Wednesday, February 22, 2017
health and when we hurt
I believe I have hurt my health over the more recent years by taking on the pain that I assume others are feeling. I had imagined Edd's pain, not just physical, but emotional and mental, and suffered with him. He actually seemed pretty happy most of the time. But I was deeply suffering. Then after he died I continued ... The same when I lost mom and I felt my dad's pain and loss (as well as my own) ... and the same with other family members. But we weren't meant to carry another's pain as our own. God says we are given grace for our own pains and burdens, not for someone else's.... I've been learning and relearning this for the last few years ... making progress, but it's still something I have to continually work on.
We can (and should) feel empathy for others and offer our love and kindness and help, but letting their suffering or pain become our own is not a burden our bodies are capable of bearing. It does absolutely nothing to help the situation and in fact makes things much worse.
How can we stop though? It is a form of anxiety and worry and a lack of trust that God is active and aware and present and cares. We need to revisit (if we've strayed) and once again embrace the fact that we do have a God who empathizes with us, hears us when we pray, sees us and knows how we feel. We do not have the power to change every bad situation as much as we might wish we could.
I've sometimes felt paralyzed by seeing so much suffering. I know there are many wonderful things happening all around the globe, but the horror stories can cause such anguish as we think of what some people have to endure because of their own failures and choices... or by no fault of their own.
So no I can't make everything better or solve others' problems. We aren't meant to carry all the suffering of others.
But ... and here's the most amazing thing... Jesus DID.
I read in Isaiah 53:4 that "Surely he has borne our sufferings and carried our sorrows"....
From what I understand, this was part of a string of prophesies about Jesus as our suffering servant and savior. It mirrored what he actually did on the cross for us. Did Jesus really do this? He bore our suffering and sorrows? He felt them? He took them upon himself? When he died for me, he took upon my pain and the pain of others and felt them in his own body? From what I know of taking on the pain of others this act of Jesus' is more than I could ever even imagine. It humbles me. It somehow comforts me and makes me grateful because I know he understands human suffering.
God works in mysterious ways. Remembering that and really embracing that truth is also helpful. It takes time for situations to work out and lessons to be learned. Sometimes people are lost in the process and that hurts. But giving our sorrows and sufferings to the one who understands is the best place to be to find spiritual health.... and physical, mental and emotional health as well.