We were here. Again. For the second time.
Lauryn, with a terrified look on her face, climbed apprehensively into the dentist’s chair. She knew what was ahead. She had been through this before!
Having four teeth pulled was no joy-ride. It was rather horrific to a ten year old girl who struggles very much with fear of pain.
As I gently held both of her hands in mine, I winced in my own heart as she strangled my fingers with her death grip. I knew she was terrified! As her tears began to flow freely into the sides of her hair, my own tears welled up within my eyes. As she tried to resist the pain and endure the struggle to remain in that chair, I thought of how often I try to resist pain. Pain that I know in my mind will be worth it. But pain that my heart can barely seem to endure.
As I whispered sweet and encouraging words to my brave girl, I was instantly transported back in time to my own childhood experiences. Memories bring such powerful emotions. I vividly recalled the times as a ten year old girl, I was the daughter sitting in the dentist’s chair. I was the girl with the little mouth who had no room for all her teeth. It was me who spent hours at the dentist as he extracted numerous teeth to prep my mouth for braces. Which would ultimately would lead to a beautiful, straight smile. And all the pain of teeth extractions would finally be worth it!
While I watched her endure the painful procedure, I thought of my own sweet mama. Mama always sat beside me and held my hand in the dentist’s chair. She was the one who gently cared for me as I faced my own childhood fears. She was the one whispering prayers for grace to our Father—just as I was doing for my own girl. I knew she loved me. She always only wanted the best for me.
Sitting there, watching my daughter experience a pain that seems unnecessary now, reminded me of how my Heavenly Father cares for me and graciously holds my hand in my deep, heart pain.
These last three years, my own heart has known a very real and deep pain. There is not a day that goes by that my heart doesn’t still bleed a little. On some days, I gush with pain. On other days, it’s just a small trickle of blood in my soul.
I’ve often questioned “Why, Father? Why all this pain? Why are you making me walk this hard road that seems never-ending?”
I have accused my own Father of forcing me through unnecessary pain. I have pointed my own finger at Him and doubted His goodness and grace.
And yet, my Father has never left my side or shown anything but love for me in the darkness and pain of Mom’s depression and suicidal death.
Just as I sat beside my sweet girl, holding her hand with tears flowing down my cheeks, my Heavenly Father has held my hand. Reminding me so very often through His love letter to me and His whispers of grace, that He is near the brokenhearted. He understands my pain. He feels my pain. And He knows it is necessary and useful to produce a “new me”. One who is learning to die to self. One who is daily experiencing the steadfast love of Christ. One who is becoming assuredly confident in her Savior. One who can’t live a single day apart from Him and His truth.
Just as I love my daughter and know that she will one day be so grateful for the dental work, I believe that my Daddy loves me and knows that my own ashes will turn to beauty in His time. His heart is only good, kind, and faithful. He loves His child and sacrificed His own life for me. He knows pain. And He knows love—eternal love!
It’s so easy to lash out, to scream, to question, to doubt, and to deny His goodness and love when we face the pains that bloody our hearts. It seems to our human minds that a loving Heavenly Father would keep us free from the pains and struggles of life. That He would protect us from the wounds that scar our hearts.
But my Father chose to enter the pain as one of us. There is no pain that He hasn’t already endured on our behalf. And my Father knows the end result.
He knows that in my suffering, I learn obedience. In my doubting, I find the Truth. In my brokenness, I find ultimate healing. In my heartache, I find true Love.
And throughout the pain, He never leaves my side. He never forsakes me. He is always for me. Never against me. He is forever holding my hand and cheering me on as I work through the pain.
In order to find Him. To know Him in a more intimate and fulfilling way than I ever dreamed possible. To truly know and experience my Father’s amazing love.
Throughout these past three years, I have clung to these verses from Romans 8:18-39.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Friends,whatever pain your heart is facing in this present moment, be assured that your Father loves you. And because of His sacrificial love, we are more than conquerors. Nothing is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Rest in His love. Run to His love. Hope in His love. Live in His love.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”