“Let me feel you in this broken place. Let me feel Your breath upon my face. ‘Cuz everything I’ve trusted in, has been such a waste, if I don’t see you in this broken place.”
I recalled today, when I ministered this song in a conference, once, and as the words came out of my mouth, I could feel the resistance in the atmosphere. We are so afraid to talk about our pain. We’re afraid to admit that we have pain and that God knows about it and may very well be right in the midst of it.
As I continued playing, I sang the song with all my heart and all my soul because it was a place where I was in my life and I couldn’t deny the reality of it. I couldn’t get up on a stage in front of a crowd who was there to hear from God and not speak the truth of who God was in my life and in my heart at that moment. I couldn’t be plastic. I couldn’t be fake. I had to disclose this place in my life where I felt that if I couldn’t find God here in this place of brokenness & pain then He’s not anywhere. If He’s not in my tragedy, in my trauma and there to hold me and lift me out, then He’s not anywhere. Then He’s not God.
The psalmist said “even if I make my bed in hell, God, you are there. Where can I go from your spirit, where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139: 8) If God is not there in our pain then He is cruelest of all.
Many of us, because our pain has been met with condemnation and shame, believe that God is not interested in our pain or that He expects us to just get over it. This, then, becomes the doctrine about our pain. I heard Melissa Helser , a worship leader with Bethel Church, say one time, that we can’t take our personal experience and make a doctrine out of it but I fear that we’ve done that many, many times in the church. This is a mistake. My journey with God is personal and corporate at the same time. I have a life. A history. A heart. And the journey that I’ve walked in my life is unique to me and God is LORD of it.
We have condemned, many times, people dealing with pain and heartache and their past and memories and all these kinds of things. We’ve condemn psychology, we’ve condemned the practice of counseling, we’ve condemned all kinds of things that people have reached out to in trying to bring some kind of peace to the pain they’ve experienced in life. But how many of us actually enter into the pain of others? Many people in church will never, ever look into those intimate places of our lives, but there is One who does and that is God himself.
This song came at a time when God ministered to me that He really cared about where I was. He assured me that He was safe and that it was safe to acknowledge the pain of my past and how it affected not only my life but the life of my family and every life that I had ever come in contact with. I was running from that reality for a long time because of shame, but God, in His mercy brought me to a place where I had to look at it. Face it. Confront it. Acknowledge the impact that it had on my life, which was a very painful place because I had hurt others in the process. And God, in His wonderful, gentle, patient way held me and let me fall apart. It was a beautiful thing. It was a painful thing. It was a healing thing.
I share these things, not because I want you to make my experience a doctrine of your life, but because I want you to see this as a testimony to the goodness and kindness of God and perhaps it may help you in your times of pain and grief.
We bring much bondage to people in condemning them for being human beings. In condemning them for having feelings, for having hurts, and for responding to hurt with tears and dysfunction. But without Christ’s redemptive power, this is our only response, our natural response.
It takes the power of the Word of God to change the impact of these things on our souls. We human beings are very fragile creatures which God created in His own image. To deny a soul grief, painful change and process is very unnatural and very dangerous, in my opinion.
Christ, Himself, showed great compassion to Mary and Martha when their brother had died. He showed great compassion to the woman at the well who had had five husbands. He showed great compassion to the sick and the afflicted. Jesus entered into the suffering of mankind and became deeply acquainted with the feelings of our infirmities.
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”
He is in the midst of our sorrow and suffering with outstretched, very strong, yet tender arms. And He doesn’t condemn us for being there, instead He speaks over us and quiets us with His love (Zephaniah 3:17). He’s like a nursing mother (Isaiah 49:15-17). He is close to the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18).
Isaiah 57:15“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
Psalm 139: 1-18
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[a] on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
Let Christ be glorified in all!