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The Weight of the Years

I hope that as you read this post today, you will hear my heart behind the words I write. As your sister and sojourner through the valley of heartache and pain, I know intimately the depth of grief and torment that has throbbed within your spirit for ages. Secret aching--hidden away, ignored, minimized, and cursed--yet always there; an undercurrent of sorrow, wending its way through the years.

I offer you the inquiry of Jesus.

Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” John 5

What a question from the mouth of the Son of God!

The One who knows the deepest recess of the soul looked into the pain of this man and instantly addressed the very heart of his need and desire.

Do you want to be made well?

What would you say, if He stood before you at this moment and asked the question which carried the weight of the years?

The Desire of God

It is my passionate belief that He wants you to be made well . . . moreover, that is why He has come:

To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3

The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed
Luke 18

He sees you.

He knows every moment, every glimmer of pain and aching within your heart.
He has heard every hurtful word that was spoken to you.
He knows your every devastating thought; He knows the helplessness and the hopelessness that you have endured. He knows the bitter torment and the weary efforts to keep trying. He knows your exhaustion and your tears.

He knows.
He knows.
He knows.

And He weeps.

There is an old song by Jars of Clay that spoke to me greatly when I was young and trying desperately to make it from one day to the next:

Don't try to reach me, 'cause I'm already dead
The pain when it grips me, for things that I've done
Well I try to make you proud, but for crying out loud
Just give me a chance to hide away
the Exhaustion takes over, will this someday be over?
Fearful tears are running down
The pain you've laid don't speak a sound
Don't take my heart away from me
And they think I fell down, again

Daddy, don't you love me?
Then why do you hit me?
Momma don't you love me
Then why do you hurt me?
Well I try to make you proud, but for crying out loud
Just give me a chance to hide away
the Exhaustion takes over, will this someday be over?
A teardrop falls from up in the heavens
Drowning the sorrow of angels on high
For the least of the helpless, the hopeless, the loveless
Your Jesus, His children, He holds in His eyes

He loves you
He sees you
He knows you
protects you
He needs you
He holds you
He--Jars of Clay

Whether the bruises lie upon your skin or your soul, they are just as real. Just as debilitating.

What have you done with them?

Jesus does not want for you to carry these burdens any longer. He wants you to give them to Him; He longs for you to walk in freedom. He yearns for you to taste the sweetness of the life He offers . . . life rich in grace and joy! Laboring under the weight of pain keeps us from looking up--at Him, into His eyes, into His heart. He desires to transform your agony into a sweet sacrifice of beauty. Will you allow Him to gently enter in? For our Lord is exquisitely tender. He loves you, with a deep, fervent, abiding love.

Before we proceed, I would like to humbly venture into a very sensitive subject that will, I believe, determine whether lasting healing will come.

It is the issue of forgiveness.

Dear one, this is hard for me to write because I do not wish to add to your pain. Please know that I do not insinuate that you have not forgiven those who have inflicted injury to you; nor am I minimizing the grief and terrible wrong. I have learned that until forgiveness has been granted, there will be a stumbling block to the healing of the soul. Take comfort that you are not alone; the Son of God will give you strength for the journey.

Before Him, I humbly ask that you examine your heart for any root of bitterness or unforgiveness that may have taken hold. Ask our Heavenly Father to shed His light upon you and to reveal if there is anything that keeps you from pressing on. Follow His timing and His leading; He knows your struggle.

In the words of Corrie ten Boom, "Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you." Although on most occasions this will not bring instantaneous healing, I believe that this is the first step towards wholeness. Forgiveness releases us; when we forgive we can also rest in the knowledge that we are walking according to God's will, and in obedience. It is here, too, that He is glorified.

What forgiveness is not

I would like to make it very clear that forgiving someone does not mean that what they did doesn't matter. It doesn't mean that you will not have to walk through the valley of the shadow as you follow the leading of our Shepherd. It does not mean that you agree with what others did or said.

It does not make everything okay.

Forgiveness does not erase the truth.

However, it frees you to face the truth.

I wrote elsewhere, and will repeat:

I believe that a grave disservice is done to the spirit of a woman when she is given subtle messages that the truth of her own pain is not as important as the reputation of the ones who inflicted it.

What is the truth of the situation?

Forgiveness and truth

Psalm 56:8 You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
9 When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.

In my own experience, I found that once I could truly say that I had forgiven, a whole new world unfolded before me. It became okay to launch myself into the pain, secure in the arms of God. It became appropriate to acknowledge the grim reality of the wounds I had borne. To face the secrets and the shadows.

The journey is intensely personal, and yet as you feel your way along the paths, many things become clear:
  • God is there, within the darkness, and He has not abandoned you to bear your pain alone.
  • Although tested, your faith is greatly rewarded.
  • Through suffering, He has granted to you a catalyst for expressing His ministry to the hurting souls of others.
  • In ways that others cannot, you are able to know Him through the fellowship of His sufferings.
This is just the beginning of the richness of His grace. For those who have been tempered by affliction, weathered by distress, and tested by fires of the lacerations of life, He offers the sweetest gifts that while not erasing the scars, sanctify them and join you ever closer to Him.

None of this makes it okay.

But please, my sisters, hear me . . .

Our Redeemer makes everything beautiful in its own time. If you embark upon the odyssey of grief, He will sustain and comfort you; He will set your feet upon the path of life and fill you with joy in His presence! He will restore the years, He will bring healing and victory. I implore you to lay your broken body and your broken heart and your broken mind and your broken soul before His feet. Offer it as a sweet sacrifice, for The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Revelation 21 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me,“Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts."

1 comment:

  1. Hillary, this is beautiful. At church we sing a song that is my story...The words say, "You have been so good to me...I came here broken, you made me whole..." I have seen the healing power of Jesus in my life.

    Besides God's Word and His loving people, one of the greatest tools He used for my healing is the book Search for Significance by Robert McGee (Lifeway Publishing). Changed my life!


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