By Jennifer Davis Rash
Executive Editor, The Alabama Baptist
How can it be that my heart hurts so much? I do care for all of them deeply, but the pain that exists is theirs, not mine. Still I hurt as if it were my own.
Call after call, email after email, personal story after personal story and all in just a few months time — so many close friends and family members feeling such intense levels of loss.
One dear friend buried her 21-year-old son just days after another friend buried her 14-year-old daughter. Another has been told that it’s only a matter of time for her 2-year-old. Yet another fears this could be her child’s fate also.
One lost her husband because he doesn’t want to be married any longer; another is losing his wife for the same reason. One lost his wife to Alzheimer’s; another is losing his to cancer.
Two families are losing their adult children — one a young man, the other a young woman — to lifestyles that mock their family’s Christian faith and value system. One mother lost her teenage son to stubbornness and rebellion. Another family is working through lost trust and forgiveness.
Three young women feel the loss of not yet finding their life mate.
A handful of others lost income and struggle to pay the bills; another lost a large amount in a business investment.
The situations are all different, but they all revolve around pain, loss and a broken heart.
I know I can really never know the extent of the pain because it is their pain, but I do know that I have hurt for them at such an intense level. In every case, I’ve wanted to rush to them and take the pain away, do anything I could to heal their heart. But I know I can’t do that. Only God can care for them at that level. It is their pain to bear, and they have to decide to set their face toward the wind and push through the hurt, even with the multitude of layers and setbacks, in order to find healing.
And while it has been an honor for me to be part of the prayer and emotional support for each of them, it also has taken me on a journey of personal pain as I moved from care and concern to grieving in a sort of vicarious way I’ve never really experienced before. I took on each situation as if it was my own, and in doing so, I’ve uncovered a few areas of personal pain I really didn’t want to face. Doing this has taken a lot out of me emotionally, but the result is proving to be positive growth in me spiritually.
My time with the Lord has been so much more enriched and intense as I’ve pleaded on their behalf as well as my own. My spirit has been truly broken as I’ve wept for them and gained an increased sensitivity to the hurts of others. The Book of Psalms has come to life for me like never before, and the words of songs have ministered to me like only a few other times in my life.
The pain is deep and real; the temptation is to hide and avoid it. I’m learning a lot about just how much one’s heart can hurt and how much one can draw closer to Jesus through the pain. I also know I’m not alone. So many of us mask deep hurts every day as we weave through the many activities of life.
Share your stories and how a psalm or a song ministered to you during your time of need by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to share your stories as well as the specific Scriptures and words of songs in an upcoming Rashional Extras.