When we’re faced with many challenges, it can be difficult to understand the presence of God amidst the struggle. Where is God? Why would He let this happen? These are common questions that we have when dealing with difficult times. But are these questions the best way to find God in the presence of pain?
God created us for total union with him. Evil—the absences of good—attempts to separate us from God. The Christian response to evil is to refuse to give in to the darkness and pain of the moment and reach back to God who is already reaching out to us in that moment of pain. As Christians, we are privileged to know that evil is not the end of the story. God gives us the power to receive his light in the darkness and to spread that light to others who are suffering as well.
Are you looking for healing? Struggling to find God in the hurt?
Let’s look at three effective ways to find God’s light in the midst of darkness:
Show God the Wound–When we go to the doctor, we have to show the doctor the wound in order for him to treat and heal it. God wants to give us his healing grace when we are hurting, but he can only do that if we are honest about how we are hurting. Too often, we want our prayers to be pretty. We don’t want to show God that we are anguished, angry, bitter, or resentful, especially if we are anguished, angry, bitter, and resentful toward him! But God wants us to be honest with him. He is big enough to handle whatever we need to tell him and strong enough to take us beating on his chest. Don’t ever be afraid to show the Divine Physician where you are hurting. Let him treat the wound no matter how ugly it might seem to you. Your honesty opens the door to his grace.
“Why” Is the Wrong Question–Evil is a mystery. We can’t ever understand why something happened, and even if we could, it wouldn’t make the pain go away. When you are hurting, don’t ask “why.” Instead ask, “What does God want me to make of this? How can I respond to this situation in a way that will enable me to open my heart to God’s light and share his light with others?” Suffering is only redemptive if we respond to it in grace, but if we do that, God will create something awesome out of even the awful. Just look at the cross and the resurrection! When Satan tries to nail you–and those you love–to the cross. Ask God for the grace to rise up in the darkness and be his light in the world.
Be Patient–When we are hurting, the hardest thing to do is wait on the Lord. But it can help to know that being patient doesn’t just mean sitting around passively in our pain. Patience is the virtue that allows us to see how God’s grace and our good efforts are taking shape. Like a repairman who steps back from the job to see if what he has done is working and what he still might need to do next, patience involves an ongoing conversation with God that allows us to commit ourselves to the process of healing and rebuilding while resisting the urge to exhaust ourselves pushing buttons and turning knobs to no effect just so we can feel like we are “doing something.” Patience allows us to be avoid becoming powerlessly passive or hopelessly hysterical in the face of pain, and instead, enables us to be powerfully proactive.
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