hurt: Red Letter Challenge

When I was a kid and I’d scrape a knee or an elbow, mom would sometimes break out the mercurochrome (since discontinued because it is toxic…ah, simpler times) and if there was a little bleeding, she’d slap a bandage on. With a kiss to “make it better” and a proverbial, if not actual, pat on the head, she’d send me on my way. And it was all better. The momentary sting of pain forgotten almost as quickly as it was felt.

Not all hurt can be healed with a mom’s kiss and a fancy plastic sticker (we didn’t have any of these fancy bandages they have nowadays).

Some hurt goes soul-deep. This kind of pain may not appear as serious, and the wounds may not be as easy to recognize and treat, but they are every bit as real and in need of healing.

In these days (even before all the mess this pandemic has, is and will stir up), we are observing a mental health crisis here in North America. We are soul-sick. We hurt.

We/I have tried a number of things to dull this pain. We engage in “retail therapy.” We eat our feelings. We drink to drown the sorrows. We spend countless hours in front of screens, scrolling and clicking and watching as the minutes tik tok past. We consume all sorts of things and engage in all sort of relationships in an attempt to find relief. What we settle for most days is a momentary escape.

It’s not all bad. As doing so has become less stigmatized, some do seek professional help. And if you are reading this and you need help, please reach out and get it. Contact me if I can help.

Of course, what we should all turn to the Great Physician who has/is/will cure all that ails us.

Perhaps you and I are not ready for the cure. What we need is the God who weeps with us; the God who suffers as we suffer. We need the God who sits down in the dust with us by becoming dust for us.

This Lent is the season of dust, is it not? So instead of settling for the quick fix for what really hurts, perhaps we/I can just stop and sit with Jesus. We may still hurt, but I also pray we find the comfort that can come from being known without being “fixed.” I hope we discover there aren’t bandages big enough to cover all our pain, but there is a God who can.

Life is better together,

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