Suffering with hope

God Sees the Pain Unseen by Others

At a moment’s notice, chaos could erupt in our home. But it never failed that our most difficult moments with our child’s challenges often occurred on the mornings I was determined to make it to my bible study. And this particular morning was no different. 

Although every day was difficult with his illness when he was younger, some stood out as ones that would forever be etched in my mind. And this was one of them. 

Something triggered him that morning, as had happened countless times before, and a two hour-long episode began. As chaos went on around me and my adrenaline pumped within me, I leapt into action and buckled down for the long haul. By the time it had passed, I had an aching heart and an exhausted body. 

But the worst of it all was the overwhelming sense of loneliness that soon followed. 

Not only was I physically alone, the longer our child’s challenges went, the more isolated I felt. Very few could relate to our specific circumstances and most barely knew they existed. Even doctors seemed at a loss as to the cause, let alone the solution. 

That day, as the minutes ticked by and the intensity slowly diminished, it ended as quickly as it began. With an aching heart and exhausted body, I ran to check on the other kids who were engrossed in play, who seemed oblivious the chaos that surrounded them.

I felt the Holy Spirit’s nudge. As hard as it would be to leave now for bible study, park a mile down the street, walk with 3 children and a baby stroller toward the packed parking lot, and walk in embarrassingly late, I needed this. I needed community (even if they had no clue the burdens I was walking in with); I needed perspective; and more than anything, I needed to know God saw me and was with me. 

So I began the lengthy process of gathering coats, arguing about not needing a coat, finding shoes, arguing that winter shoes do not include sandals, buckling into the car, and arguing that I didn’t have time for them to buckle themselves. But finally, we were on our way.   

God, I don’t even have words. My heart aches and this all feels like too much. I need to know you see my pain and tears, and I need to know that you care,” I prayed.    

I drove up to the church where bible study was held and, sure enough, the parking lot was full, with cars lined up as far down the street as I could see. “I don’t have the strength to make this walk today,” I thought. So I pulled up near the front of the church, hoping that I could at least drop the kids off in childcare before parking in Timbuktu. But as I pulled around near the front, something caught my eye. Right there in the front row of the parking lot, right next to the front door, was an open spot that had been partially blocked by the door to the garbage dump, blown open by the wind. I burst out with a mixture of laughter and tears, hardly able to believe what I saw. It was as if God had said, “Sarah, I see you. I see your weary, worn, and hurting heart. And I saved you a spot.” 

Yes, in all my chaos, fears, weariness, grief, and pain – as silly as it may sound, in that moment I knew my tears were seen by the living God.

The God of Seeing

As sweet as that moment was to me, it wasn’t an end in and of itself. It was the fresh reminder of the truth that God has already spoken to us in scripture through the accounts of those who personally experienced the truth that he sees the tears and bears the sorrows of his children. 

As I sat there, the account of Hagar in Genesis 16 came to mind. Hagar was a servant girl who, after giving birth to Abram’s son (which was Sarai’s attempt at forcing the will of God to give her a son) and facing the backlash of Sarai’s jealousy, she was forced to flee into the wilderness with her child. Right when things must have seemed hopeless, “the angel of the Lord found her. (v 7)” God saw the outcast, hurting, tear-streaked face of Hagar and he drew near to her. “So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me (v 13).’”

If God saw Hagar in the wilderness when no one else could, surely he saw me and loved me enough to draw near – even when I felt like I had nothing to give in return. And surely he sees you.    

The Heavy Weight of Silent Tears

I walked into Bible Study as women were already deeply engrossed in discussion. Should I give a reason for why I was late? Would they ask why I had puffy eyes and a red face? Would it even make sense if I tried to explain why I had a mixture of grief over the morning and the silliness of a ‘miraculously’ saved parking space?

I was exhausted, weary, and unsure of how I would survive the rest of the day, but I was here and I had seen the personal, compassionate, seeing hand of God. I may be in a room where no one could imagine what had transpired the two hours prior, but Jesus saw me just as he had seen Hagar, and the evidence of his care, even if unremarkable to others, gave me the strength to press on. At least for the next moment.

If God cared enough about my tears over a dreaded long walk with a screaming child, two toddlers, and a carseat, surely he cared enough about the deep anguish within me over the fresh ache of a life I never imagined. Not only does he see my tears, but he carries my sorrows as if they are his. 

The Man of Sorrows 

Jesus, the Man of Sorrows knows what it’s like to carry an unimaginable weight that on one else can fully see, know, or carry. Isaiah 53:5 says, “He was crushed for our transgressions, he was pierced for our sins; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Jesus walked the unimaginable, lonely, painful road to the cross, so that he could not only free us from the crushing weight and penalty of sin (which is what we need more than anything else), but so that he could walk with us in our sorrows, bearing the weight of our grief, and giving us the strength to endure, knowing that, like the cross, there is purpose, hope, and redemption in our pain. I may not be able to see it or understand it right now, but I know the God of the universe sees me and loves me with the tender love of a Father. That is enough for me today.

Friend, that same God of the universe sees every tear that rolls down your cheek, whether it be sorrow in the silence of the night or a heavy burden in the noise of a crowd. You may be carrying sorrows and burdens that no one else can see or help carry at the moment, but remember that Jesus, the Man of Sorrows who gave his life for you, is strong enough to carry yours. Your tears do not fall to the ground as useless. They are held in the loving, tender, strong arms of the God who created you, the Heavenly Father who sees you, and the Savior who came to redeem you. May that be enough for you today. 

Home is around the corner,

Sarah

If this has encouraged you, you can pre-order Sarah’s new book – Tears and Tossings: Hope in the Waves of Life, releasing May 1st.

