Have you ever had one of those times you pound your finger with a hammer, or slam it in a door, or scrape your knee from a fall? Both Tim and I have about beaten our hands to pieces while working on this particular house. We have both yelled at one time or another, "Ouch that hurt!" Once, while we working in the yard on the flowerbed, we were pulling out these old stumps and weeds, etc. It just so happens we had gloves on because it had been full of all sorts of prickly things. Poor Tim, just so happened to find the prickly thing that involved a cactus! He pulled off the gloves and we tried to locate the splinters and stickers, etc and removed all we could see. He put the gloves back on and every time he tried to shovel dirt or rake, he kept saying, "Ouch that hurts! There is still something in here." He removed the gloves again and we removed anything we could see. What we came to realize was that there were not only little prickly issues going on under the surface of the skin, but there were still some hidden things within the gloves. So yes, he was right to be saying, "Ouch that hurts!"
Last night, we received a call from a young woman asking us to meet with her for coffee. We went and what the meeting turned into was one of those times all we could do was listen. She shared her story of heartache, and brokeness, and abuse and just one ache after another. All I could hear inside my head was her saying to us over and over, "Ouch that hurts!" How could we help? How could we do anything to ease her pain? How could we be anything to her that would stop the outpouring of tears rolling down her cheeks? What little could we do besides sit there drinking our coffee and listening to her? At one point, she kept saying to us, "yall need to go now, ya’ll don’t have to stay here with me any more." What did we need to do? Go home and go to sleep? This woman was broken and crying her heart out for someone to hear and feel her pain. It wasn’t long before I realized that I was feeling her pain.
My heart was grasped by the story she shared from her past. My eyes began to fill with tears, as she shared feelings and emotions that were haunting her from the scars that had driven themselves so deep within her. As we sat there in that seat, I truly felt her broken heart. I was reminded of times from the past when I had my own heart break. I was reminded of the time when someone else had their heart break for me. I remember a night when I finally realized that someone loved me so much that not only did his heart break, but he gave His own life for mine. That dear, sweet and wonderful man cried out to his Father --- not saying, "Ouch that hurts" but "Father forgive them". That wonderful man, Jesus, became my Savior and Lord. Did all of my pain go away? No. Will all of your pain go away? Most likely not. However, I did come to a place in which I was able to realize that those little "ouches" you and I get along the way are nothing, compared to the agony my Savior endured on a cross for you and me.
As we have been on this journey traveling through New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia now, I have realized something else. Tim and I have been given such a marvelous opportunity to hear and listen to not only some of the most amazing stories from some, but have been able to share the hurts, pain, and anguish with some others. I have realized that the stories, although different across the board of hurts and pains, of laughs and joys, of heartache and brokeness, and of endless refrains, at some time or another include the words, "ouch that hurts". Yet in every situation, that same Savior and Lord who gave his very life for us can comfort us along the way as well. It so encouraging to know that as a believer I have that hope and comfort that comes when I have a "boo-boo" and can cry out to my Father, "ouch that hurts". Do you realize just how blessed we are to be able to say that? I mean, God sees us as His children!!! His word teaches us that as our father how much more He wants to care for us than even the birds.
Think of the times, perhaps with your own children, that one of them came in the house with that little scrape or cut on their finger and crying out to you to "fix it", "make it better" or "kiss it and make it feel better". As a parent, what do we do? Maybe not even just with our own kids. I know that I have done that with even children I had the pleasure to baby-sit. When they hurt, they want you to make it all better. But in the real world…is it really that easy to just "make it all better"? Can we really just make our little scrapes and cuts in the world stop hurting? Sometimes we can. Other times require patience and endurance, faith to believe that it can get better, and grace to sustain us through the struggle.
Another point that is important to make is a verse that I have loved for so much of my life. Often times, you have struggled with something and wondered how in the world any good could come of it. W e as children of God have the unique opportunity to experience the comfort that comes from the God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says that "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." Did Tim and I have all the words to make all the troubles go away for that young woman? No. But we did have the comfort to offer her that has been the very same comfort we have received from our God. All we did was share a cup of coffee with her and listened to her cry, "ouch that hurts" and embrace her with love from the Father, a hug, and a Kleenex to wipe her tears.
So the next time you are confronted with the "ouch that hurts" of someone’s story, take the time to offer them the same comfort with which God has given to you. Remember, He is the God of ALL Comfort!
We are praying today that you will know the joy of experiencing the God of All Comfort in whatever circumstances you may be in; or praying that you will be reminded of a time when you too were able to share in that same comfort that God has given you.
Serving Him whenever, wherever, and doing whatever He asks!
Tim and Natalie