Humans desire to not only leave a mark on the places they go: “Sam was here July 2017”; but we also take remembrances of the places travel. We collect t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, photos, and key chains. I do not buy trinkets, I collect pain.
I gather stories, not the history of locations, I do not remember the details. I amass feelings, the joy, the sadness, the fear, the awe, the confusion, and the exhaustion of those around me. My accumulation includes the emotion found after someone says: “Please pray for my friend” or “Let me tell you about”. Some of these remembrances are complete enough to have the amazing resolution to the difficulty, but most do not.
My library of stories is vast involving people of all ages, races, and life experiences. Many of the volumes contain my own tears; because they are my life’s events. They are arranged by categories such as: hilarious, joyous, sorrow filled, and bittersweet.
I just returned from a six-day journey that involved an international airport, going through customs, and the collection of emotions.
The purposes of the trip were:
- Make residents aware of groups of Jesus worshipers in their midst through our small free carnivals and a parenting class based on the book I wrote.
- Find people who are seeking God by knocking on their door and offering to pray for them and surveying those who attended one of the carnivals or baseball clinic.
- Share the good news of Jesus Christ.
- Meet the needs of the believers through supplies, Bible based activities with their children, prayer, smiles, and advice.
- Encourage the leaders who feel lonely or overwhelmed.
- Listen to the stories of the amazing things God is doing.
The letter below is my attempt to complete my purpose.
I heard of your crisis today. I truly cannot imagine your pain. Although you did all that was possible, it still happened. I want to believe that there is always logic and order to the world. Certainly, there is a basic order to the universe, but even in the laws of nature there is the unexpected flood, or genetic mutation (Genesis 3:17-19). So just as you were helpless to stop the tragedy, in this instance, you are not the lone catalyst either.
Only people with faith say: “God, why didn’t You intervene? In other instances, You protected, provided, and prevented, but not for me. For me, You are stony and silent. What reasoning do You use to justify your attentiveness at times, and unresponsiveness at on other occasions? Is your love and power based on whim?”
Although it may give you little comfort, Job (Job 30:20-21), John the Baptist (Matthew 11:2, 3, 6) and Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) each struggled with those same questions.
The truth is that many died, and continue to die without ever receiving an explanation from God (Hebrews 11:13).
When you became a Christian, you placed your trust in Jesus’s ability to forgive your sins. You declared by faith that Jesus was God’s perfect only Son, who died to pay for your transgressions. You knew your baptism represented Jesus’ resurrection from the grave and the new eternal life you now have with Him. What you could not know at the time, was that you would be forced to rely on that same faith numerous times throughout your life (Daniel 3:17, 18).
Whether the crisis of belief comes in the form of: crime, addiction, divorce, earthquake, illness, death of a child, fire, loss of a job, or a hundred other things; all Christians have their faith challenged. Will you believe that God totally loves you, He is always wise, His timing is continually perfect, and is all-powerful, even when your emotional pain causes you to be physically ill? Is your faith conditional? Will you believe even when you cannot feel His presence?
In moments like these, I cried out: “Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24). I want faith, but I am lacking even a mustard seed of trust (Luke 17:6).” I wish I could tell you: “Then my sorrow parted like the Red Sea, or I heard God’s still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13), or angels appeared to give me comfort (Mark 1:13).” But usually what happened was another Christian called, or came by my home. Sometimes God would remind me of a song or a verse from the Bible. Occasionally He would call my name (John 20:16).
As I thumb through the stories of my life, I can point to some shouting, “Hallelujah”. I understand now; I see God’s presence all over the situation now that it is over. But there are others that still baffle me, and a few that even now bring tears. Time removes pain in some instances, but sometimes the sorrow is just as intense years later.
Why am telling you all of this?
Pain is meant to be shared, let other’s help you carry the load (Galatians 6:2).
Do not waste your time saying, “if only”; you must accept what has happened (Lamentations 3).
Even when God seems to be absent, He is there. Keep being honest with Him (Psalm 22:1-2, 19-20).
Remind yourself to trust in God’s character, even when your circumstances scream otherwise (Psalms 142). Memorize scriptures that contradict your feelings (Psalm 20:7, Psalm 27:1).
Start or continue your prayer journal. Read your previous journal entries to remind you of answered prayer and how your perspective has changed (Romans 5:3-5).
Be patient with yourself as you grieve. You cannot control grief.
When you control your actions you will better manage your emotions. For example:
Choose to do something kind for someone else every day.
Pursue a physically healthy activities such as: nutrition, exercise, and sleep every day.
Talk casually to someone other than your family every day.
Do something you used to enjoy every day.
Prepare for the future by planning an activity, an event, or making an appointment for the next week.
When satan uses words like hopeless (Hebrews 6:18,19), sing praise songs (Psalm 31:24).
If satan tries to make you feel guilty for laughing, then Praise God, you are healing (Nehemiah 8:10). Celebrate every joy and every blessing!
Dear Believer, I am so sorry you are suffering. I am listing below passages that have helped me.
Your Soul Sister, Jayna
“No one has ever seen this, and no one has ever heard about it.
No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been able to teach him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2: 9, 16 NCV)
So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can defeat us. He did not spare his own Son but gave him for us all. So with Jesus, God will surely give us all things. Who can accuse the people God has chosen? No one, because God is the One who makes them right. Who can say God’s people are guilty? No one, because Christ Jesus died, but he was also raised from the dead, and now he is on God’s right side, appealing to God for us. Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can troubles or problems or sufferings or hunger or nakedness or danger or violent death? As it is written in the Scriptures:
“For you we are in danger of death all the time.
People think we are worth no more than sheep to be killed.”
But in all these things we are completely victorious through God who showed his love for us. Yes, I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us, nothing below us, nor anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:31-38 NCV)