We all have someone in our lives who is in need of healing whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. It’s hard to watch someone we love suffer with an addiction, a disease or the consequences of a poor decision. Perhaps this loved one has blamed God for their suffering and has turned away from their faith. They no longer trust or believe or they feel betrayed because of their pain. Maybe they still believe, but can’t let go of the desire to control their life, even though their life, as well as those they love, is falling apart.
They are so caught in the eye of the storm, the center of the hurricane, that they can’t see the ripples that result. Their spouse and children find themselves at the epicenter of each and every earthquake and feel the effects the worst.
The ripple extends and reaches other loved ones – parents, siblings, and friends whose world is now trembling too. Some decide to withdraw because they feel numb, frustrated or maybe disgusted, while others decide to ride out the waves although uncertain of the result.
At first, it is not always easy to see the greater good that may come from suffering. Job—a man who underwent immense suffering—reminds us that we may never know the reason why we suffer. Job did not understand why God had allowed the things He did, but he knew God was good and therefore continued to trust in Him.
There is a poignant scene in the movie “The Passion of the Christ” that stands out to me. The bloodied, broken Jesus fell under the weight of the cross he was carrying. His mother, Mary, rushes toward him (while flashbacks of the early days in Jesus’ life show her son falling as a toddler) frantically whispering, “I’m here!”
We put the words “I’m here!” is into action when our loved ones are suffering. We push the pause button in our own lives. We give them our love and our time. (“I’m here!”) We take over duties and hope that this makes things easier. (“I’m here!”) We talk to them, encourage them, and love them even more. (“I’m here!”) We try to be brave even though we are scared to death. We assume new roles, and wish we didn’t have to. (I’m here!) We are their voice in prayer when they can longer find the desire or the words to pray themselves. (“I’m here!”) We cry in private, we pray without ceasing even though we can’t understand why God doesn’t just heal the situation – just make it go away – just let life be normal again.
Sometimes it is hard for us to trust.
Later, an eyewitness to the crucifixion (the apostle John), included this telling detail in his account: During the ordeal, Mary was standing “by the torture stake of Jesus.” Nothing could prevent that loyal, loving mother from standing by her son to the very last. We, like Mary, stand by our loved ones.
The final shot of that scene (when Mary gets to Jesus after his fall) is we see the image of her son – disfigured and swollen. He looks her in the eye and stammers, “See, Mother, I make all things new.”
These words give hope. The bloody mangled body of Jesus who suffered unimaginable pain and suffering was made new again. Our own lives were made new again by the ultimate sacrifice of our savior.
These words give hope that our loved ones will also be made new again. Hope that they will emerge with a determination to make a fresh start and the courage to face their trials. Hope that they will develop a desire to maintain this new life, this new resurrection. Hope that their lives will be a reflection of the words of Jesus in that movie “I make all things new.”
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).