Revive me, O God! Restore me, my Friend.
To suffer is human. To suffer well is a choice. Therefore, we cannot underestimate the importance of how we think about suffering.
Perhaps one of the most damaging mindsets in the time of suffering is shame. Unfortunately, it seems to come so naturally; for when our suffering is unjustified we fear what others might think and when it is random we worry about what we did to deserve it. Even if we move past the causes, we are ashamed of our weakness . . . we tend to think we are stronger and more together than we really are. So what do we do with this humbling revelation?
We tend minimize our need and pretend things really aren’t so bad even though inside we’re emotionally hemorrhaging with unspoken grief. This is our tragic story—or at least some version of it—when we allow shame to join us in our suffering. When we do, we become complicit with the enemy of our souls.
While we should never give him undue attention, we must also not forget that his threat is indeed very real. Though, as malevolent as he is, his tactics are often quite predictable. He relies not on sound reason but pride and fear to manipulate our thoughts and choices.
Therefore, when we suffer, we choose not to talk about our need because we don’t want to be identified with those who never stop talking about their needs. And we don’t ask for help because we fear association with those who’re always asking for help. His unyielding litany of questions go something like this.
“What about grit, hard work and a ‘Suck it up!’ attitude?”
“How can wallowing in our pain be more helpful than moving on?”
While such questions may motivate an important sense of self-reflection, they are actually the wrong questions because they divert our attention from the real topic at hand. We are more concerned about public opinion than our very lifeline of faith.
The real issue is this: To live the abundant Christian life—whether in good times or bad—we must depend on resources we simply don’t have. That’s right. On our own we’re spiritually bankrupt. We don’t have what it takes to live an authentically biblical Christian life.
So, have we resigned ourselves to defeatism by admitting our neediness? Are we feebly wallowing in our pain when we offer God our tears and the many fears that come with shattered dreams? No, Scripture teaches that God delivers those who confess their need, not those who hide it (Psalm 18:6). So, let’s be real, drop the shame, and boldly cry out, “Revive me, O God! Restore me, my Friend.” Next week, we reflect on the mercy of God.
What Do You Think?
In times of suffering, do you struggle to be gut-level honest about your need? Why or why not?
♦ To see the video and poem this post is based on, click here.