God walks with you in your pain. . .whether you feel abandoned, angry, or hurt. Do you sometimes doubt His presence? This article by Donna Hart, PhD, will bring comfort. It first appeared here on her website and is used with permission.
Have you ever felt abandoned by God? Have you ever been angry because you believe you are condemned by God? Does it seem that God cannot touch the places of pain in your heart?
Most of us can relate to feeling that way. And often times, friends try to provide comfort with Romans 8:1:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Or they might use Romans 8:28 “…we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” Their intended outcome of encouraging you often ends up with you walking away, wondering if anyone really hears and understands.
God Walks with Compassion
Have you tried isolation to protect yourself from their words? Then you find when you insulate yourself from people, it leaves you unknown, unloved, and painfully lonely. What your heart needs most is not someone to give you directions but someone who will join you on this hard journey.
When you’re in a place of doubting God’s presence, you don’t want to hear someone defend God. Rather, you want someone who will bear witness to the pain and confusion. You want someone who will not walk away from your pain because it is making them uncomfortable. You want someone who walks at your pace and is patient with you. You desire a person who will walk the journey with you even when you are messy and theologically incorrect.
In pain our hearts want a person who can listen, be patient, allow questions, doubts, and skewed understandings of God to be spoken freely and openly. We want a safe person who walks alongside us so we can bring our hard questions and confused feelings out into the open.
That person walks your pace with you, demonstrating that this is the way God so kindly walks with us. God so vividly displays in Psalms 88 and 44 how He puts compassion before instruction. If your friend walks with you long enough, their compassion will give you the strength to hear the truth.
A Wise Friend Shows Compassion Too
If the person walking with us is wise, they will take us not to Romans 8:28 but back up to verse 26.
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 (Romans 8:26-27).
Our hearts can be softened by this text, to know that the Holy Spirit softly enters our place of weakness and experiences our sorrow and pain.
We have a hard time seeing God this way. In our exhausted minds we imagine God at a distance not getting it, instead of being our help. We must allow God to take the journey of suffering with us and trust Him for answers as we move toward Romans 8:28.
What gets us there is a painful journey but God is with us every step of the way. We must trust Him with our tears and know that we don’t know how to pray that is why the Spirit intercedes for us. The Holy Spirit speaks to God the Father on our behalf.
God Walks Without Rushing You
He does not want us to feel rushed to get over the pain; He is walking with us.
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3).
In this Psalm we encounter God lifting our heads, looking us in the eyes, and bringing us His comfort.
The Spirit brings our sufferings and despairing to the Father; He hears our groans, and ministers to us in tender perfection. From this we learn that God is intimately aware and involved in every detail of our lives so we can have solid confidence that God is with us on this journey.
A good destination can be reached after a hard and long journey. God has promised that we will make it to the Promised Land but we are going to be walking with the Shepherd through the valley of the shadow of death.
We can learn to trust that the hardships of life are no hindrance to God’s ability to bring us to a place that is good.
As we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we will cry out to God over and over again. As we cry out to God, we can experience His love and compassion on the journey.
May we cry out to God in our trials and experience a more intimate relationship with Him. As we are fully known and loved by God we come to know His character more clearly and our affection for Him grows. As our affection for the Lord grows, so will our desire to be like Him.
We become faithful to do His will and work to conform our character to His. The Lord is walking with us at an unrushed pace we can handle so that we experience His goodness and love.