Pain and Hope

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI keep a bullet to a gun that I do not own. I know that sounds odd but it serves as a powerful reminder that I plan to keep a long time. It reminds me of the reality of the heart-pain so many people face on a daily basis.

This particular bullet fell from the pocket of a man who planned on using it to take his own life. He doesn’t live in our area and he has never visited us, except this once. By “chance” he chose to stop in our parking lot. Here he would succumb to the darkness. Thankfully God had other plans. By “chance” a Christian police officer drove through our lot at the right time. God used the officer to spare the man and bring him to safety.

Two truths are evident; pain is real and God is good.

 

Every day we pass by scores of people without ever knowing the depth of pain that may be plaguing their hearts. We don’t see it easily because life conditions folks to camouflage the pain. We do too.

Thankfully Scripture doesn’t hide from pain. In particular, the Psalms show us we’re not alone when we hurt. Here we realize pain and brokenness are common denominators. The psalmist writes, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” (Psalm 13). Over and over the Psalms are gritty and raw. They’re brutally honest. They invite you in and allow you to experience the pain alongside them. Scripture however, doesn’t stop with the pain, it point us towards hope.

True hope is never found in circumstance or experience. Hope is found in a person; Jesus. That’s where Scripture points us. Jesus doesn’t belittle our pain. He doesn’t require us to act as if it doesn’t exist. True faith never asks us to deny reality. Rather, Jesus stepped into our reality. He lived the life we refuse to live and paid the penalty we deserve all to bring us hope. Hear a portion of one more Psalm:

Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

                                                Psalm 30:10-12

Hope is found in Jesus. He never attempts to hide or ignore the hurts. Neither should we.

 

I’m keeping that bullet. It reminds me that many people I pass every day are aching and groping in darkness. They desperately need hope. They desperately need Jesus.

Grace and Peace,
Steve