To read more on the hope we have in suffering, you can purchase “Hope When It Hurts – 30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering” authored by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell here or here. Jeff and Sarah Walton’s marriage book, Together Through the Storms – Biblical Encouragements for Your Marriage When Life Hurts. 

6 thoughts on “God Sees the Pain Unseen by Others”

  1. Absolutely encouraging! Thank you for sharing your struggles & at the same time sharing hope! God bless you & your family!

    Like

  2. Sarah,

    Greetings in the name of our precious Lord and Savior! I hope you are recovering well from your ankle surgery and that it is successful. I have so appreciated your blog posts and your perseverance in the midst of great suffering.

    I’m not even sure you’ll get this as I don’t know if you can reply to a blog email. I apologize ahead of time for the length of this email but there’s a lot of back story to get to the point.

    I want to fill you in on our Lyme journey and what has helped our family tremendously. We have 7 adult children (43 – 23) and lived in NJ for 29 years (where Lyme is (endemic) before moving to NC 14 years ago. 5 of our children and both of us have had Lyme disease, some worse than others. Our journey began in 1988 when our then 2 year old son, Marshall, developed an unexplained fever for over a week and then began limping and had red bull’s eyes on his leg and arms. Lyme was new then but fortunately, my husband had just read a memo about it at work, we’d been camping 6 weeks earlier and his Lyme test came back positive. Then in 2000 our 2nd oldest, Emily, who was 17 at the time developed Bell’s Palsy and then optic neuritis. She had several Lyme tests that came back negative and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and began treating for MS. Looking back we think she had Lyme all along. She has fared the worst with memory issues, anger flare ups, balance and walking issues, extreme body pain, sleep problems, bladder hesitancy, air hunger, extreme fatigue, sound and light sensitivity, chronic sinus infections, creepy crawly feelings in her legs, constipation, etc. Due to her health issues she has lived with us the last 10 years. Before we realized she had Lyme, our next daughter, Joyce, developed a whole host of symptoms during and after college. After her first semester of college she had a mouthful of cavities in her teeth, she had trouble sleeping, was light sensitive, had terrible fatigue, couldn’t retrieve words, had air hunger and had a lot of gut issues. She saw infectious disease doctors and GI doctors to no avail. Then she went to see Dr. Jemsek (a LLD) in Washington DC. He diagnosed her with Lyme had her on a slew of antibiotics, Mepron and other medications for almost two years. She somewhat improved but the meds wrecked her gut even more (and certainly wrecked our checkbook) and she was developing arthritis in her hands. At this point, we started both of them down the holistic path with HBOT, applied kinesiology, homeopathics, Rife machine and supplements which helped some. In the meantime, our at the time 6 year old, Diana, had a bull’s eye rash and had a 3 week course of antibiotics. However, she became very withdrawn, sound sensitive, fatigued, had a lot of back pain and had trouble sleeping so we started her on the same holistic course which helped minimally. Then our 5th child began having issues in college with weight gain, gut issues, not sleeping, depression, irregular periods and aching back. During this time, I had fatigue, terrible stomach issues and developed MCAS (Mast cell activation syndrome). Due to the MCAS my diet became very restricted. All this time, my husband seemed ok but struggled with fatigue and depression. In 2006, our daughter, Emily, became suicidal due to the constant pain she was in. She had heard of a product called LymeN (made from minerals) which you nebulize so it gets in your lungs and then goes throughout the body. She was desperate and called Jeanne Grant who was the administrator for the LymeN. It was incredibly expensive $ 3,800 but Emily was desperate. They do a saliva test and look at the saliva under a microscope to look for the actual Lyme spirochetes. They have found that spirochetes like to hang out in the mouth and are also easily passed from person to person so they recommend testing and treating the whole family. So the 5 of us at home got tested and we all tested positive and all did at least 60 days of nebulizing. Fortunately, although it was still expensive, they lowered the cost for us and comped Emily several bottles. Jeanne herself had been bed ridden for 3 years with Lyme and all 4 of her kids and her mother had Lyme quite seriously before they found and used LymeN so she gets it. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t cured us but it has helped all of us tremendously. I think it got rid of the Lyme and coinfections but we have remaining damage and/or our bodies are still in that fight or flight pattern to some degree. It supposedly helps your body fight and kill off Lyme and coinfections. Emily still has walking and balance issues and has continued to decline but many of her other symptoms are gone or are much improved. My gut and fatigue are much, much better and my MCAS seems to be improving. Our youngest, Diana, had a dramatic improvement. She went from being anti-social and coming home every day from school and napping for an hour or two and then also napping on the weekends to joining the school soccer team and making friends with a whole new group of girls. Joyce improved quite a bit and was working a regular job, sleeping well and enjoying time with friends. Since then, she’s moved to Asheville and I think was re-infected and her health isn’t great. My husband didn’t seem to notice much improvement. Overall though, I would say it was well worth it and has generally improved our health. LymeN was initially developed by one scientist and then improved upon by another scientist who then sold it as LymeN. Jeanne (who is a Christian) was frustrated that the second scientist was charging so much and wanted it to be more affordable to help more people. She went back to the original scientist and set up a foundation and they are selling an improved version of his original product Imuch like LymeN) under the name Vive. I spoke with Jeannie about you and your family and she said she’d be happy to talk to you and would be able to sell you the Vive at a reduced cost. For some reason, (which I didn’t understand) she said they needed to list the price online as $700 a bottle but she has a discount code to make it more like $200 a bottle and would possibly comp you some bottles.

    I know all this sounds crazy. Feel free to email me back if you have questions. If you’re interested Jeannie’s number is:

    Jeanne Grant 703-389-9144

    The website for the Vive is https://viveminerals.com/

    Let me know if you get this.

    Grace and Peace,

    Pam Rein

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.