Go Through the Pain – Not Around It

Recently, at 8 Weeks in the Red, we’ve been trying some alternatives to church as usual.

This week, we spent about fifteen minutes meditating silently on a portion of Psalm 143:

I remembered the old days, went over all you’ve done, pondered the ways you’ve worked,  Stretched out my hands to you, as thirsty for you as a desert thirsty for rain.  Hurry with your answer, God! I’m nearly at the end of my rope. Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me! That would be certain death.  If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you.

We sat there quietly, eyes closed, hands in a fist in front of us. In my tightly squeezed hand was something I knew I needed to give up. And as the verse was read to us again, we all opened our hands.


* * * * *

We took some time to hear from one of the men in the group. He shared his experience of hitting midlife and realizing there were areas of pain he had never adequately worked through. In fact, when these pains surfaced at different times in his life, he managed to go around, and never through.

“Healing,” he said, “requires going through the pain. Not around it.”

I listened to him, thought about how many times in my own life that I had dug a nice hole in the dirt and buried my pain, my questions, my doubt.

* * * * *

Robert had posted on our Facebook page that week:

What is unique about the Christian God and emotional pain is that the pain has somewhere to go – not just out to a person, or a group, good as that is, but into the cross, into the Christ of the cross. The Gospel makes a provision for the processing of emotional pain through a suffering savior – When you see Jesus dying on the cross to receive your pain you realize that your pain has a destination – it has a place to go, does not need to be held on to because there is someone who knows what it is, what it feels like, and suffered the ultimate pain of the cross so that we can experience freedom.

I thought this was an interesting take on Christianity.

And it made me wonder some things:

What were your “old days” like? What road lies before you? What do you need to release in order to move forward?

Christian or not, what practices have you found helpful for processing emotional pain and finding healing? Maybe by sharing your process you can help someone else who is reading the blog today.

4 Replies to “Go Through the Pain – Not Around It”

  1. Wow! I have been thinking about this very issue a lot lately. I don’t have a very good process, but what I have learned is that I have to sit with the pain. Sometimes that means just walking and crying and screaming and writing (for me, writing really helps). Sometimes I have to acknowledge that the pain isn’t leaving yet, and I must be patient and trust that it will fade.

    For me, giving pain it’s time without becoming morose or wallowing is really key.

    Thanks again for your wisdom, Shawn.

  2. So many times we Christians pray that God will “take our pain” away from us. It is interesting for me to begin to ponder what it looks like to give our pain to God.

    Subtle difference. The former is passive, waiting for someone else to do something for us; the latter is active, causing us to do something for ourselves.

    So what does this act of giving an inanimate object to a God we cannot see look like??

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