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When the pain get too big

There are times when the heartbreaks of this life collide with our weakness and the pain gets so big that even breathing is hard.  It’s like being dragged under by the surf and tumbled over and over until up is down and you’re dragged along the bottom and raw wounds meet with salted surf and the searing pain of it is only a faint echo of the pain within your soul and you gasp for breath and flail helplessly, like a rag doll, until you’re eventually released upon the shore coughing up the brine of your own tears…

This is where I have been. Literally on the verge of tears at every moment.  Memories, regrets, sorrow, missing, aching, loss - churning, growing to tsunami intensity threatening to overwhelm.  Today I received a devotional from a Jewish Messianic site challenging us regarding the Sabbath.  Oh, how my soul yearned for it.  A Sabbath, a rest.  But the to-do list haunted and I headed to the shower to start the day.  All the while rest was beckoning to me…  

What happens when pain gets big?  What happens when pain gets too big to bear?  God gets bigger, that’s what!  (Pardon my wrong theology in that statement but stay with me here.  I know God doesn’t change, but He may choose to show Himself bigger if need be that’s for sure!  Just ask Moses!  He knows what we need, when we need it and brings all thing back into proper proportion.  Thus, He seems bigger to us.)

So yesterday the pain climax was so big I wanted to run from my own skin just to get a break, if even for a moment.  Run from the pain of these past years.  Just run…  I’ve noticed the heaviness and regular presence of sighs, not dramatic sighs, but seriously trying to catch my breath sighs.  Needing to stop and consciously breath sighs as if I’ve forgotten how.  Overtly laborious sighs and it was beginning to get on my own nerves.  Tears too frequent, pain too great, life too hard…

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

How often have these words been comfort to me, I cherish them and today they ushered in His tangible mercies, sent through His beloved children, into my needy soul.

Somehow my phone didn’t notify me of the 10 messages that were sent this morning by a mighty prayer warrior, my dear Melissa.  She texted her prayer for me & Dave today.  She used the words “heart aching storm” – only Holy Spirit could have revealed that to her and her faithfulness to pray over a stranger she met about a year ago has born fruit in my life and carried me at times to be sure.  I saw the messages as I reached to turn my phone off and read her prayer as we sat in Apple Valley services for the first time.  On a whim, we decided to go to one of the other campuses, or so we thought.  But our God IS Sovereign and He goes before us even still.  Wendy’s beautiful smile, in spite of her own pain, and warm hug welcomed us in. 

God knew exactly what my heart needed.  He also knew how He wanted to relieve the pain.  He knew I needed the tangible and He is so gracious to give it.  Pastor Matt reminded us that God’s mercies are new every morning… and I knew that we were right where we were supposed to be, but surely had no idea that the good works He was prompting His beloveds to do would include comforting me this day. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10  But oh, I am so very grateful!

The songs, heart cries lifted on wings of music, carried my weary but resolved love into the heavenlies, true sacrifice of praise to our Lord and Savior.  Pastor Tom, ever faithful messenger, sent forth God’s Word.  Holy Spirit, eagerly echoed that Truth, reaching the innermost places.  Truth.  I am comforted by Truth.  Not platitudes nor handmade speculation.  But in unchanging, challenging, mercy-filled, grace-full, hope sustaining, Truth.  And comfort did come…

But ours is a lavish God and He would not be satisfied until not only was the pain dwarfed but had submitted to His will and surrendered to His peace.

Penny’s smile is contagious.  Her hugs are bigger than she is!  Her heart unguarded.  She, so open with her life.  So authentic in her walk.  Victorious daughter of the Most High, radiant one.  So willing to act when Holy Spirit speaks.  She, so encouraging!  She who offers love so unrestrained, just like her momma does.  She is a blessing for all who are near.  What balm, what balm for my weary soul. 

And if that were not enough one of the dearest hearts I know, Amy, was added to the blessing.  Amy, true to the name given her – Beloved, captivator of hearts.  This one, this daughter of the King, she loves well.  She knows.  She believes.  She hears and obeys.  She seeks.  She listens.  She is fierce, this soft one.  Her arms, they are momma’s arms.  They pull you hard into her heart and they keep you till His healing love has passed through her heart and into yours, however long it takes.  Today I was the blessed recipient numerous times as unintended words tumbled from my lips and waves crashed and she buoyed me through till I could breathe.  Her strength amazes me, it always has.  She has been an intentional vessel of His love to me so often and at just the right time.  And today the need was greater and so He put me right in her path.  And I am so very, very, very grateful.

And then there were the boys.  Really young men.  Strangers who thought they were merely waiting for lunch but who were truly vivid encouragement of the faith of this new generation.  “He’s where we all long to be” a Spirit-prompted, knowing response to a single word that now came with ease…

How lovely are the feet of those who bring Good News!  Beautiful faces beautiful hands and feet of Jesus.  And God showed Himself mighty and BIG and faithful.  Today, through those who love Him by loving others well.  And the pain fled and peace filled as I rested in His immense love.

Oh, and the Sabbath?  Well, the sun is on the horizon and I’ve spent the afternoon chronicling His greatness and goodness and love, resting in His peace…  His ways are so very, very good! 

Shabbat Shalom.


  1. I wish we had gone to 11:00. For once we went to the 9am service today. I would have loved to have seen you at AV. I love you, Sissy.

  2. I wish we had gone to 11:00. For once we went to the 9am service today. I would have loved to have seen you at AV. I love you, Sissy.

  3. God is truly greater than our pain. He is fully acquainted with grief and sorrow and my humanity needs to know that. Thank you for this post Chris!

  4. God is truly greater than our pain. He is fully acquainted with grief and sorrow and my humanity needs to know that. Thank you for this post Chris!

  5. I love your heart voice so much! My heart aches for you friend. Trusting God with you, for you. K

  6. I love your heart voice so much! My heart aches for you friend. Trusting God with you, for you. K

  7. Thank you for the reminder that the LORD of the universe is personally, intimately, deeply concerned about the lives of his children. Thank you for sharing how he uses others to bless us. I am awed and humbled by your words.

  8. Thank each of you for your encouragement! May you get a special glimpse of just how big is our God!!!!!


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