Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dealing with the Pain of Sadness

This morning my heart was heavy from the constant barrage of bad news that we have heard on the media lately. If we let the bad news be all that fills our thoughts, we soon become discouraged and depressed. We begin to worry about the world our children and our grandchildren might have to experience if the continuous violence escalates. We know in our heart that God has the power to protect them, and we know the ultimate destination of our loved ones that know Christ and that alleviates some of the concern. But what about those loved ones for which we've prayed for years that do not know Christ? Will they be able to withstand the onslaught of escalating evil if they don't have the power of Christ to see them through?

There are a couple of quotes by Henri J.M. Nouwen that I would like to include here:

"When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair and confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our own powerlessness, that is the friend who cares."

"Joy and sadness are as close to each other as the splendid colored leaves of a New England fall to the soberness of the barren trees. When you touch the hand of a returning friend, you already know that he will have to leave you again...This intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall away from us."

As Christians we know that we cannot escape the trials, troubles, pain and suffering this world can often bring, but we can overcome them because we know the Overcomer!

"In this world we will have tribulation, but take heart! I (Jesus) have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

It is such a blessing to have the community of believers that will stand with us in the face of great tribulation. They provide us comfort, offer us compassion and love, and prayer support during our darkest hours. But even if we stand alone, we will never be left comfortless, because Christ gave us the Comforter who knows our hearts and our needs even before we utter them from our mouths. We need to pray more fervently for our loved ones that do not have that assurance!

What a Friend we have in Jesus
All our grief and pain to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!

We never need to feel hopeless as long as we have the One who is our Hope!


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