A Turn in the Suffering :: When It Connects to a Broader Scope

Sun over trees.

I mentioned yesterday that my first turn in the suffering happened about 10 years into my heart’s journey with Jesus. One morning, I was sitting in a session with my spiritual director and was presented with the invitation to revisit a particular wound. 

I could see myself in that scene I shared with you already of being nine years old and given responsibility that was way beyond my years and then being held responsible for the disaster that resulted. I saw myself in the room of my sentencing, and my spiritual director gently invited me to explore whether Jesus was in that room with me that night.

Where was he? What was he doing?

He was sitting right there next to me, and he didn’t lift a finger.

It really angered me to see that — to see him sit calmly by while injustice happened to me. What’s more, as I’ve already shared, that night had far-reaching ramifications on my life, and Jesus did nothing about it. 

That really, really hurt. 

I sat in my director’s living room, eyes squeezed shut and tears streaming down my face. My thoughts raced with anger and sadness, wondering what Jesus could possibly say to me, wondering if he could say anything at all that would begin to help me understand or make what happened — his inaction — okay. 

I didn’t think it was possible. I’d lived with that wound far too long. 

But then slowly, like an onion, I felt him unraveling the cloth strips that were wrapped around my head, covering my eyes, the cause of blindness. 

Slowly, he unwrapped them in order to let me see. The weight of the cloths began to fall away. Dots of light began to shimmer on my eyelids.

And quietly, gently, I heard him say to me: “My daughter, it is true. I did allow that to happen. I was there, and I did not lift my finger. But you see, I had a greater scope in mind. I saw a vision beyond the story you could see. There is the greater story of your life, and how I’ve planned to use you. Because of what you’ve carried, you can come alongside those who also carry these burdens. You can touch them, because you know how they feel. You know what it feels like to be where they are.”

It isn’t that God was absent. It isn’t that he was uncaring. It’s that he had a different aim in mind entirely.

Sometimes our suffering connects to a broader scope that we cannot see. When we are in the woundedness, it pains us to even hear that. But when we are ready to heal, Jesus can lead us through.