Over and over we have seen how much Jesus longs to give us abundant lives and yet today we find ourselves not celebrating at a wedding, but mourning at a funeral. Now I am certain none of you came to this blog post because you were worried about missing the hardest parts of life—the suffering, the pain, the trials, the conflict, the darkness.
But what if in trying to miss the hardest parts of life we are also missing the best?
Last week I was given a beautiful and rare gift: a day with a woman who has suffered greatly. She is the wife of a prominent and successful pastor, and together they have faced many trials. But one difficulty they faced is unthinkable: the death of their son. He suffered with depression all of his life and lost his fight with it to suicide a few years ago.
When I sat down with this woman last week, I was losing heart from some of the personal trials our family was facing. But I had not yet been to the place of pain and suffering this mother had. She cried as she talked about the last few years and the unfathomable journey of losing her precious child. She talked about her doubts and her fears and her God with such tenderness and power and honesty it was hard to breathe as I listened. It was all so visceral and raw and fresh.
My own doubts and fears and hurt couldn’t hide when confronted with suffering I couldn’t stomach or imagine God allowing such a faithful family to endure.
Sometimes when I go there, to the darkest parts of my story or the stories around me, when I glimpse the pain and suffering that our loving God doesn’t spare us from, I feel desperately afraid.
I am afraid He isn’t good enough.
I am afraid He isn’t powerful enough.
I am afraid He doesn’t love us enough.
And guess what happens next? I go numb. I pick numb over fear. I pick numb over despair. I pick numb over moving into my own pain or anyone else’s.
But again, what if we are missing the very best parts by pushing away the hardest?
Jesus is calling you into the darkest places, because in the darkest places, His love and light burn brightest.
I will not forget this woman’s tender words to me as we left each other. She hugged me tightly and said, “Jennie, despite all the hard, Jesus is still worth it.”
Excerpted from the new 8-week Bible study Proven by Jennie Allen. Click here to learn more!