Everyone’s life is sooner or later marked by moments of intense grief – or even prolonged periods of it. Pain is universal. Whatever your worldview, you get to experience troubles. Nothing can exempt you from suffering of some kind, be it:
- losing someone you loved;
- being betrayed by someone you trusted;
- feeling unloved and/or unlovable;
- suddenly finding out you have cancer or some other terminal illness;
- having an accident that leaves you disabled for life;
- struggling with intense poverty;
- aching to have children and not being able to;
- being hurt by people who don’t understand you and abuse you verbally – or worse;
- losing your job;
- ……………………….. (feel free to fill in the blanks with any other scenario that you can think of).
People find different ways of coping with problems, but at times things can just seem totally overwhelming… and then the dark night of depression creeps in. It can happen to anyone. No belief system can make you immune. And though some people may even blame you for it (‘This wouldn’t have happened to you if you…. had been a better Christian/ hadn’t made a wrong choice somewhere/ etc.’), there is no guilt automatically attached to it.
When confronted with the very real issue of the presence of evil in the world, especially when that evil suddenly hits one personally, people can sometimes waver, can ask ‘Why?’… They can get assaulted by doubts and questions that have no easy answers. Is God aloof from pain? Does He care?
God can take the raw honesty of such questions, the pain, even the occasional anger. Read the Psalms – those people knew a thing or two about having all manner of hurts, and pouring them all out to God, confused feelings and everything.
Some time ago (when reading the novel Christy, by Catherine Marshall), I came across a few lines that deeply resonated with me:
“… you have questions on your mind. I’m glad you do. Perceptive people like you wound more easily than others. But if we’re going to work on God’s side, we have to decide to open our hearts to the griefs and pain all around us. It’s not an easy decision. A dangerous one too. And a tiny narrow door to enter into a new world.
“But in that world a great experience waits for us: meeting the One who’s entered there before us. He suffers more than any of us could because His is the deepest emotion and the highest perception.” [emphasis mine]
It may take a while, but you can come out of the tunnel of pain and find that God did care even while you were in the dark… In fact, He was holding you even in there. There can be a measure of comfort even if you do not (yet) have answers about every painful event you go through.
Everyone has his/her own story and struggles of which the rest of us may never be aware. If you have read this far, I do hope that you will leave with a bit of encouragement in your heart. These paintings were made with the very intent of offering comfort – at the time I made them, to my own heart… I hope that now yours will be comforted as well.