In the last several years there have been good events and blessings flow through my life and there have been some very hard, I-never-expected this things that have happened.
Things that hurt and leave me feeling vulnerable. Things that bring tears and make my heart break for others. Places I never would’ve chosen to walk through and see others walk through.
It hurts to be hurt by others. It hurts to be judged. It hurts to be excluded, even when it’s unknowingly. It hurts to be hurt by other Christians. Christians shouldn’t hurt each other, but we’re still warring against the flesh. Forgiven in a fallen world. Striving for perfection though punctuated with imperfection.
It hurts to be welcome, but not wanted. There’s a difference you know. It hurts to feel held at arm’s length. It hurts to be hurt by decisions other people make. Decisions that I have no part in. No say in. No influence in. Yet, I am affected by them.
It hurts to see others be emotionally mistreated. It hurts to see hurts and be powerless to change them or heal them. To know, that your best human efforts are feeble and worthless and are like a tiny butterfly bandage trying to hold a gaping wound together.
It hurts to know that I hurt others. That I too, cause hurts knowingly and unknowingly. Selfishly and humanly. It hurts to know that I have and I will. It hurts to know it will happen and it is one of Satan’s best weapons against us. The guilt. The discord.
It hurts. It all hurts. It hurts.
My fingers pound at the keyboard as the words pour out. Pounding away at the hurt.
Because what do you do with these words~
“Supposedly, the most segregated hour in America is on Sunday morning when Christians gather for church, divided along lines of denomination, culture, race, and worship style. And though often unintentional, this separation keeps the strength of the global church from flourishing against the cultural attacks of the enemy.” Priscilla Shirer/Gideon
And what do you do with five churches within minutes of your home and how many more not that much farther?
And if it hurts me and it feels like an endless circle, how must it feel to God?
I want easy.
My flesh wants easy. I like easy. But God likes me depending on Him, clinging to Him, falling on Him. I cling harder during hard and hurt, than I do during easy and comfortable.
If I were the storywriter, the plot would be laid out completely different in places and easy would replace hard.
But here’s the thing…I’m starting to see fruit that would not be here without the pruning of hard things.
It takes my breath away to see what can only be from God blossom forth. And the thing is too, it didn’t happen quickly. I’m slowly learning that God has all the time in the world. He uses hard things. He grows compassion for others through hard things. He softens hard edges through hard things. He dispels the robes of my instant judgement of others through hard things. His tender, loving mercy welling up inside, because I’ve walked in hard places.
Hard places don’t feel worth it at the time. They hurt. They hurt. They hurt.
Climbing the mountain hurts. It has its scary-bottom-dropped-out-of-my-world times.
But the view at the top. Oh, the view at the top!
That, “Who I am Lord, that you would bring me this far?”
Knowing I would’ve missed this moment if I had never walked those hard, rocky places.
My faithful God. He’s known all along. He knows what’s ahead.
Hurt will come. Until my Abba takes me home, hurt will happen. But what an incredible privilege to be so overcome with His faithfulness and turn and look back over my shoulder, tears pouring down my cheeks, as I see who I am and where I am because God loves me.
I wouldn’t be in the work He has for me today, if it weren’t for the hurt of yesterday.
I am amazed.
Three score years and ten. I’m halfway there and I am just starting to catch a glimmer of the immensity and power of my God, the Creator of the universe. A lifetime will never be enough time. Never, ever, ever.
No wonder God made eternity.