Everyone faces heart-wrenching difficulty at one point in their lives. For most of the human race, difficulties come more than just once. How do we cope? When we don’t see any answers or reason, how do we keep going? Difficult situations hurt and they can even make us ask God “Why?!” He doesn’t have to give us an answer to that question. Sometimes he does. Sometimes he does not. And both responses are good because he cannot be anything BUT good.
But that doesn’t answer the question of how we keep going. In his book, Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning touches on the very human reaction to painful times in the following quote: “Harriet Beecher Stowe understood the depths of the human struggle when she wrote these words to a heart broken friend: ‘When the heart-strings are suddenly cut, it is, I believe, a physical impossibility to feel faith or resignation, there is a revolt of the instinctive and animal system, and though we may submit to God, it is rather by constant painful effort than sweet attraction.'”
That’s a side of trust that many of us don’t like to think about much less discuss. But we’ve all been there. Those dark moments when we cling to God out of a desperate need to cling to something. We are raw and hurting and really wish it all made sense. When we cannot do anything else we make the “painful effort” Stowe referred to and we trust out of sheer need.
And I sincerely believe this is absolutely okay with our Abba. I don’t believe that it brings God pleasure to watch us walk through dark times. Sometimes they are things he has allowed to happen because he needs to work on us, to polish off some rough edges. Sometimes they are difficulties that our own choices brought down on us and letting us suffer the consequences can be the most effective teacher. And sometimes we are simply hurt by the fact that we live in a fallen world. Whatever the cause, I believe that Abba hurts with us, cries with us, and definitely walks with us through all of it. If my children are hurting and suffering and they throw themselves at me all tears and sniffles and anxious thoughts, I’m going to throw my arms around them and hold on until they don’t need me to hold on anymore. Can you imagine our PERFECT Heavenly Father doing anything less?!
So the next time the clouds gather and the pain sets in, don’t feel obligated to slap on a happy face and pretend like everything’s good; don’t feel the need to fake having all the answers. Throw yourselves into the arms of the Father and let it all out – the pain, the fear, the frustration, the pain. Make the painful effort to choose trust and eventually the trust will become sweet once again.