By Network Chi Alpha Director/Presbyter, Pastor Sara Good | September 01, 2021
A God that heals and a pain that lingers.
The Lord Heals. We know this. Many of us have experienced healing on many different levels. Physical healing, emotional healing, healing of relationships, and the healing of our own souls, hearts, and minds that has taken place when we have allowed Jesus to be Lord of our lives. I’ve experienced undeniable healing that has brought wholeness to the deepest part of my being. However, there is an avenue of pain that continues to have a presence in my heart and that is the heartache of loss. Over the years I have experienced a lot of different loss as I’m sure all of us have. I’ve navigated the paths of grieving in healthy ways and consistently invited the Lord into those spaces to bring healing to that pain… to that loss. My experience is that in the most beautiful way, the Lord very tangibly sits with me in that pain of loss and gives me the gift of his presence and the gift of experiencing this precious reality that “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted”. Words can’t express the comfort that comes from the presence of Jesus Himself. However, that pain of loss doesn’t disappear. The Lord doesn’t take it away. Can wholeness (healing) and this type of pain co-exist? As I have asked the Lord why this heartache is one that isn’t lifted or ever fully resolved, I have seen a glimpse of an awe-inspiring design.
First, If I lean into this pain of loss and don’t ignore it, don’t try to numb it, and refuse the mindset of needing to simply “move on “… but rather If I continue to invite Jesus in those spaces of heartache, one result is that my heart is stirred more and more deeply for the things of the Eternal. Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds us that, “God has set eternity in the human heart”. However, so many things in life can be so loud they seemingly mute or drown out that longing deep within us. The Creator Himself placed eternity in my heart and when I navigate life with the heartache and pain of loss, this deposit of the eternal is stirred and rises in me and begins to prominently reside in my mind, my perspective, in my desires, my day-to-day life. It makes me think of the Book of Hebrews that talks about Jesus’ followers who were tortured, flogged, imprisoned, stoned, killed by the sword, etc. And it says that they were consistently faithful in all of this because they were a people who thought about and longed often for a different country, a heavenly one. The more Jesus and I navigate life with this heartache of loss, the more I understand this heavenly longing.
Second, when my heartache in loss isn’t fully resolved, I begin to understand and connect more deeply with the heart of the Father when it comes to His lost sons and daughters. In The Great Physician, G. Campbell Morgan wrote “It is well now to remind ourselves that when we speak of a lost man or woman, the final emphasis in our thinking should not be on the lost person, but on the one who has lost that person. When we speak of a man being lost, do we think most about his suffering, or of the suffering of God?” Eli Gautreaux, a fellow Chi Alpha Pastor, in context of this quote by Morgan said, “When the devil has kidnapped a child of God, it is God who hurts the deepest, who suffers the most. His heart is broken as He can foresee the inevitable consequence of lost relationship – eternal separation. I cannot begin to imagine the Father’s exponential pain over the multitude of His lost children from every corner of the earth”. My heartache that comes from the weight of loss brings a deeper revelation of the heart of God and His heartbeat for His lost sons and daughters. It’s a revelation that compels me to be as bold as I can in God’s great rescue mission – that none shall perish.
Some would equate any type of pain with lack of healing. I’ve come to experience that there is a pain that is holy. A heartache that leads us closer to the heart of God and the very things we’ve been made for. I’ve known people to say that the presence of pain is reason enough to question God’s goodness. I’ve come to experience that in God’s goodness he does not simply numb or remove my heartache of loss, but rather he brings purpose to that pain and deepens my life through it.
This week, I sat across the table from 2 students I just met moments before. Through many tears they shared with me the amount of recent loss they've just experienced in their family. I wanted to console them with the right words. I wanted to help them with the process of grieving. I wanted to pray a powerful heart-healing prayer over them. However, deep down I knew it wasn’t the time for any of that. I just sat with them and let them share. The power of presence. The power of empathy. I got their phone numbers to invite them over for dinner. I’m confident the Lord will transform their pain into a sacred presence in their hearts that leads them closer to the heart of God and the very things they have been made for. I’m going to make a point to be present in their lives through that process, because I know the day when the pain of all their loss will be no more. It might not be tomorrow, or next month, or next year…It’s a day coming soon when “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” Rev. 21:4. Until then, I want to be a leader who leans into these tears, knowing that God uses this pain of loss to stir a longing for the eternal and to deepen a passion to find, feed, and fight for God’s lost lambs.