God, when I was young, I thought there were only two plausible reasons for pain in my life, deep pain especially: first was that You were angry with me, and second was that I deserved to be treated so poorly. It’s taken me a long time to learn better and to not be afraid of pain. The very deepest pain of all You bore Yourself and still do. You took all our sins, bore their weight and their condemnation and their punishment, and You bore the condemnation and rejection and separation from the Father, which I suspect hurt worst of all. But now You still bear our pains and pain no one can bear but Yourself.
Who can know the pain of creating someone in Your very own image, granting them life and breath and everything, and loving them beyond measure, only to have them reject, scorn, defy, and deny You repeatedly and intentionally? We beget our children, but we do not create them in the same way You created us. We do not sustain them in the same way You sustain us. We do not watch over them or know them in the same way that You always watch over us and know us deeply and fully. What pain You must bear! Even Your children who acknowledge You and try to live for You, so often we fail. So often we put ourselves first and disgrace Your name, which You bestowed on us. So often we doubt Your wisdom, Your goodness, Your presence, even Your existence, and the sincerity of Your heart.
How humble and patient is Your love that You allow Yourself to be misunderstood and wrongly judged so many times, even by those who profess to love You! Even more, You also bear our pains and our sorrows. You collect our tears and weep when our hearts break. You feel with us. You make Your heart open and vulnerable to be wrenched by our anguish, no matter if its cause is our own doing or another’s. You let Yourself experience “all the feels” because You love us. How much pain You must endure, bearing the weight of all the sorrows across the world! Yet You do not withdraw Your heart from a single one of us.
God, how unspeakable must be the joy that is in store, that You would regard all this pain, which You know and bear more than we do, as worth it and as not comparable to what is ahead, not even close.
Forgive us for feeling sorry for ourselves and dwelling in pity, as if You’ve looked away from us, as if You’ve done us wrong, as if You don’t have higher purposes, as if You allow what You are incapable of making right or using for good, as if You don’t care, as if You don’t feel the pain and bear it with us, as if You are not loving, as if You are not wise, as if You are not our Master and Shepherd, as if You are not worthy of being God.
How much pain You must bear from this race called humans, which You’ve created! Yet You created us anyway. How strong is Your love! You never withdraw from us or shield or block off Your heart. You accept the pain, great though it is. Even more, You allow pain in our lives, even as much as You love us dearly, even as much as it pains You when we hurt. You must know it’s all worth it. You must have a plan to use it and to renew all things, to redeem. What You have in store must be much, much greater than the trials we suffer here. You must have very important purposes for everything. You must be very intentional. Your love must be unspeakably strong and relentless.
Forgive me for feeling sorry for myself. Forgive me for doubting the intentions of Your heart and Your ability to restore. “Redeem” is an amazing word. You do not often, I think, “fix,” which is often what we ask You to do. But to redeem is so much more beautiful. To redeem is so much “big picture” and long-lasting. To redeem is transformative, actually adding beauty and value and meaning. To redeem is to take something broken and make it glorious. To fix is just to take what’s been broken and make it the same ordinary thing it was before. So often we cling to the past because we lack the imagination, the faith, and the hope to see a future more glorious than what we had and what we’ve known. We doubt Your ability to truly redeem. We doubt what You have in store could truly be better than what we’ve already received from Your hands.
And that’s another point, isn’t it? What we already had – that which we want You to fix – was also given to us by You! It’s as if we say, “No, LORD, You had it right (or better) the first time! You must have lost Your touch. Just put everything back the way it was!” What presumptuous creatures we are. I’m sorry for all the times I think I know better than You, as if I see more clearly than You or can recognize what is good better than You! How foolish I am! Forgive me for all the times I try to counsel You or to manipulate You into doing things I want You to, as if I’m afraid You’re going to mess something up! And as if You’re capable of being duped and controlled by a speck of ignorant dust like me! I am so foolish.
Yet You love me. Yet You don’t turn Your heart away from me. Yet You hold me. How great You are! How great is Your love! Thank You.