You know it in your mind.
You might even know it in your heart.
But do you live like it is true?
That introduction could apply to a lot of concepts in my life – I know it, but I don’t live it. But I’ve got something in particular in mind tonight. Something that God has settled into my heart over the past eighteen months or more. Something I need to make a priority. Something I need to live for the Lord.
Here it is: Every person who crosses my path has a deep down profound emotional hurt somewhere in their life.
As I interact with each and every child of God, each and every image bearer, I know that somewhere along their life path they have been that heap of tears on the floor wishing to turn back time, try again, take it back, or run away.
The grocery clerk, the momma shepherding her babies through the heavy glass doors, the man with his begging and blessing sign – they all need. They all have a deep wound somewhere.
It touches that familiar vulnerable part of me – reminding me how fragile we each are. Even in times of strength there is that moment, that memory, that imprint of pain.
It sounds so obvious. Our life experiences tell us it must be true, but then what.
Do we realize what it means?
Pain is the great equalizer. Social status does not matter. Economic conditions are not determinative. Age makes no difference. Physical size has no influence. Regardless of facial features, scars, eye color, cheek bone structure, or body measurements. There is still pain.
Education level makes no difference. Marital status, number of children, family structure, genetic heritage, none of it matters. There is no one safe from the playing field leveler of emotional pain.
We all hurt.
I cannot look at one and say – I’ve had more pain than her.
I cannot look at another and say “She’s avoided pain, so she must be smarter, more skilled, wiser, more blessed than me.”
I cannot look at another woman and say “She’s had more pain than me, so I am better at handling life. I must have stronger faith than her.”
We are all the same – broken, suffering, dealing with a hurt, a scar, a pain. Pain is packaged differently for each of us. A broken marriage, a lost child, cancer, depression, financial ruin – just different wrapping paper and bows on the box of pain. Inside the box it is always the same – heart wrenching and tear-stained fruits of original sin lived out in our daily lives.
It might not be immediately apparent – they may not want me to see it. It is there.
Every person – every contact – needs careful handling. There is no neutral – it has to be loving engaged interaction or it becomes cold-hearted, distant minimization of their existence.
Maybe it is not my business to see the scar, share the pain, know the story. Maybe it’s just my job to know it’s buried in there somewhere.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Gather of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
To cushion the day, to brighten the moment by realizing this child of God is running the gauntlet of our sin filled world just like me. To offer a word, a touch, a look of encouragement – that is my role.
I’m to be a reflection of God’s care and comfort – my gentle smile, my friendly acknowledgement, my willingness to look them in the eye and silently tell them they are worthy of my effort to connect.
Yes, fellow image bearer, I know it has been tough at times. I know the joys are interspersed with sorrows. I know the ache of loneliness in the crowd of human population. And I understand because the God of all comfort has taught me in the hopes that I can touch you.
This post reflects something that has been turning and tumbling and growing in my heart for a while now, but it became an opportunity also to apply for a scholarship to the She Speaks Conference – a weekend about women connecting the hearts of women to the heart of our Father God and that your heart is to serve Him and His daughters, as He leads. Anne Voskamp has a scholarship to give away to the conference. And, although I am humbled when I see what others seeking the scholarship have written, I felt compelled to put myself out there – to say I would like to go to this, but the only way is with a bit of help.