That’s precisely what happened to me the other day.
I had an arrow hit a place that I’d forgotten was fragile and when it struck, all I could do was react. I had no time to think or plan, I simply reacted. And my go to response? Was to run and hide.
I’m not proud of that. I wish I could’ve stayed and laughed at myself and moved on. But when push came to shove, as God’s still working on reminding me to trust Him, all I could do was remove myself from the situation and try and work through my emotions alone. Long story short, I ended up crying as I drove home.
I’m sure you’re terribly curious what happened, and I don’t want to give every detail away. But suffice it to say that I had a really awkward situation happen earlier that day, a situation that I had no idea how to handle. A situation that I had no idea what I should even do or think about it. I got through it, thank goodness. But then… There was someone with me when the awkward happened and out of simply a heart of fun, with no desire to hurt, teasing me about the situation started. It was totally meant in good fun, I know that. There was absolutely no malicious intent at all. But my tender spot? It got scratched just a tiny bit. And even tiny scratches hurt, despite being unintentional. Hence my tears.
Oh, but there’s a really awesome yet to come!
A text message and one phone call later, two friends found out about my feelings. And they hurt for me. They prayed for me and then one reached out to me. That’s when I was reminded that the dark places, those horrible shadows that feel so very, very lonely, are not actually places only I have to handle. Those dark places are felt by so many! Yet even if they’re only felt by two, when those two communicate and realize there’s even one other person who understands? Ah, my heart! It’s a beautiful thing, empathy. I’d never really put that word to it, but that’s precisely what it is and what is so glorious. When we can empathize with one another!
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Cor 1:3-4Is that not a glorious thought? The mere fact that God comforts us daily is wonderful (and I’m so very, very grateful!), but add to that the fact that we can take that comfort and help others around us just adds so much more depth. Because when you’re right there in the thick of things? When your dark place is surrounding you and you’re struggling to find the light? That’s a place where we desperately need someone to give us a hand! To reach out and grasp a hand and realize that we’re not alone. That someone understands us. Someone cares. Someone had felt the same, someone has been there, and someone has gotten through to the other side. It gives us HOPE. Hope that we, too, can make it. That we can survive intact and end up so much stronger on the other side.
This dearest of friends, who I’ve only known a year or so, reached out and eased my heart that night. There are no words to describe what she did for me in that moment. It was simply the fact that she empathized and knew my heart so clearly. She made me understand that as embarrassed as I was feeling (mostly embarrassment that I was embarrassed and unable to handle it, I think by that point), my feelings were not stupid or ridiculous. She ever so gently wrapped her words of love around my bleeding tenderness and reminded me that God’s got this. I knew that, but I needed to hear it again. (Isn’t it funny how forgetful we humans are?)
Once I knew how not-silly I was, once I could breathe clear again, once God had settled my heart, I began to think about how amazing that experience was. I mean, here was a woman who I’d known for only a matter of months, yet she was able to see beyond the shallow into the deep things and realize that my darkness needed Light. A Light that she could reflect because she’d been there before herself. A Light that only she could reflect in that particular moment. A Light and a moment that God had been preparing for a long time because He knew that awkward would happen and that I was going to need someone to remind me. (He so often uses us, doesn’t He? I think He does way more often that we’re probably even aware.)
He knew all that and prepared long ago! I am constantly in amazement over how God works for us. How He plans and loves us so fully! How can I not be when I think about all the steps that had to happen in order for that particular friend to be there in that particular moment to ease that particular hurt?
Think about it. Each occurrence in our life has a purpose, yes? And we know that in order for this step to happen, this other step has to happen first. He has a plan and each step of that plan is crucial. So think about all the things that had to fall into place for that moment to arrive and happen just like it did! The people I had to know who had a less than stellar circumstance happen in their lives, which led to meeting this couple, which led to them introducing this couple to me, which then led to me spending a great deal more time with them, which then led to that awkward and embarrassing day. And that perfectly wondrous, God-breathed moment.
(Are you still with me? Hopefully so.)
Isn’t that so simple, yet so profound? I love how God works!! The fact remains that each of those steps had to happen in that order. Had one failed in any way, then the next ones wouldn’t have happened. But they didn’t.
That’s just crazy-awesome, friends! God is so good. Every single moment of every single day. He never gives up! Our dark places don’t stand a chance.