What to Do with Pain… and Dare Thirty-Six
Eyes wet, tears slipped down her face.
Drowning in sorrow over wrong doing and lack of hope, she fought the hardening of her heart, somewhat unsuccessfully. She’s waited for years for things to be different. Worked hard, obeyed, confessed.
Whom could she talk to?
Who would understand?
To her, it seemed like there was no one.
Like the woman in Dare 36, we all have moments when our emotions threaten to run away with our hearts. In my head, this looks like a horse that bolts from fear, startled, galloping away to somewhere, anywhere else – looking for safety.
I was reading this morning about Joseph. “Coincidentally,” I’ve also been listening to a sermon series on his life. I thought of the moment where his brothers threw him in the well, then sold him into slavery. What would that have been like for a 17-year old boy/man, to be humiliated like that by those you love, to be stripped of your dignity, to be alone, and then sold?
I can’t even imagine, although, like you, I’m probably not alone in being hurt by those I love. I asked God as I read, “Where were You? I know You were there somehow, but where?”
Psalm 139:8-10 says:
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.
Joseph himself said in Genesis 50:20 in speaking to his brothers, “You meant it for evil; God meant it for good.”
I confess I often can’t see His goodness in the midst of my difficulties very easily. Most of the time, I can’t see it at all, and just sit and cry, and wonder and ask Him, “God, where are You in the middle of this?”
And then He reminds me of Moses.
He reminds me of The Wait.
All believers, not just Moses, not just Joseph, but all of them (US!) go through many periods of waiting. Those periods of wait are trials that build faith, perseverance, and hope like no other difficulty. Scan the Bible and realize the wait for the saints. Starting with Abraham, ending with the disciples, even Jesus waited – while God worked on things they weren’t often even aware of, they waited.
And imagine Moses, ten times going to Pharaoh, saying the same thing, and being turned down. I might have given up around time 4 or 5. Maybe 3. “He’s not going to do this, God…” then going back one more time – at least he had the benefit of the plagues. Often in our wait, we see nothing happening.
I confess I don’t have the perseverance necessary to do this life well. His Spirit within me somehow gets past my selfish heart to facilitate the next single step. And I hate waiting. I hate waiting while I or others are suffering, I hate waiting while I think I know where I’m supposed to be going and don’t understand the purpose of the wait. Looking back, however, the hindsight is often so much clearer, isn’t it?
I think of those women (like you? 🙂 ) who are persevering in marriages where they have been hurting and feeling alone, invisible, ignored, unimportant, insulted, criticized… for so long… the waiting is so very hard. But in the words of Oswald Chambers, “Whenever God gives a vision to a saint, he puts the saint in the shadow of His hand, as it were, and the saint’s duty is to be still and listen…When God gives a vision and darkness follows, waiting on God will bring you into accordance with the vision He has given if you await His timing. Otherwise, you try to do away with the supernatural in God’s undertakings. Never try to help God fulfill His word.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: An Updated Edition in Today’s Language, ed. by James Reimann – Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1992, entry for January 19)
And so we wait. There’s work in the waiting, breakfast has to be made, laundry done, toilets swished, dishes put away, noses wiped, tears dried, instruction given, driving… so much driving… and listening – so much listening both to God and to those with whom we live.
I get a devotional delivered to my email and today’s entry said this: “It is a paradox but it’s true: God often calls us to a ministry – then He deliberately thwarts our efforts to achieve our goals!” I’ve seen that in the seven years we’ve been doing ministry, knowing Daughters of Sarah needs to “get out there” and yet struggling to make it happen – both technologically, developmentally, and financially. And here we are seven years later, after working and waiting, receiving just the right donations at just the perfect timing to do just the next thing. We just received the biggest donation we’ve ever received, and it literally changes everything for us. And the timing is absolutely PERFECT. 🙂
Of course. 🙂
And the waiting this time? Crazy easy. Four months ago, someone on my team asked how we were going to distribute the videos when we didn’t have the money – and I said, “I don’t know, but God does and it will happen when He wants it to.” And I literally didn’t doubt. I hoped that it would be sooner versus later, and it was, but even if it hadn’t been, I seriously would have been okay with that. This is huge growth for me… I’ve finally learned that we fail big when we do things other than what He wants. I’ve learned we must do only what He wants – even if it is in opposition to those around us – in the timing He suggests, lest we be disobedient and suffer the natural consequences of that disobedience. Lest you think I’m boasting, I’m just saying I’ve grown and can see it for once – and as sure as I am of that, I’m also 100% sure I’m still learning this same lesson! 🙂 There are things in my life I’m still waiting on, and “doing the wait” seriously lame sauce-style. 🙁
I’ve watched and waited while those on my team suffer things for years, waiting for deliverance. And that is the absolute hardest, I think, to watch those you love wait while in pain, or even worse, while their children are in pain. I feel it now as I open email and answer my phone and receive emergency prayer request texts… Please pray as we are all still waiting, listening, growing. It’s a rough road, one paved in tears, but worth traveling.
Sorta like marriage.
And not unlike the pain the woman in Dare 36 went through that day, and the weeks leading up to it, and the weeks after it.
Today, He encouraged me with this passage, and I hope it comforts you in your wait:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. Proverbs 3:5-7
What about you? What have YOU seen Him do after a wait?
Would love to hear from you today! So glad you are on the journey with us.
Love to you!
Here’s a few other things you might enjoy today: (but let us know what you’re waiting on first! 🙂 )
Shouldn’t He have to Earn Respect?
Why Does Respect Matter in Marriage?
101 Ways to Love Your Wife (for men)
Thank you for this.
I looked at the list of “expectations for my husband that I release” which I had made over a year ago. The expectations were not huge, and I made them and sincerely released them. Much to my surprise, all three of the “expectations that I release to GOD” came in effect. Obviously, this had nothing to do with me. SO, I am going to write a list of “expectations of myself (things I want changed in me)” and release them as well. It might work, and self-effort has not worked.
Also, I found todays’ writing very encouraging. There really does seem to be a lot we need to leave in His hands. This was a really good confirmation, and reminder.
AWESOME!!! 🙂 He is so good, all the time! 🙂
Some days the only thing I see in the wait is me getting older. ugg Youth is exchanged for wisdom.
In the wait? Growth in Christ and knowing him more. Knowing myself and my husband more. Letting go of oodles of things that don’t count for much.
OOdles. There are! And there’s such bliss in “the knowing,’ don’t you think? So glad you are here! 🙂
I am very impatient! God has been working on this in me my whole life! At this point, I now try to look for a reason to see something as a blessing…
As an example… Last year over Thanksgiving, my husband was not ready yet for a family holiday as we had only just started counseling and living together again. I was hurt and saddened that he would rather spend the day with friends instead of me and our daughter. BUT, instead of dwelling on it, I looked at it as an opportunity. I called my father who I had not spent a holiday with since I met my husband… My daughter and I spent the day with him and his wife. Even though the power went out and we ended up at a restaurant, it was great! I got to spend a holiday with my dad again and my daughter did too.. My husband had a nice day and welcomed me home when we arrived..
My good spirit and attitude did me very well this day.. I thanked the Lord for the challenge and was glad I was able to come through shining in His glory!
THIS is such a great example of living in the Spirit – finding what is good, especially when dealing with something you can’t change. Well done. Great example for us all! 🙂
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