"When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was." Job 2:11-13
I love how they responded because they went to him, they grieved for him and along with him, and then they remained with him even when they knew that they could not change circumstances.
Andy Stanley has a fantastic message on the topic of Pain in a series called Twisted titled "Facing Forward". [It's Part 3, for those of you who may be inspired to follow the link and listen...which I highly recommend!] In his message he uses one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. Please don't be mistaken and take this as God is shouting at us and He's using this pain as a message to try to 'get our attention' or 'make us pay'. I struggled with that way of thinking for a long, long time because I had [and sometimes still have] the tendency to believe that I was experiencing a painful event as punishment as a result of something that I had done. Of course, our decisions can lead us to experience painful situations, but once again, I was giving myself way too much credit for being able to control my life and my circumstances and figure out God's responses to my behavior. Besides, God is a God of grace, not in your face punishment. He loves us. [and because he loves us, he disciplines us, yes.] He grieves with us.
For those of you who love music as much as I do, I have certain "go to" songs depending upon whether I'm experiencing good, bad, mediocre, or somewhere in between. I also have weird hang-ups about only listening to Alison Krauss during the fall months but that's another post for another psychotherapist to decipher. So here are some of my current favorite songs for when things in life are a little chaotic or full of hurt and confusion:
I Will Not Be Moved. Natalie Grant.
Overcome. Jeremy Camp.
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You). Kelly Clarkson. [Confession: I do the dance that's in the video on a regular basis in my living room. And I look super awesome when I do.]
The Hurt and The Healer. MercyMe
Walk. Foo Fighters. [Not going to lie: There really aren't very many situations in life in which FF can't improve matters at least a little.]
Times Like These. Foo Fighters.
Lift High. Steve Fee. "Nothing brings him greater fame / When broken people call his name."
God's Not Dead. Newsboys.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge in this post that today would have been my daddy's 57th birthday. We miss him greatly and there are still some days when I catch myself thinking "Really? My dad isn't here and I can't just pick up the phone and call him if I want to?" It's not that I'm in denial, it's just that even after almost three years, the death of a loved one is still a bit surreal. It catches you off guard at the most unexpected times. In the beginning those moments were absolutely excruciating and I dreaded them. It was still too new and the pain was far too great. Eventually though those moments became welcome because they serve as nice reminders of sweet memories. [Even if the nice man sitting next to you on the airplane cannot for the life of him figure out why this girl just suddenly teared up for no apparent reason at all in mid-conversation.]
So, if you're out there reading this and you happen to be going through a painful period in life, not only can you get through it, you will get through it.