Karen Blandino holds a Master’s in Counseling from TCU and a Bachelor of Arts in History from UTA. She served 12 years as a teacher and is currently a school counselor. Her husband and her planted 7 City Church in Ft. Worth, Texas where they serve as lead pastors. You can read more of Karen’s posts on her blog karenblandino.com.
Finding Belief in the Heartache – Guest Post
Her husband Elkanah said, “Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?”
So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow:
Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain, If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me By giving me a son, I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you. I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.
It so happened that as she continued in prayer before God, Eli was watching her closely. Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk. He approached her and said, “You’re drunk! How long do you plan to keep this up? Sober up, woman!”
Hannah said, “Oh no, sir—please! I’m a woman hard used. I haven’t been drinking. Not a drop of wine or beer. The only thing I’ve been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to God. Don’t for a minute think I’m a bad woman. It’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain that I’ve stayed here so long.”
Eli answered her, “Go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him.”
“Think well of me—and pray for me!” she said, and went her way. Then she ate heartily, her face radiant.
-1 Samuel 1:8-18 (MSG)
Pain is horrible. Pain is debilitating.
Pain can suspend you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Pain can stop all productivity, movement and growth. It can put you into an endless loop of pity, if you let it.
Or you can let it motivate you, let it grow you, let it bring you to your knees in prayer. Hannah used her pain to march herself to the temple and pray from an area of so much hurt and grief – that her lips would move, but the words were lodged so deep inside her heart they could not come out. She allowed her pain to take her to a place that God heard her!
Do you see this type of pain in people? I do, I see people with perfect faces, but if you could pull back the façade, you see the cries for help.
They are silent, but loud. They are hurting, but have no one.
The priest noticed Hannah. At first he did not understand her pain and scolded her, but once realized, he blessed her! This is such a good reminder, the “church” should be a place for love first. We don’t always know the pain someone is journeying through, scolding them will only drive them from the opportunity that could provide healing.
As a society, we desperately look for ways to not feel pain.
I love the way Christine Caine sums up pain in her quote:
“In order to heal, there is some pain you must allow yourself to feel. Avoiding, denying, ignoring or medicating it will not eradicate it.”
We don’t allow ourselves to go through the stages of grief. We don’t want to deal with the pain of family, friendships, inadequacy, or failure. We want to medicate it, drown it out, smoke it out, sleep it out, zone it out – our access to vices is always available and tempting. But is this the best for you?
Allowing yourself time to feel the pain, walk through the pain and deal with the pain will lead to such better results. It will make you so much stronger as a person and when another type of pain comes along, you will have developed the coping skills to overcome it faster and better. Also, it will allow you to come along someone else during their pain journey and help them navigate in a healthier way.
During this time of dealing with my niece’s battle against Leukemia, there were many days I felt so much pain and my heart was drowning in a heaviness. It felt like a weight was on my back keeping me spiritually bent. All I could do during this time was either cry and/or pray. There were times I would be working and tears would start to cloud my eyes and I couldn’t see my computer – it was a burden that would not lift.
My first thought was “I can’t deal with this much pain”, it hurts and I have to get rid of it. I remember thinking I could take a pill that would numb my feelings – but I felt this tug in my spirit that said “no”. You need to take this head on and use it to intercede for Katie. So I did my best, I journaled, I took long prayer walks, I blogged, I talked to others for support. And it helped – I moved through the pain process and it did not cripple me.
Pick a Fight – Never stop believing for more
Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”
Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.
“Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”
Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”
-2 Kings 13:14-19 (NIV)
It was custom was for the King to strike the ground with an arrow, each strike would represent a victory with God’s help. Although, the king was obedient, he limited God to what man felt would be sufficient, instead of the outcome only God could produce.
God needs us to believe for more than what our brains can imagine. He wants us to believe for God surprises and victories. He doesn’t want us to stop pounding the ground. What do you need to pound the ground for?
I didn’t stop pounding the ground for my niece, we continue to believe for her a long life! We believe for middle school, high school, college, boyfriends, marriage, family, job…
A Word of encouragement: Have you let the enemy limit God’s provision? What do you need to believe for more? A job, but not just a job, the job! A friend, not just a friend, but a great friend who will be around for years to come! A healing, not just that the pain ceases or you are able to endure, but a HEALING, disease is gone forever! He knows your pain, he is waiting for you to step in the belief that can only come from a loving Father, blessings!