Pain is simple. Depression and hurt are also simple. Simple does not describe their effects, of course, but their being, how they come.
I have never been a writer or poet, until now. I live in the Northeast, and I was watching a leaf:
Fall! I wanted to scream.
Let go and hit the ground.
Plead for mercy. Plead for the end.
I am fragile and crinkled and dry
From the icy cold wind blowing by.
I have contemplated hitting the ground,
But it will not be violent; I will turn,
Around and around.
I want you to fall! God, let it fall.
I am hurting and in pain. I want for the end.
I am asking you please to end this now.
It is poetic justice to me that when I broke-up with my girlfriend, the fall season came the next day. There were only sporadic hints of change in color; it had rained that night, and the rain had taken summer’s unbearable humidity and heat and traded it in for fall’s cool days and chilly nights.
I had contemplated marriage, but I wasn’t ready and neither was she. It had been a year, and like the song sung by Fred Astaire, the feeling was something’s got to give. Maybe it was the eminent change of weather or a hurtful words said—I’m not sure—but the day before fall came to my part of the Northeast I decided to call for a change in our relationship.
There is no time in our lives when we will be more likely to experience hurt and pain in our dating/courting relationships than when we are young. And I don’t have a remedy. I know that Jesus is the answer, but I also know that WD-40 can fix a squeaky door. (Needless, to say, I have tangible evidence at home that I don’t seek out the amazing powers of WD-40 very often.)
So, if Jesus is the answer—and at least I know that—then why does it still not go away? I think that the answer is because pain is not something people realize they need.
We spend lots of dollars trying to get rid of pain these days. We’re looking for a way to avoid and alleviate the inevitable—pain. But what if God has a purpose for pain? He must! And I promise you He does!
I recently read C.S. Lewis’s book, The Problem with Pain, and I will not try to recap it for you, I recommend, however, that you read it. I have also delved into the Word to research this topic. From these two sources I have figured things out about the philosophy of pain. And they goe something like this:
We are all sinners. As sinners we are not the original, we are invaded by a pervasive presence—sin. We are out of contact with God; we have cut ourselves off.
Easy enough, right?
So, we go looking for our contact again and again in other things, things other than God. But the Grace of God is a light and not a light bulb burning on the side of a small outpost in the middle of nowhere in Western Pennsylvania. Nor is it that 24/7 light at the 7-Eleven, but it is an infinitely powerful spotlight that seeks out and finds us. It catches us in its sight.
In that spotlight, I believe we see our sin, we see our failed efforts to find that contact we have been so desperately looking for through work, our jobs, relationships, whatever. And we realize what we have been looking for—Jesus—our contact to God.
So, why does pain linger when we find Jesus? I cannot tell you why, because I do not know why myself. I am in pain just writing you this, but I know that this too will pass, and I know it is for our own good as humans that we experience pain of all kind.
Without pain, fall and that lone leaf would not be as meaningful, as poignant, as it is to me now. I might even ignore it completely, missing its fragile beauty and precious existence. I want that leaf to fall to the ground, violently and quickly, but God has a purpose for it. And I also know that God knows how I feel through the pain experienced through the Son on the cross. So, maybe, just maybe, He wants desperately to heal me of this pain, if I will just let Him. Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, TNIV).