Monday, May 05, 2014

Where is God when it hurts?

Did you know that people who suffer with leprosy actually become injured as a result of a lack of pain?  Did you know that they don't even realize that they have cut their hand, sprained their ankle or burnt their finger?  I can't even imagine.

In the beginning of Philip Yancey's book, Where Is God When It Hurts, he talks about these things a lot.  He talks about the importance of pain.  The reasons for pain.  That pain is actually a sort of signal for us to pay attention to something.

This seems logical.  Terrible, but logical.  I don't want to experience pain.  Pain means I'm alive.  I can feel.  I have emotions.  But at times, it feels unbearable.  When I'm honest with myself and others, sometimes I just don't care.  I don't want to experience this anymore.  There's pain.  Disappointment.  Inconvenience.  Grief.  Fear.  Hopelessness.

Progress means I'm not apathetic.  It means I embrace my pain and tell others about it.  Do you know how painful it is to tell others about your pain? Well of course you probably do.  But over and over again?  I want to be a hermit.  I want to stop "processing" with others.  I want to stop telling my story.  Telling my story in many ways feels like I'm reliving it and I just don't want to do that anymore.  Can I just be honest and say that?

But I'm the missionary.  I'm supposed to have it all together.  Well, like a post from a few days ago, I can let you in on another secret.  I am one big, huge hot mess.  I've beat this dead horse.  I've tried coming at it with a sledge hammer.  Check.  A shovel.  Check.  How about a baseball bat.  Check.  What other methods do I need to beat a dead horse?  I don't know.

This process is slow.  There are no answers.  There are no right or wrong ways to do this (ok, there's definitely a wrong way).  It's just plain slow and painful.  I want to feel normal.  I want to sleep normally again.  I want to make new friends and not want to hide from conversations with people, even people I like.

Oh Lord.  Give me grace.  Give me clarity.  Give me the courage to face this pain that you seemingly have allowed me to go through.  Why?  It doesn't feel fair.  It doesn't feel nice.  It feels like God is downright mean at times.  He loves me.  Yeah, but that love is painful right now.  The cost of following Jesus is real.  And tangible.  Right now.  I wrestle honestly with God: is it worth it?

My mind is kind of a jumbled mess right now.  My heart is doing better.  Again, it's slow.  Right now, I choose to be faithful.  To my kids.  To my responsibilities.  To processing.  And to keep reaching for the light at the end of the tunnel.  There's always hope.


judy said...


Niki Shirkman said...


Thanks so much for your vulnerability and honesty. While I of course grieve at the pain you're feeling, I'm thankful for you sharing it with us. Praying for you guys!

Niki Shirkman