helpful for me to analyze. I struggle with that and have hurt my wife and my children by doing that.
We live in a world with heartache and pain, not only physically, but emotionally. Our temptation is to ask, why? Why God? What did I do to deserve this? Why would they do this to me? Did I deserve this? Was it intentional? Did they know they were hurting me? The other side of this issue is, what? What should we do with our hurts? How do we move forward?
We are tempted to think if I can understand why the pain happened it will heal the pain … that is simply not true. It can be a part of the healing, but it does not stop or heal the pain. We are also tempted to think that my healing starts with answering these why questions and that also is not true.
When we face pain, we need two things: We need comfort, and we need to process the pain.
We must suspend our analysis, seek comfort and process the pain. If someone you love or know has pain, you need to offer comfort and help them process the pain; first, by simply listening and offering empathy.
When that board fell on Brooke’s toe, she needed a hug from her mom and dad. She didn’t need analysis, she needed empathy. Where was God when I was in such pain? Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Where is God? In jails, hospitals, psychiatric wards, cancer centers, funeral homes, the homeless shelter, the YWCA, the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center. Wherever there is hurt and pain, he is close.
You are blessed if you have people in your life who provide you comfort. You are a blessing when you provide comfort. If you have received Christ as your Savior and leader of your life we can go to him with our pain and hurt. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…” In John 14:18 Jesus promises to never leave “you as orphans.” The Holy Spirit is our comforter.
Next week we will talk about how to process our pain.
Hauser is the founding and senior pastor at Prairie Heights Community Church in Fargo-Moorhead and can be reached at www.jonhauser.com