My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him and my salvation. –Psalm 42:3-5 ESVUK
I am writing from a very personal side today. The past six to nine months I have been living with a lot of physical pain in my legs. I keep being told that it’s due to fibromyalgia and neuropathy. I am getting beyond frustrated because simple things such as walking hurts. I cannot lift my leg up but to a certain point which is not very far. This is on top of the chronic fatigue I suffer on a daily basis. I am used to dealing with constant pain, but this pain in my legs is getting worse and not getting better with medicine.
I am also at the point of being off sick for too long (4 ½ years) and am looking at early retirement. I’m only in my early 40’s; I feel way too young to retire. However, it’s better financially for me and my family if I do instead of resigning.
All of this is difficult for me. I am struggling emotionally. I am sad to be losing my role as a minister. I feel lonely (despite having a wonderful loving husband and sons) because the majority of my “friends” don’t bother with me anymore. I feel like I am losing a part of me. I don’t know what my purpose is anymore. I am frustrated with the constant pain in my body. I just want to scream at times. I want to do things, yet I get so exhausted just by spending several hours out and about.
We don’t like to talk about our feelings, especially when we are hurting on the inside. We are told to keep a stiff upper lip and keep moving forward. We are to put on a brave face and keep going no matter what.
I am so glad God understands and listens to my heart. To be honest, I have cried, I have shouted angrily at God. I have prayed, been still, quoted scriptures, etc.
I think all too often we treat God as if he doesn’t care about our problems. We think he’s a distant and uncaring person somewhere out there.
We try to hide things from others masking the pain behind closed doors. How many masks do we put on each day, week, or month? Do we not realise God sees beyond the façade? We cannot hide our feelings from him.
I know and understand why we hide our feelings from each other. People can be hurtful and unkind with their words. Some don’t want to listen or take time to be there with us in our pain because they either have too much pain themselves or they just don’t know how to deal with what we share. So, we bottle things up, hide our tears, and put on our brave face masks.
I am so grateful for this. I can tell God everything. I can call out to him in my distress. He says to cast our cares on him for he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:2). I can cry. I can laugh. I can be angry. I can shout. I can be who I am, no masks, just me, in his presence. I learnt a long time ago that God knows and sees all things. There’s no point of trying to hide from him.
David realised this too and much of his Psalms were written and sung out of his deepest feelings. He was known as a man after God’s own heart. David was close to God. He shared everything with God. David shares his frustrations and asks God to save him from his enemies (see Psalms 35, 64,70, 71, etc.). He praises God in his Psalms. He talks about depression and sorrow (see Psalm 42-43). He repents in one of his most famous Psalms (see Psalm 51). He shares many psalms of praise as well.
Some of David’s Psalms were songs of lament, sadness, frustrations, hurt, and sorrow. David was not afraid to share his emotions with God. I have been in churches where they say it’s rude to be open with God, as if we never get angry with him and if we did, how dare we say so. Please know it is okay to tell God we are angry and don’t understand why we are suffering. It is okay to cry out to him in anguish because we have lost those things we used to love to do. It is okay to feel frustrated when the healing doesn’t come.
Often, because we are Christians, we are told just to have more faith, trust Jesus because he’s all we need. These statements are true, however, they put us off from ever sharing how we truly are feeling. How many of us really have someone we are able to share with about what is going on inside our hearts and minds?
In my own personal time with God, I am honest about the struggles I am facing. Even when I don’t have the words to say, I just remind God that he knows, and I leave my feelings with him. I have found in doing so, peace and joy begin to overflow my heart. I have also found listening to praise and worship music and hymns and reading God’s word very helpful on the most difficult days.
Be encouraged, you are not alone. God is always with us. He can handle whatever comes our way. Seek God himself, not just for the healing, not just for blessings, but for who he is. I promise you will be blessed yourself.
May we also support, pray for, and encourage each other. Listen. Truly listen and be a friend that cares. You would be surprised what a difference it makes to be able to share with someone how you feel.