As a person that loves to laugh, rejoice, jump, and dance at any moment that the Lord gives me, I often forget that human suffering can be beautiful too. I often forget that tears can be made sacred in the name of Jesus, that heartaches and losses can be made sweet, that our brokenness grants us a gateway to His bountiful promise, and that our humanity is well-pronounced in the pain of our souls.
It’s overwhelmingly difficult to embrace suffering as glorious because we are human. No matter how much we try to control our lives and protect ourselves from discomfort and danger, we cannot do all things the way that we want to. The moments we lack control, feel hopeless, and experience vast amounts of sorrow are the moments when we see our natural emotions and reactions to what and who have hurt us. It’s human to hurt, to suffer, and to protect yourself from harm for the future.
But when we experience suffering or trauma and feel the heaviness of our hearts, how can we choose to seek light as the darkness seems like it has chosen to seek us?
The answer is different for everyone, just like everyone’s experiences and reactions to trauma. But there is a constant truth that I want to share with you today: your suffering does not go unnoticed by our Heavenly Father.
After I unexpectedly experienced trauma in my freshman year at college, I was no longer able to sleep. I spent an hour each night walking back and forth in my dorm hallway like a zombie when all my floormates were sleeping; I’d go to bed almost as late as 4 AM for two months due to flashbacks and extreme anxiety. I barely went to the dining hall, and I got four weeks behind in school. Even my previously extroverted self now avoided crowds and conversations; I wore hats and baggy clothes so none of my friends could recognize me on campus. I was constantly hiding. And it was altogether exhausting.
In this, I believed the lie that I was alone. I believed the lie my wails for healing were swallowed by the fear in my throat. I didn’t know what to do; I just knew that I wanted to feel safe again and that somehow Jesus would get me there.
I was yearning for a new home in my heart.
A Home & A Treasure to be Found
One of my favorite childhood memories was making a fairy garden near my family’s bright blue mailbox every day. I was constantly finding big seashells, filling them with rainwater, picking grass and frail flowers, and making a home for these fairies. I checked up on this garden every day, making sure it was well-maintained and sought after. I even made them extra teacups out of leaves and a short zip line out of twigs so that they could have guests over and have fun. It was a fairy party, for sure.
If I, a seven-year-old girl, could make a new home for the fairies out at my front yard in the most random town in Connecticut, imagine how God could make a new home in you. Imagine how creative He would be, gathering so many beautiful things together to help you and others feel welcome. Imagine Him taking out His toolkit with a big smile on His face, truly delighted that you said a “Hello!” to him. Imagine how much of His goodness would be able to shower upon the world if you let Him into your broken home to build it new again, and again, and again.
Our perceptions of divine healing would be transformed if we trusted that He could make more homes in our brokenness. He wouldn’t forget the seashells, the water, the grass, the flowers, the teacups…and He definitely wouldn’t forget the zipline. He would find tidepools in one part of your soul and then create oceans for the entirety of your being. He would unhesitantly blossom the wilted and garden them back to health. He would check up on your heart every minute of every day to make sure that you are sought after, that you are not forgotten amidst the multitudes of other flowers in the garden. He would want you at a billion other blue mailboxes, able to serve Him first and not even have a single worry about tomorrow because of your deep confidence in His generosity.
Take a moment to sit with that. He pursues you. He weeds out what you don’t need. He waters seeds on good, fertile soil so that you may bear much fruit in your suffering.
And most of all, he finds treasure in your heart. When you admit that you are hurting and unable to move forward without Him, He delights in your humility and sole trust in Him. Your choice to freely follow Him amidst the uncertainties and ambiguities is an honorable treasure to him. He pursues you because you are valuable. You are a person of worth and dignity in the eyes of the Beholder. If you don’t believe this today, pray that He may reteach you to see the tenderness of His heart, no matter how long it takes.
The Tenderness of Jesus Christ
If you think about all the trials and tribulations that Jesus Christ suffered through on the cross, alongside the public humiliations and crude remarks that he endured before, during, and after the Passion, it is hard to think that his heart is still so tender. It is hard to believe that the man who stumbled was the same man who loved deeper than anyone who stood tall. It is hard to think that His heart would be pierced over and over again if it meant that you could be convicted of his mercy once more. Not only is it hard to think, but it is hard to know and truly believe. But this is where our hearts can be stretched.
As I entered into months of therapy, I realized more each day that I was entirely broken at the core of my heart. It was a reality that I habitually dodged in fear because I wanted to be seen in the way that I wanted to be seen: the good grades, the athletic medals, the friendships, the cute outfits. Our Creator challenged me in the recovery of my trauma to seek his counsel by embarking on the pursuit of His tender heart, and to let go of what holds my heart astray from His.
When we acknowledge that the bitterness of our hearts is not the same in the tender heart of Jesus, God defies any disbelief or worry as He unites His heart with our own. This tenderness fully encompasses His gentleness and humility on and off the cross. His heart travels with ours, so do His feet, and so do His hands with ours. We experience the full depth of His presence and sacrifice when we accept the full depth of who He is and not who we think or want Him to be.
Our Maker is our God. And He wants to be so close to you. He wants to make a new home in you and rejoices when you are obedient to Him amidst your suffering. He wants to walk beside you and deeply yearns to unite His heart to yours. This union, a place to be bare and free with the Lord, invites the discovery of treasure.
In whatever trauma or suffering you have endured, are enduring, or will endure in the future, sit with his tender heart. Hear his gentle and compassionate voice as he affirms how you are at that moment. Let him roar necessary truth into your soul and whisper consolation to your ears. His melody awaits you.
I pray that you may invite Him into the rooms of your house that you always leave messy, the dry gardens with wilted flowers and many weeds, the places in your life that seem like darkness has already prevailed. Jesus Christ craves to love and redeem all of you, and this includes everything that may seem undone and unfinished in your eyes.
Freely and courageously allow yourself to be His great treasure, no matter what has happened to you. You are not your trauma; you are His treasure.
And the tender heart of Jesus is a wonderful and lovely place to be.
Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash