“But as a mountain erodes and crumbles
and as a rock is moved from its place,
as water wears away stones
and torrents wash away the soil,
so you destroy a person’s hope.
You overpower them once for all, and they are gone;
you change their countenance and send them away.
If their children are honored, they do not know it;
if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it.
They feel but the pain of their own bodies
and mourn only for themselves.”
You can’t control the rain; it rains on the just and unjust alike. For that reason rain shares a similarity with pain. You’ll find if you haven’t already you can’t control what hurts. You can avoid pain the same way you avoid the rain; go indoors, go to sleep, use an umbrella. And much like rain is essential for growth, I am convinced that because of a fallen world and sin, in order for us to grow in Christ we must be acquainted with grief and pain. Sure some of which can be avoided, but C.S. Lewis had it right when he said that, (paraphrased) to love someone to be vulnerable with someone comes with it an invitation to experience pain.
Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not the good news of the gospel. Nobody would respond to the gift of salvation or faith if the only thing on the table was pain and suffering. Yet somehow in the midst of it God believes I am capable of learning how to take joy in trial. He also says in those times of deep mourning and sorrow (most days I don’t even understand why I feel it), if I mourn, I will simultaneously receive His comfort.
It rains a lot here in PA or at least it rained a lot for the past 7 months I’ve been out here. Today it is not. Yet today I woke up and still had the sense of pain and loss with me. My hope still seemed crumbled in my hand despite a list of good things in my life. (Hope that is seen is not hope) Even more frustrating is there are people with much less, happier than me and people with a lot more, sadder than me. But Job 14:22 gives a good indication of what depression feels like and why it is not becoming of us. “They feel but the pain of their own bodies and mourn only for themselves.”
That’s why this type of pain must go away. Sometimes mourning is fine, tears are fine; we can bear someone else’s burdens with joy but when you’re stuck in yourself and feel that grief or anxiety has its hold on you rather than you holding onto anxiety it’s easy to panic. It’s easy to call a dozen people and out to God for help because the last thing you want is more of yourself. You become aware that what you need is help and you are trying to claw outside of a pit to get to a place where you can declare with faith love for God and the joy of His salvation. Jesus my Lord and my God, you stopped the sun, you can stop the pain but even if it doesn’t go away, let our love for you, our first love remain.