I wanted to share something with all of you out here in the Blogosphere, and it is now my extreme honor to do so.
Today's post focuses on how we as Christians often deal with those people in our lives who are broken, hurting, struggling and suffering. Many on a daily basis. Most times, since we seem to be really uncomfortable around them or are unsure what to say, we simply avoid them.
Or sometimes, like Job's buddies, we try to pinpoint their problems with misspoken words in the hopes of 'fixing' them. Job's friends were really off to a great start in comforting him in his time of need....until they opened their mouths.
Or perhaps -- you yourself are among the broken, the hurting, the struggling and the suffering. And nobody really seems to understand what you're dealing with or knows what to say to you.
I did not write this. It was written by someone else, a young woman named Rebekah Bell, who posted it on her Facebook page. Rebekah's friend, Christi Armstrong, a Christian mom and poetry and blog writer (like many of us here), felt her friend's message was of such an important nature that she shared it on HER Facebook page, which is where I found and read it.
And after reading it, I too felt so strongly about the subject matter, that I contacted Christi and asked for her and Rebekah's permission to share it myself.
As Christi noted when she reposted this:
"The only way things will change is if we all actually change them. Jesus went to the hurting and sat with them, where they were. He didn't sit in His comfortable life and avoid the pain others were going through. We need to start living like Jesus..."
Amen, sister, amen! Read on -- let Rebekah Bell's words and her heart's cry seep not only into your mind, but into your heart and soul as well. And perhaps -- let them change you and how you see those in your life who are hurting as they attempt to walk through the hard......
To Walk Through The Hard
by Rebekah Bell
So God is teaching me how to “walk through the hard."
This past month has been insane. Not just because of stuff in my universe… but because many people I love are going through genuinely "tough times". Tough health news. Tough relationship news. Tough job news. Tough times in their lives.
And what has been unusual for me is to watch Christians "dive into" these tough situations. These situations are in different parts of the country. Dealing with different varieties of Christians. But the response, across the board, seems to be the same. Well meaning followers are attempting to fix other people’s complex situations with "one size fits all" answers.
Without divulging details of anything, many of these situations are degenerating. Some involve diseases that won’t end in recovery. Relationships that are broken in ways that would be difficult to ever fix. Jobs that were lost because of a dying economy, making finding replacement positions immediately unlikely.
In this, how does the church help? Promises of prayer. Which are nice, but lonely solutions. People sit alone in their damaged lives, while you wander off to your happier situation to pray. Some tossed around trite scripture passages talking about "seasons" or "making things perfect in their time" or that "God has great plan for you." Which are nice. But like handing someone a flashlight without batteries, when faith is shaken by circumstance.
And sadly, I am not much help either. My heart isn’t full of grand solutions. Recently, I had to face the reality of my Grandmother’s mental condition. First, you have to understand, my Grandmother was my rock. She helped raise me. More than a Grandmother, she was my friend. We chatted about school. She taught me to drive. When times were hard, growing up, she let me sit in her house and cry (that happened a lot). My Grandmother now seems to have developed dementia. The person that I loved has changed into someone unpredictable. I am watching one of the most precious relationships in my life slip away and I can’t stop it.
To help me deal, someone gave me the "it gets better" speech. Seriously. From this, there is no better. The relationship that I once had is going to slip away, not get better.
What I need is people who are willing to help me "walk through the hard." Not tell me "look for the better."
But this is where Christians seem to "land." Easy quotes that are supposed to make things better. A prayer. Pat on the head. And you are off. Faith bright and shiny. Into a world with complex situations. Shouting "keep the faith" at people, from the safety of shore, as they bail water from a sinking boat.
Why can’t we let the bad stuff be bad? The hard stuff be hard? Situations remain broken. Why are we quick to stick a band aid on a broken leg and tell people that they should be able to walk around. Where does this impulse come from?
I think that it is because faith in a loving God is threatened by unlovely circumstances.
And that is hard to deal with. To travel that road. And we are generally unwilling to do it. We pray for protection in our lives and are happily isolated from the difficulties of others. Holding out for them pretty pictures of uncomplicated faith, rather than sitting with them in the dark places, where there aren‘t beautiful things.
I think we fear the hard. That is why we can’t let it be hard. And to me, empirically, the inevitable conclusion seems to be that God is frequently unwilling to make things easy. He lets them be hard.
Thus, if we are to call ourselves a people of a true faith, it is time for us to embrace the presence of hard things. To seek out darkness and not run away. To resist the urge to make the complex, less than what it truly is. To allow the faith to exist in the dark and forbidding places of life. Situations where "better" is unlikely. And not abandon those who are in pain, to the pain they are feeling.
It is time to learn to walk through the hard.
"Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15, NIV