“Yes, I am small. Yes, I am often weak. Yes, I am needy. But no, I will not despair. Why? Because my success does not depend entirely on me. When I fail, God keeps me going. When I fall, he picks me up. As I trust in him, he gives me everything I need to succeed.”
We live in a society that is constantly telling us that to show any emotion is a sign of weakness. Our culture emphasizes self-strength, self-reliance, self-this, self-that, blah, blah, blah. And if we aren’t flexing our “strength-muscles” 24/7, the world turns on us at the drop of a hat…or in this case, at the first sign of a tear.
We must be careful in how we approach the heart of a person who is hurting. We can never really know what a person is going through…what they deal with on a daily basis, the rejection they’ve felt, the grief they’ve experienced, they stress they are under, the demands at work, the demands at home, physicality issues, etc…and you most assuredly cannot determine the level of pain a person experiences in their own personal situation. We cannot put a measure on pain anymore than we can determine the length of a period of grief. What affects a person deeply may not affect you in the same way. And…what affects you deeply may not affect someone else in the same way. You just can’t compare the heaviness of the pain of two different people. No scale in the world is big enough for that. Still feel prone to judge? God may just give you the opportunity to experience first-hand what that person is going through.
We have a tendency to look at a person and think, “Oh my GOSH! What the heck is wrong with them? Why can’t they just get it together already?!” We zero in on what we can see and fail to take into account “the rest of the story”. The things that God has asked a person to walk through are not always for us to know and most definitely not for us to pick apart.
Scripture says that Jesus was “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”, or in some versions, “familiar with suffering” (ref. Isaiah 53:3) The original Greek here for “suffer” is to experience, to suffer, and to endure. And “Grief”: a wound or injury, sickness or affliction. “Sorrow”: pain and grief…
…To think that we can wear a mark that says we are “His” and then go through life shielded from anything that would harm us, hurt us, upset us, or cause us to appear less together than we would like is absolutely unrealistic. It’s even more absurd to think that we can protect ourselves.
I remember a time when I was so hardened. I prided myself on the walls that I had built. But those very walls of self-protection soon became a prison.
A funny thing happens when you don’t let anything out…nothing can get IN either!…no love, no Truth, no purpose, no encouragement. And the very fortress you’ve built to defend yourself ends up causing damage…to yourself and to others.
But where do we turn when the proverbial “poo” hits the fan and our usual “self-o-steel” is nowhere to be found?
God comes in and, without apology, begins to tear down those walls and we begin to see just how vulnerable we truly are. All of that self-reliant steel melts away like ice under the Refiner’s fire. Because He wants us to be reliant on HIM. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Sometimes, we have a choice in the matter…and sometimes we don’t! The more He wants us, the more He will chase us and slowly begin to chisel away at our pride until we can see far enough inside to see just how soft we really are. Given enough worldly amo, those walls take hit after hit until all it takes is just one good “poof” and they fall over, dissolving like dust. (ref. Proverbs 16:18)
…and then a beautiful thing happens…the healing begins. God allows us to be torn down, so that He can build us back up….and the real fun begins! Because a life of beauty is built on a past of pain that has been restored by His Sovereign hand.
…We need Him. We can’t do this alone. It’s no weakness to admit that there are days, even seasons when it seems that everything is falling apart. God uses these seasons for purposes that we often can’t see until a time has come for them to be fulfilled.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
..and it’s often darkest just before dawn.