Lost in Pain and Darkness

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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 

who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Today, I just don't have the words.

No, not for the devotional - for the people whose paths have crossed mine this past week.  I've not heard so much pain or despair as I have this week.

So many of you are suffering intensely.  Some, so badly, that you simply want to give up.  You feel suffocated by darkness.

And I know you want answers.

I don't have them.

Not really.

I know what I know - but they are unsatisfying answers I am sure.

You see, the thing with many chronic illnesses is that they progressively destroy our bodies - whether bit by bit - or chunk by chunk.

For so many of you, I can't say "Hold on - it will get better!  You have healthier days ahead."  No … those words would be lies.  Pain and illness destroy our bodies. Friends and family fall away.  We get consumed by our challenges.

And when you are in the deepest, darkest pit, you don't want to hear trite words.  When you have wandered in darkness, when you have lost all hope, when all you can see is emptiness and pain … even words of hope can hurt.

I am, (quite unusually) at a loss as to what to say to you.  I'm at a loss as to how to encourage you.

I might tell you that God is good.

But you don't see that.

I might tell you that God loves you.

But you don't feel that.

I might tell you that God has words spoken just to you.

But you can't hear them.

So, what can I do?  

I can tell you that I care - and I care deeply.

I can tell you that I'll pray - but in truth - I don't know what to pray.

I can bring you before God, into His light - and pray that you feel the warmth of Him..

I can pray for grace and mercy.  I can pray for relief or the ability to endure. 

Yet, still I feel helpless.

So, I will do all I can do.  

I'll tell you that God has shown Himself to be good in my life.  That He has lifted me out of the pit … and shown me His grace.

I can tell you that I know God loves me.  And that, as I know He does not play favorites, He loves you, too … even if you can't feel it.

I can tell you that God's word has spoken to me - and I know the words are there for you, too.

It doesn't feel like it is "enough," my beloved friends (and readers … I consider you to be my friends even if we haven't met yet).

What I can do … and will do … 

is bring You before God.

Please know that right now, you are standing before Him, bathed in prayer.

Pray for yourself, if you can.  Pray for others who are where you are right now.  If you can't feel God's light - imagine it.  Because it is truly there.  It's just that right now … you can't see it.  But that doesn't mean it's not there.

Today, I light a candle for you.  Please know that somewhere … a candle is burning brightly for you - until you can know and feel that light for yourself.

Father God, so often I don't understand the pain in this world.  I don't understand why I thought it would be "easier" as your follower.  Life is so hard, Lord.  People suffer.  And it hurts to see them suffer.  

I pray for each one today, Lord - as I bring them before You here … and in private prayer - that somehow they would see You, feel You, hear You.  And that, if there is silence, they can still know You are there.  

My heart aches for them, Lord.  I bring them before You - and entrust them to You and Your divine wisdom.  Help them know Your light, Lord, even in the darkness. Amen and amen.

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