2011-03-29 - Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley
The Songs of Lent ~ Part 3
|Have you ever felt lonesome? I imagine that most people have. In some
of my Social Work-related training, we were taught and I have seen
this borne out in life that you can't avoid pain. The only way to
get "through" it is to experience it and sometimes, even to "lean into it."
Of course, if you at any time feel tempted to hurt yourself or someone else,
please immediately call a counselor, your pastor or 911.
At times, people try to avoid pain or stave it off, via excessive drinking or over-medicating, through staying busy (though this can be a temporary aid), through illicit relationships, or in other ways. But ultimately, it doesn't work. As this song reminds us, "we have to walk it ourselves." I intentionally left out the word "by," because we actually are never alone. God provides help not only in the form of the Holy Spirit, but also often through friends, pastors, counselors, support groups and the like.
As for denial, that is a healthy early stage of grief, but if we get mired down in it, it's going to actually hinder our healing. And make no mistake; the pain will emerge, one way or another. It may manifest itself in physical illnesses, in addictions or even suicide. I have heard of a family that didn't let themselves grieve the loss of a son who died while he was young. They went around saying things like "glory to God, we shouldn't be sad; we should be happy he's with God." The latter part is true, of course, but it's bad theology to insist that we should never be sad. Jesus Himself experienced a full range of human emotions including grief. As an example, John 11:38, Jesus was "deeply moved" after weeping, upon the death of his friend Lazarus.
Back to the family that I mentioned: The sad result was that the deep pain built up within the family members, who were not allowed to grieve. Eventually several of them killed themselves. If they had dealt healthily with their grief, with God's help, they could have healed.
No matter how bad things are now, as the Bible tells us, things really will 'get better,' for " weeping may be for a night, but joy comes in the morning...." (Psalm 30:5b) In the meantime, as we walk through our lonesome valleys, we can ask God to help us. The help is there; all we need to do is ask for it and be open be open to it.
|Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley
Jesus walked this lonesome valley.
We must walk this lonesome valley,
You must go and stand your trial,
Janice P. Moser
All scripture references are from the NASB unless otherwise noted.