Love is a big gamble. When you open your heart and allow yourself to feel for someone else there’s an inevitability you’re going to get hurt. Not necessarily because they will hurt you, but definitely -as you draw closer- you will hurt WITH them.
I’ve slowly come to realize (and to appreciate) that the heart-ache and hurt I feel for someone else’s “pain and suffering” brings with it an incredible by-product, (a gift even) of my heart stretching bigger! Have you seen the cute little holiday video, “The Grinch That Stole Christmas”? I love the scene toward the end of the cartoon where The Grinch finally allows his situation to change him, and then as he grabs his chest in pain, his heart grows several sizes. It actually breaks the tiny box that contains it.
I’m rarely short on words (especially to God) and so when someone I love is suffering, I tell Him all about how I feel, how I think this or that stinks and how it’s really hurting their heart and mine too. When I don’t see immediate change happening and the whatever remains… on-going, big and ugly it’s so easy for me to become angry, hurt, frustrated. That’s when it’s time to stop (!) the swirling thoughts, the sometimes-frantic prayers and just feel the hurt knowing it’s ok. Father God feels their pain with me.
I can trust He is doing something in their situation. It’s my inability to figure out His plan that’s frustrating me! He just won’t be figured out or pinned down and that’s what makes Him so… Creator. Sometimes His work is quietly behind the scenes, sometimes straight out in front -if we could only recognize His movings. Either way, God in His great timing and wisdom, knows how to grow beauty! He is all out to reap the biggest harvest of results… the greatest of rewards. Even within the messiest pains of life. Isn’t Jesus’ Life, Death, and Resurrection the perfect example?! And I have the silly cartoon as a mental picture that growth is also happening inside of me. S T R E T C H!
To love another- my family, my friend, my neighbor, a stranger (until they aren’t one anymore) …is so worth the cost and the risk to my heart. “Dear Father, hold my friend close to You. I’m ok with feeling their pain because You are just sharing a little of Your heart with me. Teach me how to love like You do. In Jesus’ Name.”