Jesus DOES Care About Our Suffering
It’s been quite a while since I posted here. It’s been a while since I’ve done a lot actually.
I created this space during a season of hope, excitement, and healing. Functional medicine was changing my world, my life, and I just had to share. I wanted to build people up in their faith, and encourage them to keep hanging on tight to Jesus, to their hope.
Pretty quickly I began to realize that even when we do everything “right,” ulitmately things are still out of our control. And for a control freak like me, that didn’t settle well.
My healing hit a plateau. My marriage began to shake violently again. Finances became a stress that gave me panic attacks daily.
I realized that I didn’t have my life together as much as I had thought. I liked to pretend I did, you know—fake it till you make it, but truth is, deep down I was falling apart on the inside. I clung to Jesus, without actually dealing with the trauma I was walking through. And it caught up to me. Choked out all my words and optimsim and a lot of my hope.
It dawned on me, as I almost took down this blog entirely yesterday, that my readers probably were never looking for a perfect Sydney to encourage them. In fact, I keep thinking about the girl who randomy commented a couple months ago completely out of the blue because she’d found this blog, and she seemed so encouraged by the fact that she wasn’t alone.
Another friend reminded me recently that I need to remember the hope I set out to give people, that I was such a source of it for her and many other struggling people.
Maybe that’s why Satan attacked it so hard—because where my pain was, there was also my hope. Where my discouragment was, hope always seemed to win the war of my mind. Seems about right he’d go after my hope next.
Blogs are supposed to be all about the readers—adding value to their lives. But these days I just feel like I don’t have much value to give. Because ya’ll, I’m in the trenches and God doesn’t seem to be swooping me out. It’s more like he’s leading me through the muck and flying bullets, tossing me a gas mask and telling me to stick close and follow his lead.
I’m like, “but you’re GOD, for crying out loud!! END THIS! End this for everyone I love!”
And God’s like “just trust me.”
Well, you know what—if you are here discouraged and looking for someone to validate your feelings of anger and distrust for God—well, I think I can now finally do that. In the past, even in the midst of my pain, I would have still remained that person who behaved much like Job’s friends in Scripture, you know, the ones who only seemed to make things worse every time they opened their mouths—
But now, now it’s different. For the first time my hope is hanging on by a thread. And that’s terrifying. Because in the past when my faith felt weak, my hope kept me holding on. For faith to struggle AND hope to diminish, now that’s a hard spot to be. I read in a book by Susie Larson yesterday that we need to believe and live as if Jesus really, genuinely cares about us and what we are going through. I closed the book, choked back tears, and muttered “yea right, you do…” to Jesus himself.
Maybe though, that’s right where Jesus needed me to be to actually get through to me? I’ve always doubted his love, been insecure, trying to prove to Him why he should accept me. I struggle in relationships to let anyone in and my skepticism about people’s concern for me is through the roof. That carries over to Jesus too. Because I fear he will let me down, and recently he really did (or so it feels like).
Thank goodness though God is big enough to handle our anger and our questions and sense of disappointment in him.
This morning he used a really bad situation to heal a tiny piece of my heart—he took my “yea right; like you really care” attitude from yesterday and showed me exactly how much he does care.
Someone I love is in the hospital suffering right now. I’m not super close to him, but he is famlily and I care about him. I am especially fond of his mom and feel very close and connected to her. She’s suffering too through this, but in a different way—emotionally. He’s in extreme pain and there just isn’t anything doctors can really do. No mother should have to bear that. No young man should have to endure what he does.
I’ve been burning in anger at God for this. Furious is probably an understatement. I’m pretty sure my rage would have made me walk straight up to Jesus if he were physically here waving my fist and telling him what a complete dissapointment I thought he was. (Just keeping it real here. I promise I do love Him, but hey, we all have our moments, and God’s checking my heart.)
I have been been even more angry about this man’s pain than my own. I couldn’t sleep last night because I just kept waking up and crying out to God for him. Well, kind of; more like reminding God that this was “his fault” and that I wanted him to fix it. Spoiler alert though, it’s not actually God’s fault that we live in a fallen world that brought pain upon us. But it does still feel hard sometimes not to blame him.
Anyway, I found myself asking God to just let me carry the weight of this young man’s pain for a day. I tossed and turned and could not seem to sleep and I kept dreaming about him and dreaming that I was praying and waking up and praying and you get the point—all I wanted was for God to let me take his pain on myself. I kept insisting I could handle it. I live in pain every day. I have spent weeks at a time in excruciating, debilitating pain—I kept insisting to God that I could take his and endure it for him so he could have a break. That’s all I wanted. But God didn’t grant it to me.
When I sat down to process a whole lot of emotions today, it dawned on me—I, the girl who complains like it’s her full time job about how much she hates living in pain, just begged God to give me MORE pain to save someone else. Yea, I know, it makes absolutely no sense. Especially since I’m not even super close to this guy.
You know what it taught me though? —That if an unattached human can hurt that deeply watching someone suffer, how much greater does it hurt Jesus’, our literal CREATOR’S heart, when he sees us suffering?
He spoke right to that great, deep doubt that I unkindly threw in his face yesterday.
He DOES actually care. Deeply. So much that he died, DIED for me. So much that he DID take my eternal pain. So much that he IS carrying my friend’s pain. So much that he IS carrying my friend’s mom through this.
So much that he lets himself hurt, because I do believe it hurts him now, watching us suffer in order to accomplsh some sovereign plans that we can’t even begin to wrap our earthly minds around.
Today he humbled me.
One might still ask, if it hurts him and us—why is he allowing it?
And the truth is, while I would have tried to give an elaborate answer in the past, I really don’t know. But I do know he sees a perspective that we don’t.
So from now on, when my hope is fragile, my faith is weak, my mind is tired, and my body is sore—I guess I’ll hold on to the fear and reverence of my Sovereign, all-knowing God.
He’s teaching me something, working somehow. And even if it’s not clear to me yet, I know, despite my feelings that He is sovereign and he does in fact care.
He cares about you too.
Now, that’s all the backwards, confusing encouragement I’ve got today. I’ll try to pop in here a little more often again, but be ready for real, raw life with chronic illness and pain.
Praying for everyone who is suffering. You are far from alone.