I’m the first to say that I don’t like most clique Christian quotes thrown at hurting people in an effort to “help” them.
“Jesus is enough” to someone who’s lonely.
“You’ll see him again one day” to some one who’s grieving a death or miscarriage.
“Be content” to a mother who desperately needs a bigger house.
Or, the famous “Repent of your lack of joy” when tears keep flowing for “too long”.
But what is too long, and why is healing so often delayed?
I’d love to take a look inside the world of sorrow, where joy is a window carved into dark walls, feeling far out of reach to someone whose world has gone up in flames hot enough for smoke to keep billowing into the atmosphere for months and years, affecting the very air they breathe on a daily basis.
I’d love to talk with the person who wakes in despair no matter the amount of Bible verses you tell yourself to believe.
And I’d love to address the sudden frustration you may experience when others speak into your situation with no experience and a few pat quotes to “get you moving along to healing”.
You might feel guilty that you’re not acquainted with the reality imposed on you by those verses. To top it off, you may feel angry by another assuming you needed to hear words that seem so far out of reach. OR, you may feel only despair because you don’t know how to experience what they’re talking about.
I’m here to tell you that those words are not out of reach, and your right as a child of God is to experience them in the deepest recesses of your soul.
Hope, life, healing, and actual joy—how does that sound?!
I’d like to share a few things on how to get there, if that’s okay. Because I absolutely know how you’re feeling right now, and I’d love to breathe hope into you as others did into me.
1. The Christian church often denies humanity in its efforts to attain spirituality.
How about this, instead?
Rather than being in denial of our humanity, we invite Jesus into our humanity.
We weren’t created to deny the truth of our loneliness; we were made to invite Jesus into our loneliness.
We weren’t asked to stuff grief into some inner box while we paste on a “holy” smile at church; we were invited to watch Jesus weep with us, and find comfort in mutual tears. Remember how He wept with Mary and Martha, standing by the tomb before calling Lazarus from the dead?
And in our quest for contentment, we weren’t told to deny that we have needs; rather, Jesus invites us to ASK Him for what we need.
Rather than push our needs away, we are invited to bring Jesus into those needs.
2. Forcing needs to the back burner deprives us of bringing Jesus to the forefront of our lives.
I don’t have much more to say except that the shift in thinking is vital to healing.
Spiritualizing or denying needs makes us more needy because we lock Jesus out when we deny how much we need Him IN.
Acknowledging our grief, loneliness, pain makes us fully aware that we need Jesus to be with us.
This brings us to one of those clique quotes: “God will never give you more than you can handle.”
I beg to disagree! My life was far too much for me to handle. I recognized that as joy threatened to disappear entirely. I begged and asked, cried and prayed—and God came with His beautiful, beautiful presence inside of me.
There are no words for the beautiful presence of Jesus. When you experience Him, there is no one Who could take His presence. Then, when you’re tempted with something, you’ll turn away because your greatest fear is no longer deprivation, it is living without the presence of God.
God replaces deprivation with invitation.
For several years, I asked God for joy. Day spun onto weary day as I did the next thing, trying to find the presence of God to be enough. And as I recognized that I was not enough, I was forced to lean so hard on Jesus, my weight on Him proving that He wouldn’t crash along with everything else in my life. That fact alone drew me to His heart more, more, and more until I was blown away by His good, good presence within me.
The other day I did a short video on finding joy in plan B. I wished I could have explained the hope I felt after living with debilitating grief.
Because when I speak about HEALING, I am speaking about GRIEF.
Grief invites Grace.
Loneliness invites company.
Pain invites Healing.
Let me ask you this: Why can people like Joni Erickson Tada find abundant life?
Because she learned to reckon with a paralyzed body and face her grief over it. Something devastating led her to look to Some One for deliverance.
He did it for me; He did it for her; and He will do it for YOU.