For a second, I cannot hear anything. Maybe pain deafens too.
There are different forms of pain, but I believe the highest of them all is death. Because it steals hope and contradicts everything that life stands for.
When I lost my brother a few years back, it was an entanglement with not just bad news but a new kind of pain that was not willing to let go. It was something insidious, clingy; with everything working together to remind me of my loss.
If there is one thing I am grateful for, it is that God did not let it kill me. I did not rebel in the traditional manner because of my loss. Yes, I felt cheated and stolen from; yes, I looked up sometimes and asked God why it had to happen that way but somehow, I never doubted or even considered God in any of it. As a matter of fact, I did not care enough about God, He was like a distant cousin – like I know we are supposed to be related and stuff so that is fine but please let distant remain distant. I did not know Him.
But I would be lying if I said the pain did not change me. Not in the way that you are thinking; no I did not get angry at the world for my loss, it was no fault of theirs. However, it helped me develop more strongly, the idea of ‘Life is too short, do what makes you happy.’ This phrase ran me street and led me to God.
It made me prone to intentionally making wrong decisions because all I had in mind was how short life was. I wanted to try out new stuff, dangerous stuff, risky stuff; and all because it would be unfair to myself and this fleeting nature of life to do otherwise. Life is short after all, do you get? I HAVE to do these things! This is a vivid picture of me destroying my future in my present because of my past.
It is not the same for everyone but the truth is that pain does have the potential to change you and it most often will. However, it is up to you to see it for what it is and make up your mind not to let pain dictate the things that you do or the way you treat other people. Living a life where most of your actions are determined by how you feel as influenced by pain may have you pushing away people who really care about you just because you feel they do not understand.
Nobody needs to understand to care.Maranatha.
This is probably the most important thing I want to tell you with this story. One mistake I made in my time of grief was to ignore everyone who had not experienced my kind of loss. Their condolences, no matter how heartfelt, meant nothing to me. After all, you have not lost someone, how can you feel what I feel?
I was wrong. So wrong. All I had to do was hurt for my loved ones to hurt too. They did not need to go through the same experience for their consolations to be valid. The validity of their ‘sorrys’ was dependent on the fact that they loved me. It was selfish of me to go through such hurt and want people around me to have gone through it just so I could feel their grief on my behalf was genuine.
I saw the helplessness in their eyes when they tried to give me an assurance they did not have. How they triple checked their words before saying it so as not to offend me. How, in spite of this checking, the words always came out slowly and with a tenderness mostly experienced by babies. They did not want me to hurt more than I already was. God forbid they added to my pain.
One thing about letting the people that love you in on your pain is that it helps you become more receptive and this in turn, makes healing easier for you. To share is to also heal and at some point, I actually started to like sharing with people because through that, I could remove the focus of the story from pain and start to learn from it. Asides from that, you bond more with your loved ones when you trust them enough to let them in on your pain.
It is so easy to see everything or everyone through the lens of your pain. But it is also a dangerous, myopic thing to do.Maranatha
Pain is not limited to this sort of situation. For me, death is the height of pain. It means you stop trying for there is no possibility in death, only life. Still, it does not invalidate any other form of pain that you may be going through right now.
This is really a plea, to let go of any hurt in your heart and let God heal you. I did not have God in my life when I experienced this loss and I wish I did for who comforts better than the Holy Spirit? No one.
Pain may be inevitable, but not suffering. Suffering is the decision to hold on to pain and that is a choice. Can you let go? Can you stop filtering your decisions through the lens of pain? I love Hannah and how she handles her grief over her barrenness. See, she prayed from the depth of here anguish and resentment (1 Samuel 1:16). Such strong words paint a picture of how much pain had invaded Hannah’s soul because of her inability to bear a child. She could have been bitter, she could have taken the old Nollywood method and put poison in Penninah’s food (I’m sure she will taste the food with the poison in it but she won’t die), she could have tried to kill her children but no… her pain drove her to God and every negative thing she felt was poured out on the altar.
You can do that too. You can bring that pain and anguish to God, our healer. He is able and willing to perform a heart surgery on you right now and all you have to do is lay on His operating table and close your eyes in trust. He don’t make wrong moves.
Remember we have a High Priest, Jesus, that can relate to all we go though as humans because He also lived as a man (Hebrews 4:15). Imagine being punished for a crime you did not commit? It was the height of injustice and yet, on Calvary, He looked at you and me with joy. So He can relate, bring your pain and hurt to Him. He can teach you to be joyful despite pain. He can teach you to let go of pain. He wants to.
I pray for you reading this, that for any form of pain you’re experiencing, Abba heals you right now for He is able and willing. I proclaim peace over you, one that you will search for the words to explain but will come up speechless. In the Name of the One who is above every other name. Amen.
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