My heart ached as I left the parking lot. My dear friend had just shared with me the cruel blow life has dealt her. Her eyes mirrored the pain in her soul as she tried to give it words, but there were none sufficient to describe her suffering. It is too deep for words.
Had she shared with a much younger me, I would have quickly responded with words of encouragement or even scriptures for her to quote….the younger me that had never experienced such agony of heart….the younger me who was completely uncomfortable with another’s pain….the younger me that had a lot to learn about life and people…. But this me, the one with scars of her own, knew those words of the past would ring hollow.
I do not know exactly how she feels. To believe that God has created each individual unique in our own way is also to believe that our experiences can be shared at some level while remaining uniquely our own at their depth. There is a loneliness in this sorrow. There is an emptiness of all else except the pain. And there is only One Who can touch this place that is too deep for words.
We talked briefly and prayed together. I hugged her to express my love and hopefully impart at least a momentary comfort. She made a comment that reverberated through my mind all evening like an echo from my own past, “I’m trying to stay in faith.” More than anything I wanted my friend to know that she has permission to be sad, for it is an even greater pain to pretend you are not. Even more painful is to believe that the depth of sorrow that is too deep for words is evidence that faith has faltered. It is not.
Great faith doesn’t prevent heartache. Great faith often falls to its knees in brokenness and tears. Great faith acknowledges weakness and utter helplessness. Great faith cries to the Father with groans that are too deep for words.
Somewhere in our learning how to “be” Christians I fear we have lost sight of this Father-child relationship. We believe to ask “why” is to doubt His sovereignty and to insult His character, so we muster up what we think faith is – pretending our pain doesn’t exist or that it doesn’t matter to us. But faith only works by love. His love. To walk in faith begins with believing that He has for us an indescribable, immeasurable, and unshakable love for us. If we know that our Father has this love for us, we have no fear in asking Him anything. He is not angry with us or disappointed in us because we ask why our lives have been touched with such heartache, or to ask how we are to get through it. Great faith asks even when the answer may be too hard to understand.
In prophesying what Jesus would accomplish for us, Isaiah wrote “…Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried…” (53:4) Some would say that this means we do not have to experience grief and sorrow. I do not agree. I believe that just as Jesus came to deliver us from our sin, yet we still experience sin, He also came to promise us that when we experience grief and sorrow it would not destroy us. He knew that grief and sorrow can be so intense that it threatens to consume us. He came so that it wouldn’t. Great faith endures and experiences grief and sorrow when it comes because He promised we would survive.
So for you, my precious friend, I weep with you as you weep. I pray that you will not be afraid as you go through this pain. I will be here for you if you want to talk, or if you want to sit together in silence. I remind you that this is not a measure or a test of your faith, you are a person of great faith. You are loved.