Like Scales Falling

Empathy

A friend of mine just buried a child for the second time. Though I’m not present with her, I can picture her standing next to the grave, unable to stop the tears from falling as she watches her husband lower a tiny casket into the ground. I can imagine her heart aching to the core, and her mind racing with thoughts of why…I can see her returning home later today, still having to carry on normal activities and chores like an ordinary day, but in her heart this day is forever tainted with grief. What could possibly be the reason for heartaches such as this?

This question is asked by many, in many different ways. “Why would God allow such terrible things to happen to those He loves?”

 I venture there are likewise many answers to this question. Just as we were each created uniquely, our stories are each unique, with unique twists and turns and caverns along the way.

You can never truly know what it’s like to experience someone else’s pain, even if your own painful experiences or circumstances are similar. But you can allow yourself to try, to empathize with their pain by imagining how it feels to be in their shoes.

Empathy comes naturally to some people, and very unnaturally to others. But in either case, it’s a loving, conscious choice to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. And in our “just keep scrolling”-culture of not wanting to stop and think about things that are sad or uncomfortable, it is perhaps even more important to practice empathy.

Something I have learned through my own journey is that it is usually the painful experiences that allow me to relate to others and others to relate to me. The longer I live, the more varieties of pain I experience as the consequence of living in a broken world. But this has allowed me to more easily practice empathy, and try to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

Acts 9:18
And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight

I know this verse relates to the moment Paul experienced an encounter with Jesus, but I like the symbolism of a person who formerly could not see what was always there suddenly being able to see clearly.

Through my own painful experiences, my eyes have been opened again and again. But the truth is that I’m so thankful to finally be able to see. This is one of many reasons God allows His beloved children to experience suffering.

I would not go back and trade any of my painful experiences if I could. I would rather experience hurt and be able to see than live in a bubble and be blind. I love all that I’ve learned from my suffering. Of course there may be a lot few tears shed along the way, but I will continue to be in awe of all that He is working out for good.

When Your Future is Uncertain

When Your Future is Uncertain

Have you ever driven in dense fog? I took this picture a few years ago as I was driving to work through very dense fog that prevented me from seeing much past the front of my car. I had no idea what lay ahead of me on that road. I just had to continue driving and hope that there wouldn’t all of a sudden be a large object in my path. All I had to rely on was the familiarity of the route itself and my short-distance vision. The future can feel like that sometimes – unclear, a little nerve-wracking, moving forward with uncertainty…

When you move forward through an uncertain future, you’re likely to hope for several things: that your path will become clear, that you’ll understand why you had to go through this period of uncertainty, and of course that you will find yourself safely or happily at the end of this uncertainty.

But as you move forward, trusting amidst the unknown, it’s a little scary because there are no guarantees that your journey will end the way you desire it to. Perhaps you could be okay with however it ends, but for me, sometimes it’s more of the uncertainty of it all that makes me nervous.

I tend to get so anxious to see where this road leads, just to know what will happen. (And yes, I was one of those kids who pestered Mom and Dad with “ARE WE THERE, YET?!”)

When facing the uncertain, you have no clue as to how long the road is, if you will take any detours or not, where the heck it goes, and what stops are along the way. And that can be really hard to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

But there is good news – one thing is for sure: you are not the one driving. And that brings me so much comfort and peace when I choose to remember that truth.

There is One who knows exactly where all roads lead and end. There is One who is carrying you through each day of your journey.

He is One who I trust with my future, uncertainty and all. Heck, He’s the ONLY one I trust with my future!

So when the anxiety of the unknown begins to weigh you down, threatening to take over every thought you possess…stop and fix your eyes on the One who knows all and sees all, and trust Him to lead you through it.

For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. – Mark 4:22