This past year we’ve all experienced grief in some shape or form – perhaps the loss of loved ones, the loss of jobs, the loss of community, or the loss of “normal.” Grief is sorrowful, painful, lonely, confusing, and emotional. It can make us quite raw, but grief can also transform and purify us.
This past year I experienced grief through the loss of a relationship that had changed in my life. I spent many nights crying, feeling stripped, wounded, and unwanted. I found myself in uncharted territory and alone…it was painful and quite lonely. I felt as if no one could truly understand and know my pain that could not be outwardly seen.
In Luke 8:43-48, a woman suffering from internal bleeding (now that’s painful and lonely, y’all) for twelve years touches Jesus robe and is instantly healed:
“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,[a] but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
As I experienced my own “bleeding” and pain, I remembered this story. This woman had internal pain for twelve years. As Jesus and the crowd walked by her, she had enough faith (and maybe desperation) to reach out and just try to touch him. Her fingers grazed his robe. They merely touched His hem. And He healed her. I knew that if I reached out to Jesus (with the little strength I felt that I had), he would heal me.
Now, it would have been nice to have been instantly healed right then and there as I cried to the Lord for his healing. That would have saved me a lot of heartache and tears. Jesus, give me your robe, I’ll touch it. No, I’ll wear it – I’’ do anything for this pain to go away. The Lord’s healing doesn’t always work like that. You may feel how you feel for a while, But I am here to tell you that in your pain, in your loneliness, in your frustration, He is moving. He is listening. He is healing. Yes, that woman was healed instantly, but she was healed instantly after 12 years of sickness – 12 years! When we come to seek healing, we might have to sit in our pain with him for a while. As we sit in pain, faithfully believe he is moving.
If you feel like you are in a season of pain and grief, the Lord truly is a wonderful counselor. He not only listens, but he knows the troubles of our souls and he loves us dearly. I encourage you to pour out your thoughts to the Lord through fervent, whole-hearted prayer. He is with you while you lament. Cry out to him! Some of the Lord’s work can only happen in us as we trust in him and cry out while weep.
Some healing takes time. When we think about a bad physical wound, the initial cut is so painful it seems almost loud. It happens quickly and intensely. Yet, as a physical wound heals, it might require stitches or chemicals that clean and sting your wound or surgery. The healing that occurs after your wound can sometimes hurt even more. It’s slow, and it’s quiet.
I love this quote that Lysa Terkeurst writes in in her book Uninvited,
“Pain is an indication that a transformation is needed. There is a weakness where new strength needs to enter in. So don’t berate yourself for being in pain, it just means you are walking toward victory by not numbing yourself right now. You are making progress. You aren’t going to be stuck in this, you are going to be strengthened by it, healed from it, and better off because of it.”
So, if you find yourself in pain – big or small, Christ is using you and refining you. Trust him in your pain. Don’t run from it. Reach out to touch his robe. He is and will use your faith to heal you and refine you.