If there are any aspects of life we would all like exemption from they are pain, sorrow and suffering. Yet knowing that this is neither true nor possible does not lesson the agony and impact of these things when they come into our lives. One of the age old questions many have pondered is: Why does God allow suffering? Why do children die, why do young moms get cancer, why are innocent dads killed by drunk drivers, why do famines and plagues sweep over mankind at times? The list is almost endless of things that we view as intrusions upon a rich and full life. Yet, the fact is, life happens. While most of us readily acknowledge that sin has brought into life all the things that we often ponder concerning pain, sorrow and suffering and Bible believing Christians are well familiar with and recognize the fact that man introduced sin into this life with all its consequences and companions, simply knowing and acknowledging this does nothing to lessen the pain when these things invade our life, nor can they. It is, however, a crucial starting point when learning how to Dance With the Scars that one may accumulate during life and one point that needs to be acknowledged as we begin this journey is; there has to be a starting point.
There must be a place to begin the process of healing, restore the ability to laugh and smile again, to return to a life that will never be “normal” again but some of it’s critical elements such as hope, joy and peace can return though trauma or tragedy has been forced into one’s life experience.
So what is it we can do when life happens? Life in a fallen and sin filled world where sins consequences intrude upon life in their untimely and uninvited ways. How do we handle those “Why God” events that life brings? Things that don’t make sense, things that we, as finite thinking human beings, see how they could have been avoided, averted or resolved yet, the trauma, pain and sorrow came anyway. Do we just say flippantly to ourselves and others; “Well, life happens.” Hardly. The point of this chapter is to realize that when life brings things that have the capability to stop life in it’s tracks and scar you for the rest of your life, there has to be a point where we say I am “starting” life again. We will talk about specifics in coming chapters but we all recognize that there are two elects common in any race, whether it is cars or motorcycles, runners or swimmers, there is a starting line and a finish line in every race. You can’t start in the middle of the race and you can’t end before the finish line, if hope, joy and peace are going to return with their companions of laughter and purpose in life the whole race is going to have to be run. The race may be different lengths for each type of race but they all start at the same place.
The same is true for those trying to get through a life that is forever changed, the race may be longer for some than others but each person all begins at the starting line. This is important because we often have our minds go down the path of why me? Why did my prayer for healing not receive the answer I wanted and yet another beat the battle with cancer? Why did the loving wonderful person that I loved get hit by the drunk driver and not some evil person who harmed others? Or even why did the drunk driver survive and my loved one was killed or maimed? Why was my childhood brutal or abusive? Why did divorce come? Why was I betrayed? All these questions are normal and natural and they demand answers, but there are none that are acceptable to our minds yet, life continues and so must you.
So what is the starting line for you? For most, if not all, whom life has wounded deeply it is this; recognize you will have to move forward with unanswered questions. The truth is unanswered “whys” are where many whom life has wounded spend the rest of their lives, they never get to the starting line. Like any race, the staring line can be drawn on the ground or marked with a flag or banner, but the racer must approach the line with questions in their own mind about the race they are about to engage in. You will have unanswered questions too, the runner may wonder if they will win or if the recent injury will hamper their performance, the racer will be concerned about a crash and the swimmer endurance, but they still enter the race. So too must you. You may not want to, you certainly won’t feel like it, but when a sufficient amount of time has passed everyone wounded by life must get back into the race of life recognizing they will, have to move forward with unanswered questions. The big question is; how?
I have often reminded Christians that our mindset in life is to be “future first” thinkers. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 to those concerned about the loss of their loved ones:
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.”
Paul did not say “Because you are going to heaven you should have no sorrow” but rather that because we are going to heaven we sorrow yet with hope. The fact is dear friend, there are some life events that we will never get over but are going to have to get through. We sorrow, and hope. Our hope is that when life happens and hurts us at times, the future for the Christian is heaven. To remember that this life is not all there is not trite or a quaint saying we exchange when pain and sorrow infringe upon on lives, it is age old truth that sustains us and allows us to get through what we never expected to endure. We must remember to be “future first” in our thinking, we must not allow familiarity to breed contempt of such a magnificent truth. This life can be brutal and painful, yet filled with hope even in times of sorrow. That will not come and cannot be had through maintaining a positive mental outlook but rather it comes by remember the fact that there is a new life that awaits us, there is an eternity where death, sickness and sorrow are banished forever. We must filter all of life’s difficulties through the blessed future that awaits us in heaven. This is what Paul was telling the church concerning those who had died, sorrow is right and real and has it’s place in life in a fallen world, but the hope of heaven is where the mind must begin, to remember this life is not all there is essential to getting to the starting line of Dancing With the Scars.
Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.