This past weekend our son competed in a baseball tournament. They played so hard. They listened to their coaches; pulled together as a team. They won all the games until the very last, gold medal game. Believe me, if this was a Made for TV movie, they would have won. This was not a normal game- there was so much riding on it behind the scenes. Before you think that it “was just a game,” know that there is a whole long, painful story and that winning would have been an emotional triumph of epic proportions for a lot of people. They were the underdogs. The ump made laughable calls. In the end, they won silver- but it was a bitter, emotional loss.
My Pollyanna-self wanted to make the best of it and to cheer up my broken boy. After all, I speak Christianese fluently. “God has a plan here.” How many times have we said that to others who are going through hard things? It’s meant to give hope, and it IS the truth, but I feel like it often tries to sweep our hurts, disappointment and pain under the guise of “you need to trust more” and “in the end it won’t matter.”
I believe that He would rather us feel our disappointment, grief and anger. Our humanness and rawness is not a shock to Him: He made us this way. Jesus grieved when his friend died, knowing that in the end He was going to raise him up! It’s even one of the most popular verses being the shortest, “He wept.” He was greatly troubled, even knowing all He did. Is there a more beautiful picture of compassion? David, who was known as the apple of God’s eye, gave us an “in” to a lot of his thoughts in the Psalms. He was sad, disappointed, grieved, happy, elated, hunted, depressed- he was a totally normal man who felt it all. So not only should we feel His total permission for feeling the gamut of emotions that He’s given us, we should allow those around us to feel them too. Imagine if we all rejoiced with those who rejoiced, and mourned with those who mourn. If we didn’t decide for others what they are allowed to mourn or rejoice about? What a community we would share!
Does this give us full license to fall into a lifelong sulk when things don’t go our way? Of course not. In the end, it’s true. We do have hope; we do know His heart for His children. But in the journey, we need to allow the pain in order to feel the Presence. How can we experience the Comforter, if we don’t? In a world of social media highlights and poker faced relationships, we can be real with Him.
So today, I’m going to let my boy feel disappointed. I’ll hug him, and tell him a joke at some point. But I’m not going to try and wash it away with half verses meant to make my life easier. His heart was broken. I am going to trust that Jesus will meet Him where He is, and that the same Holy Spirit that speaks to me, will speak to him also. When he’s ready to talk, we’ll talk about how, honestly, this world BLOWS sometimes, and things don’t always go how we think they should go. We’ll talk about the Scriptures that pave our lives and give us hope. We’ll talk about how he can help others go through stuff, because we go through stuff.
We will mourn together today, and we will rejoice together, tomorrow.
Who can you show compassion to, today?