Suffering with hope

The Paradox of Pain and Promise

“Lament is the honest cry of a hurting heart wrestling with the paradox of pain and the promise of God’s goodness.” – Mark Vroegop

I’m so thankful for the book of Job because it acknowledges some of the most complex and honest struggles we face in seasons of deep suffering and often mirrors the questions and realities we experience in our grief. One of those realities we sometimes experience are similar to the response of Job’s friends to his suffering – accusing his anguished laments as faithless and evidence that his sorrows were caused by his own sin. And yet, in the end, we see that Job was closer to the Lord in his anguished cries of “Why Lord?!” than his friends were in their self-righteous assumptions of “godliness”. If Christ himself cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me (Matt. 27:46)?” in his greatest moments of anguish, what makes us think it’s more godly and spiritually mature to have a tough upper lip that acts as though true faith doesn’t grieve or wrestle with “why, Lord”?

Does having the Spirit in us mean we are no longer human? No, it means the Spirit works in and through our human weaknesses, pains, sorrows, sins, and grief to draw us to him and make us more like him. He doesn’t tell us to put our humanity aside, he tells us to bring our humanity to him (1 Peter 5:7). In fact, when we act as though our emotions, doubts, and griefs don’t exist, we’re not trusting the Lord with our whole selves, only the parts that we deem acceptable and put together enough to appear “godly”. But that’s not a true relationship -it’s a façade of one.

Friends, living in a fallen world, we have to acknowledge that we live in a land between – lamenting the brokenness, evil, and pain it brings, yet growing to trust God as our safe refuge where we can grieve and lament in his secure arms of steadfast love and grace.

The danger to be aware of, however, is the difference between despairing and lamenting. Despairing is grieving the pain of our circumstances on our own without hope, whereas lamenting is grieving our pain and laying are broken heart before the Lord with hope that our grief won’t have the last word. They both acknowledge pain, but the former leads us away from the Lord, and the latter leads us to him.

What sorrows and questions are you trying to push down or run from in fear of seeming “faithless”? Consider this – “faithless” means we don’t have faith in something. So bringing ourselves honestly before the Lord (even if it’s not pretty on the outside) is not faithless, it’s evidence of great faith in a trustworthy Father. So come as you are.

Fighting for hope,

Sarah

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