Everyone experiences the feeling of being out of control at some point in life. We have this unusual perception that somehow we actually control life and the circumstances around us, but in reality; we control very little. A good friend and mentor once told me, “I’ve realized that my life is held together by the most fragile of ties. If one of them is cut, the whole thing begins to unravel.”
Think about it for a minute.
Did you have control over that car wreck?
Did you have control over that promotion?
Did you have control over your refrigerator breaking down?
Did you have control over being born into the situation you’ve been born in?
Once we come to a place in life where we understand control is an illusionary concept, we have to start dealing with the reality around us. Sometimes it’s humbly accepting the victories in life, and sometimes it’s dealing with the pain we’ve endured.
When Pain Turns to Trust
Yesterday I was working with a group of teenagers on our low ropes course here at KIVU. The course is designed to do all those trust building exercises you read about.
Get your team over the big wall.
Figure out how to get your team from one platform to the other.
And the grand finale is THE FAITH FALL
The faith fall is where someone stands on a platform facing away from the group.
The team members wait patiently for the person on the platform to fall blindly back into their hands.
Most well healed humans find this exercise excruciatingly fear filled.
But when they decide to give over to trust instead of giving into their fear, they find it exhilarating.
After about 15 or so kids went through the exercise, I work with them on the metaphor of the faith fail.
“In every relationship in life, we have to have people who are willing to risk something, and people who are willing to catch them safely. In other words, we have to have fallers and catchers. After all, nobody wanted to see anyone fall and injure themselves. Right?”
They all shake their heads in agreement.
“Have you ever been in a relational place where someone let you down, caused you pain, and didn’t catch you?” I asked.
And one girl in the group let it go. Without describing the details here, she told the group how she was rejected at an early age, assaulted by a trusted family member, and has an incredibly hard time trusting people now.
I WISH YOU COULD HAVE BEEN THERE.
Right after we spent nearly half an hour working on trust, this group of teenagers rallied around this one girl and walked with her through the pain. They all listened intently. They felt the pain she was sharing with us. They physically went over across the group circle, and hugged her in a sign of solidarity. And with tears streaming from her eyes, she whispered, “Thank you SO MUCH.”
Pain and Fear don’t have to turn into hatred
When we listen to the pain of another, we have a chance to build trust with a human response of care. We don’t often know how to care well, but there’s something inside a well healed human that wants to care for another.
Sometimes we try to fix the problem. “It’s ok, I’ve been through worse.”
In an uncomfortable moment we try to make things right. “Look on the bright side…”
But real power is when two people can identify pain, and empathize with another.
All of the sudden, fear takes a backseat to the care for one another. Trust becomes the glue of friendship. Loyalty emerges from the depths of fear and human care replaces.
It doesn’t mean we always fix the pain. Pain is something that transforms us into who we are. As we experience pain and work through the cycles of emotion, it leaves scars. Much like the scars of a physical injury, pain leaves the scars of emotional trauma.
But when someone finds healing through the care of another, it’s absolutely AMAZING!
It’s the Jesus Way
Following Jesus is not easy. Pride, Hurt, the notion that I have to take care of something myself or else I’m weak all rule my thought process. But when I saw this young girl give her pain freely to the care of another, I remembered the story of the Roman ruler who lost his daughter.
He came to Jesus (Matthew 9) and pleaded with this obscure Rabbi to come to his house and see his daughter. It must have been incredibly embarrassing for a Roman guard to have to plead with a Jewish religious man. In front of all his friends he had to lay down his pride, and show his pain to someone who traditionally was a thorn in his flesh. But Jesus walked to the man’s house, leaned in to whisper to the girl, and she was instantly healed. The miracle is often the focus of the story, but I’m more inclined to wonder about the father.
How risky was it to come to Jesus?
How did he conjure up enough faith to believe Jesus could do anything about it?
And then, more practically, how can I take my own pain to God, and to others, where I can experience a similar state of healing?
The Jesus way is to recognize the pain of the other without making them feel worse. Jesus could have used the weakness of the father to show the Jews how powerful He was. He could have mocked the soldier and used a sarcastic tone, “You rule us and NOW only when you need something you call on us?”
But he did what Jesus does.
He calmly, respectfully, started walking towards the man’s house to heal someone who was in pain.
He respected the Roman, even when it didn’t serve any political gain, economic gain, or even some sort of religious gain.
He just did it, because He cared for another human in pain.
The way of Jesus is to care unconditionally for people, no matter what background they bring to the table. If there’s a way to help heal, He rushed to the point of pain and cared.
Oh, if the world would only Love like Jesus loved.
War might be stopped.
Cruelty toward another might be subverted.
And Pain might be healed!