I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a cutsey, eye-catching way to draw you in and wow you with my 2 w’s. Wit and Wisdom. But I can think of nothing at all witty or wise to say so I’m just going to jump right in with both feet, since that is typically how I roll.
Have you ever had one of those times where the hits just keep coming? You’ve barely recovered from one hit when the next one comes. Or maybe it comes as you’re still reeling from the pain of the last encounter?
You’re left breathless and feeling more than a little like you’re coming apart, only it’s not a nice neat coming a part at the seams. No, it’s a big, ugly hole in the middle of your dress. It’s the sting of the loose string someone pulled and now you’re being exposed.
And it’s cold.
It’s the words someone says to you that are true. And you know they’re true. The words being spoken to you about you are all very true, and you know you never claimed to be the opposite of the words, but there they are all up in your face. And you’re left feeling like a liar at best and a more than a little wounded as you puzzle over why on earth they thought the words needed to be said at all.
Because you never claimed to be what they are telling you you aren’t. Not once. In fact, you never even had the thought that you were or could be until they asked you too be it or do it. Until they led you to believe you could be something you weren’t.
All their encouragement and tenderness as you tried on the new and found a passion that lit the fire of your soul now feels fake and like a lie from the deepest pit of deepest hell.
And you never claimed to be good at it. You never claimed to be a professional. You never even knew you had the skills they claimed to have seen. You never would have attempted it without their encouraging.
And now here you are, months later, once again finding yourself horribly inadequate, unwanted, unneeded, unnecessary, cast aside, rejected yet again.
You never claimed or wanted any of that. But here you are. Reading words that bring a quick sting of tears to your eyes and nose, the quick intake of breath before your face involuntarily crumbles as your body convulses with sobs and you land in a shattered heap on the floor.
You ask over and over, “Jesus! What? What does this mean? Why did You allow this? Why?” You pray for eyes that are open to His answer, ears that are attentive to hear His voice whispering in the midst of your pain-filled sobbing.
You long to run. You want to be anyplace but here. But right here is where you are and you know you can’t escape. You must stay here in the agony of the hurt. You must stay right here in the painful place and wait for His voice, you have to, as my friend says, “embrace the pain.” All you really want to do though is shove it way, make it stop. Run far and fast. So far so fast in ten years time you’ll still be running.
Over time your prayer changes to “What do you have to teach me, Lord? And can You teach me quickly?” Because you’re still about avoiding the pain.
Your friend threw an arrow and it hit its intended target with deadly accuracy. You pray, “Lord, yank it out! Yank out that arrow, even if it means I bleed to death, yank it out because it hurts too much. Yank it out, please!”
Job 23:10 runs laps in your mind:
“But He knows the way I take, and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
And you chant this as if it was your new mantra. You pray it back to Him as you bleed out your heart to Him. Every breath a new agony, every breath a prayer. A prayer just to keep your lungs taking in oxygen and giving off carbon dioxide.
Breathe in, breathe out. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Breathe in the Life of Him, knowing it is only His Life that is keeping you alive. Breathe out His Life. Choose to fixate your gaze on Him and not on those who would hurt you.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
And in that moment you know it’s only His life and His grace that is keeping you alive at all. You know fully now that if you can only cling to Him in this painful place you will find Him fully capable and more than willing to take your painful heart and heal it.
You begin to see that He was treated this same way by His friends. They all left Him and fled in His greatest hour of need. And you wonder how on earth He could have managed the cross all alone.
And I mean, all alone. Because not only was He alone on the cross, all His friends had fled, but His Father also left Him alone. The greatest hours of darkness this earth has ever known were that Friday as Jesus hung on the cross.
And He hung there. For love. For the love.
For the love, He hung there for me! For you.
And what a prize He got. He hung there to the death for His enemies. Because that is what I was. What you were. His enemies.
And we dare to compare our paltry little hurts from friends to His sacrifice. I can’t say I’d die for my friends, I know that probably makes me a bad friend. If I wouldn’t die for my friends, I sure won’t die for an enemy.
But He did.
For the love.