God, in the end, gives people what they most want, including freedom from himself. What could be more fair?-C. S. Lewis
I have a theory that God means nothing to those who feel they do not need him. This is not to say that God only exists for those who need him, as if the idea of "God" is some abstract concept that we offer the hurting and poor. No, I simply mean that the poor in heart seek God because they realize nothing else in this world can satisfy them. Because they seek God, he reveals himself to them ("Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." James 4:8a).
Pain is often the driving force that compels someone to run to God. Like a cattle herder, pain eliminates every other outlet for comfort until the person enduring it has only one vision-- the Lord.
I have never encountered anyone who has at one point or another, has not conversed with God during pain (let me just say that I am sure they exist, but none have crossed my path so far). But everyone has some kind of dialogue with God when they are in emotional and spiritual pain. These are some of the types:
- I have met people who when have their belief in God shaken during pain: "Doesn't God love me? Why is he doing this? What did I ever do to deserve this?" (And to scratch the surface of those heart questions I would direct you to the book of Job in the Bible).
- Some people just get angry. I have met people who are proclaimed atheists because believing in God means believing in a God who allows pain. These people feel the need to get back at God for letting this happen by shunning his existence.
- And then there are those who feel no other option than to run to him.
The Bible says that we should count it joy when we face trials of various kinds (James 1:2
). And it is my belief that God knows this pattern of the human heart which is why he allows trials to happen. He desires that those whom he ransomed with the blood of his precious Son should know him in a deep and intimate way-- even if that means through pain and suffering. He cares about our joy more than anyone in creation, which is why he leads us through valleys to get there.
There are so many analogies I could use to describe this, but one that comes to mind is walking up a hill just before sunrise. It's wet and dewey. What light does illuminate the sky has not reached you because you are behind a steep and jagged hill. Your muscles ache and groan. Maybe you haven't had coffee. But as you get to the top, you see it. The light reveals all that lay below. The pain in your legs dissipates as your eyes are consumed with the explosion of light and joy you feel when you see all that lay below. That's what God wants for you. An explosion of joy in your life.
This is the point in this blog that I realize I have taken on too great a topic for one post. But let me say this: I have experienced pain. Maybe my pain is shallow compared to some of the deeper wounds that many other people hold. I will never know how my pain compares to anyone else's because I alone feel it the way I do. Every pain is unique. I will allow that I might not be the best qualified person to write this blog. But I still believe it's true.
For these reasons, I pray for brokenness in the lives of those I love. In some ways I think it's the kindest thing God can do: reveal himself to you. All joys are nothing compared to knowing Jesus (Philippians 3:8
). It is loving to pray for brokenness in the hearts of those who do not know God. Not because you wish pain on the ones you love or because it brings you pleasure, but because your mind has been transformed. You now long for their greater joy-- the joy that comes from knowing and loving Jesus.
I am sure that if anyone makes it this far through this blog, they will have a lot of objections. This probably isn't a popular belief. But it's okay. I believe that it is true. I leave you with these verses:
" The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."- Psalm 34:18
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17