A week ago I blogged about vulnerability (here) and although I didn’t spell it out literally- the question burning in my heart was “How do we process pain? We all carry some. And how do we support someone who’s pain is community news?” I ended my post with “I have no answers only conviction.”
Today I have an answer.
It’s crazy how it all worked, but God answered that blog.
I’m on an email list for a Sunday School commentary from Wendell and Laura (bless y’all) and occasionally they will add in a bonus sermon.
Sometime recently they sent a copy of the sermon “Dealing with Emotional Pain” by Phil Beiler (I’d love to email it to you if you’re interested) and I read all 15 pages. Twice.
Basically here’s the summary:
John 9: Jesus heals the blind man by spitting on the ground and putting the dirt on his face and sending him to wash it off. There’s a lot that happens in the next verses-they discuss whether or not he was born blind because of sin (Jesus says “no, he’s been dealing with this all these years so that God’s power can be made manifest thru this experience ) The man receives sight and immediately is rejected-first by his neighbors (“This is just someone who looks like the blind man.”) Then by the church officials – they listen carefully to his account and then say “can’t be possible, let’s talk to his parents.” The parents-because they feared their standing in the church-say “He was blind, but now he’s not. He’s an adult-ask him what happened.” So they go back to the man and instead of rejoicing with him over his miracle-they kick him out of church. And that’s when Jesus shows up again. “Do you believe on the Son of God?” And he says “Who is He that I might believe?” Jesus says “You’re talking to Him.” The formerly blind man said “Lord I believe” and he worshipped Him.
So what we have here is a man who’s entire life was surrounded by the pain of loss. A quick time line would be: Born blind with all those complications. Huge miracle of gaining sight. Tremendous loss of being rejected by everyone-friends, church, and family. At that point, Jesus finds him alone. He believes and worships.
Mr Beiler made a point I thought worth repeating “So, we forgive. Yet there is something there that doesn’t quite go away. Do you know what I am talking about? There is a pain there. It is one thing to forgive. But it is another thing – what do you do with that pain?”
Emotional pain is not a result of unconfessed sin in someone’s life. Rather it’s the reality of what’s left after a traumatic experience.
We all bear scars. Some scars are deep- the pain of complete rejection from people who should’ve stood by you. Some scars aren’t from someone’s choice to wrong you- but merely circumstances-like repeated health issues, or the pain of losing someone close to you through death.
So what now? What do you do when life’s circumstances and the pain that it involves shrouds your life like a heavy coat?
The answer is found in John 9:38 “and he worshipped.” Deep worship.
“Don’t do reasoning. Go by faith. Trusting God in faith you will find answers. You will find healing in worship.” -Phil Beiler
I heard the quote recently “God doesn’t waste pain-we can waste our pain, but God doesn’t.” I love that. We don’t often have a choice in emotional pain. But we can choose how to move forward. May it always send us running into the arms of Our Loving Heavenly Father with hearts ready to lay aside self, seeking to worship.
How Great is Our God that even in the most difficult moments of our lives, He’s able to take things intended for evil, and use them for good?
“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me”
Let us worship.