This was not the planned post for today, but, when I woke up this morning, my brain was already writing it. I hate when my brain gets a head start like that. It takes a while for my fingers to catch up. I was going to post this on my ‘personal’ site, but you all have asked for more glimpses into my life. This is me listening, and what a fitting first “My Life” post.
A week ago, today, I was hit with some of the most crushing pain I’ve experienced in quite some time. It was the kind of pain that keeps you up, destroys your appetite, and turns you into nothing more than a… blob. That’s what I was in the aftermath last Thursday- a blob.
Disappointment. Hurt. Anger. They are all thieves of joy, but also a really big and real part of life.
The question I asked over and over again during the past week is: God, why? Why tell me to trust You and then lead me to this?
Ever wonder what kind of spiteful and vindictive God we serve?
I’m not saying God is spiteful and vindictive (He isn’t), but in moments of intense hurt, we can react much like a confused and frustrated five year old:
“You’re the worst
Mom God ever!”
Let me tell you what, I’ve been there before. I’ve been here before, wrestling with the idea that God is just some all-cosmic abuser of His children who delights in raising their hopes and crushing them. I completely understand that feeling.
God, I trusted you and look at what You did. See where trust has gotten me?
We start to operate under the assumption that God is just like everyone else. Bitterness starts to take root. Hatred starts to bloom. We push through the pain, insistent that we will overpower it in sheer strength, and it will never– repeat, never– happen again. We build walls, assemble guards. This wall will never fall.
We turn to self-empowerment and play the “Bad Blood” video over and over again. We’re going to show the pain, the one who caused it, and the God who lead us here- we’re going to show them all who is boss.
Okay, maybe that’s just my natural reaction.
Pain is a very real part of our lives, and we all react differently. There are different kinds of pain too.
But what I’ve learned from all the pain, is this:
I’ve gotten angry at God over the past week. I’ve been furious with Him. How could He?
And the response of all my friends was to get out of the situation. Set the bridge on fire, and watch it burn, they said. Cut it off, and never let it happen again. The goal: end the pain as quickly as possible.
Like someone whose home was being overtaken by a fire, I ran back in, burns still fresh, trying to grab what little I could. It wasn’t all bad! There were some good things, and I was going to take them with me.
God, where do I go from here?
No! You have to be joking right now.
Stay, because He is using this, and He isn’t done yet.
This morning as I got up, I thought of herbs. We use them for all sorts of things, but years ago, I was nicknamed after one.
An organization I worked with named their leaders after plants. (Reserve your comments) It was just something fun they did. For whatever reason, mine was a struggle to decide. Finally, while the group was hiking the Appalachian Trail, I earned my name. I was named Eucalyptus- a healer. An herb that was strong and sweet, and a plant that was resilient. My friends called me “Calypso.”
The thing about herbs is, sometimes the most powerful use for them is… crushed. I’m sure if a basil leaf could talk, it would object to being smashed in a mortar and pestle, but crushing herbs releases their oils.
Crushing them makes them more useful. It makes them stronger.
Sometimes I feel that can be God’s purpose in pain, not to crush us, but to make us stronger. We think that the best form for ourselves is a whole, unbroken leaf. So, we do our best to maintain that state.
When the mortar slams down against us, we scramble to get out. What does God think He’s doing? Doesn’t He know that brokenness is painful, and ugly!?
What if, instead of struggling so hard to end the brokenness, to get all better and to return to normal, we chose to let the brokenness heal us and bring healing to others?
That doesn’t mean we purposefully cause ourselves pain. That also doesn’t mean we stay in physically abusive relationships or anything like that. If you are in one, please get out as safely as you can.
But when God leads us to a place of pain. When he brings the mortar down into that pestle and begins to break us, healing comes with staying there and trusting Him. No, this may not be what you had planned for this particular instance in your life, but if you stay, you’ll see what He had planned. It will likely be exponentially better.
So, my prayer for you today, dear reader, is this:
That in whatever brokenness you face today you would resist the urge to flee it or fix it. Instead, trust. Remember that everything is reversed in the Kingdom. The broken find healing. The humble find grace. The last shall be first. Stay right there in that place and let Him finish the work He is doing. Trust Him to finish it. It may hurt, but it will heal- you and those around you.
One thing I have seen over and over again in my life is that God uses brokenness. He is an expert in doing so.
If there is anyone you can trust with your pain, it is God.