I remember the first time I was hurt by someone I trusted and respected. They had been a source of life and love for me in my spiritual walk and they had presented themselves as someone to count on. I had reached out to confide in them and ask for advice as I had been feeling dull and lost; the needle of my compass wasn’t staying fixed on a direction and I was slowly sailing through the fog. To add to the burden of confusion, I had been beating myself up as I couldn’t figure a way out of the fog. It was certainly a hard place to be.
The response he gave was sharp and lacking poise. I walked away carrying a second helping of condemnation in my spirit. “How could you let yourself get here, Casey? Why are you feeling this way? What did you do? Who are you? Just give up and give in to disappear.” Those thoughts surged like waves against the rock face of my heart and the internal confusion compounded.
It would be neat to say that in that moment Jesus showed up in a magnificent and profound way, but He didn’t. It would make for an awe-inspiring story to say that an angel appeared before me with an invigorating word of encouragement, but that didn’t happen either. I stood there staring into the abyss of nothingness. I was confused, lost, and disappointed in myself for allowing myself to even get into that place. Jesus eventually did show up though. Or, I should say, He eventually appeared to show up.
Years later Holy Spirit reminded me of that event. I winced. I attempted to withdraw from the memory but He was persistent. It was painful at first but when he removed the blood stained gauze that had become glued to the wound, I saw something I didn’t notice before. What I saw surprised me.
Jesus was there all along.
When Holy Spirit brought me back to that event, I saw Jesus sitting there in that moment, turned towards me, with His loving and tender gaze fixed solely on me. His eyes, my goodness His eyes. I could climb Everest in one go with a single glimpse of those eyes. I could endure a life of nothing but pain, hardship, and suffering if I had but one look from His eyes. I could joyfully embrace a martyr’s reward with just one eye-locked moment with Him.
There was nothing but pure love, concern, and empathy in His eyes.
I noticed something else in that experience. I noticed I hadn’t once looked toward Him. I was sitting on the couch mentally pacing around my hurt and confusion wondering what on earth was going on, and I never once looked at Him sitting there next to me. As you can imagine, that experience resulted in tears streaming down my face. Good tears. Healing tears. He was so patient with me in that moment, and in all the moments since. He didn’t rush me through it. He sat there with me. He didn’t tell me to brush it off and put your big-boy pants on. He experienced the pain with me. He didn’t tell me to hurry up. He endured it with me. Jesus has never responded to me in the way the other man did. His love is so steady. His love is unending.
Dear reader, Jesus suffers with you. He endures with you. He walks through the pain with you. He’s there, ever-present and ever-ready, to offer His healing and empowering embrace with His gaze fixed on you.
How do you move past pain?
How do you press on from hurt?
How do you navigate out of the fog?
Look into His eyes.