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Trusting God to Let You Hurt

I (Matthew) could see myself as a young boy, standing in our den, needing desperately the attention of my mother, who was wrapped in the pain of her own past, and of my father, away at work, where in part he could escape the difficulties of life at home. Though my parents were physically present, they had checked emotionally and mentally out of my life, and I was left alone and afraid, with no one to talk to, no one to guide me, no one to show me the love that I so desperately needed. My siblings, who are much older than I, had moved out. I had no friends my own age. I was left to raise myself through the hurt and confusion of adolescence and of a dysfunctional family, and of the great spiritual battle that I had yet to discover was being fought over my life.
And there I was, just standing there, afraid to interrupt, afraid to cause any more pain and disruption to a family that was already falling apart, and I decided then and there to not feel pain anymore. Now, I decided long before then not to show it, but this is the moment when I decided not even to feel it, and I shut down my heart for good.
In this vision, I just stood there, and the more I stood there, the more my present-day self was filled with fear. What if I let myself feel that pain? What if I don’t? I don’t want to feel. I can’t handle that pain right now.
And then God spoke.

“Matthew, I want you to trust Me to let you hurt.”

I’d never thought of such a thing before. Just the thought of it was unnerving. LET me hurt? God would WANT that?
I mean, I could understand God allowing me to hurt because of my own mistakes (He disciplines those He loves as sons, after all—Proverbs 3:12 and Hebrews 12:6), but this stuff wasn’t my fault! And God WANTS me to feel that pain? It was almost like it was a privilege or something—that He would let me hurt!
I struggled with the thought for just a moment, and then I caught myself, and I let Him continue to teach me and guide me (why argue with God anyway? He’s always right).
He began to reveal to me what it means to trust Him in my pain. I needed to believe that His plans for me are greater than my own, and that He has given me the strength and grace to endure.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
The Message translation, whose different perspective I appreciate from time to time, says it this way: “. . . He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it.”

When God told me that He wanted me to trust Him to let me hurt, it felt like I was standing before a bottomless pit and that to follow any further would surely be the end of me. But I stepped off the cliff into the unknown, searching so desperately for the truth and for healing from the hurt that I carried for so long. Not only could I trust God to let me hurt, but I knew that if I did, He would begin to heal my pain and turn my mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11).
This was quite a revelation for me, but still a difficult one to commit to. It was when God showed me the next part that I broke down in tears and let not only the pain of my past, but also the comfort of God, consume me.
I went back to that place in my mind where I stood as a boy, desperate for the love and attention of my parents. And though I could find no other friend, I could sense God there with me. He never left me, never forsook me, and most of all He loved me and carried me through a time that almost ended very badly for me and for those I now love.
When I couldn’t weep, He wept. When I couldn’t go on, He carried me. When I screwed up, His heart broke for me.
And the next thing I saw, I will never forget. God, in all His power, all His majesty, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, knelt down beside me. He picked up the pain I was carrying, and then willfully took it upon Himself and went to the cross to suffer in my place. He bore my pain so I wouldn’t have to, and as He hung on the cross, our Father said to me:
“See, even My Son had to learn this lesson. He too, had to trust Me to let Him hurt, and He did it because He knew that I had something far better to bring out of it.”
God’s own Son learned to trust His Father to let Him hurt. He pleaded with His Father to spare Him the pain, but in the end chose and said, “. . . not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) And out of that came freedom for all who would accept it.

Likewise, out of my pain came my freedom and is coming freedom for many others.

Continue to It Hurts So Good ->

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