Hurt. It is a word that I think about every day of my life, because I am a hurt person. I wish that I could go into great detail about all that has happened to bring me to this place, but I cannot. I have hurt inside that I cannot talk about.
I am sure there are people out there saying, “By all means, just talk to someone!” But it is not quite that simple. There are several reasons I have found that a person cannot talk about her hurt. First, if she speaks up, the nature of the issue could jeopardize existing relationships. Second, she risks marring the listener’s opinion of others involved. Third, she risks confidentiality from the listener. Fourth, she risks being given pat answers to complex and deep problems. Trust me: it is often simpler to carry your hurt alone.
I have searched for years to find a place for my hurt. This may sound strange, but I have actually been envious of people who had sympathizers. When someone has an accident, a death in the family, or encounters dire circumstances, people tend to come to their aid. But when you have an invisible problem, one that can’t be elaborated on… no one knows that you are drowning in hurt. Friends cannot see the burden that you carry alone for days, months, and years. Yet, even if they could, it is unlikely that they could solve your problem. They probably could not change the situation or convince others to stop hurting you. In your mind, though, you wonder what it would feel like if there was just one person who understood your hurt.
In the Bible, there are three people who I believe knew hurt: David, Jesus, and Paul. I could cite numerous verses that point to David’s pain, but here is one that stands out: “My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off. Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long” (Ps. 38:11-12). Jesus surely felt hurt even before the terrors of the cross: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matt. 23:37). Paul had to have felt hurt inside when he made this statement: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself” (2 Cor. 1:8). In spite of the good work these men were trying to accomplish, they got hurt in the process. What can we gather from this fact? What does the Bible say that will help us?
Hurt is God’s plan for some people. We know that God’s perfect will was being accomplished in David, Jesus, and Paul. Just because people and circumstances hurt you does not mean that something is wrong in your life. It just means that a certain work of the Lord has been purposed for you. We won’t know the reasons for it here. My tendency has been to want to “right the wrongs” I have experienced. However, something deep and mysterious is going on. I need to stop questioning what is happening. My prayer should be something more like, “Lord, help me endure this hurt. You said your grace would be sufficient for me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Hurt is an open invitation to look to Jesus. When I feel bombarded with past and present hurts, there are a couple of verses that often come to my mind. These two verses are like a healing salve: “Casting all your anxieties upon him, for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). It encourages me to remember that Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, and cares for me.
Hurt will not exist in eternity. There is coming a day when hurt will be banished for the child of God. All injustice and hurt will cease forever. “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4). I look forward to that day, not just for myself, but for all the ones throughout history who have been hurt and mistreated. Millions have endured much more suffering than I have. A day will come when they can smile and have joy again.
Though this subject is not often spoken of, I suspect that I am not alone. I am concerned that many folks are hurting who never receive encouragement or attention to their needs. Friend, if you are that person, I understand on some level. I know what it means to be crying inside and unable to talk about it. We are kindred spirits, and one day I believe our understanding will be opened. Our heavenly Father will show us the beautiful work He did in our lives, and we will thank Him. He will wipe our tears, and our hurt will be remembered no more.