I prayed. I asked God to show me what I could do, what I could say, and His answer hurt me. He said I could do nothing. I could only pray for my friend, and show him how God's love never gives up.
What do we do when someone we care about has a problem that we cannot relate to? Sometimes it feels like unless I've been there, unless I've felt the same pain, I cannot completely connect with the torment they go through. I can feel sympathy, but I feel lacking in true empathy. And, often my advice is not what they need and not what they are looking for.
Many months later that same friend came back to me. He'd found God. With God's strength the demons had been defeated and hope found. And he told me something soul-wrenching. He told me he'd decided to be at peace with everything he'd been through, all the bad choices he'd made, and all the evil he'd allowed into his life. He said, that because he'd been through it all he could help others find their way out of their own horror.
It was a moment I will never forget. This man had decided to be thankful for the years of hurt in his life, because it would help him relate to others in need.
I stopped and took stock of my own hurt, pain, hardships, and imperfections and realized that God in all His Goodness could use everything about me for the good of others, if I let Him. Just like my friend, I need to let God have ALL OF ME. I need to have peace with the past and realize that it can't be changed, but that God can use it to guide others to healing.
God, guide us. I know there are things we go through that hurt, sometimes they hurt simply remembering them and we are burned by our shame and sadness. Help us to find peace giving those things to You, letting You use them. For we know that others are still struggling to find their way out of darkness and we dearly long to bring them into Your light.
Photo by Garland Cannon