Hurting From a Distance

A gush of pain pours out from my heart every moment I think of the hurt.

The remorse I feel for the very situation is something I regret. To feel so depleted from inner energy and speechless from an inability to know how to comfort the pain of the one I love that is hurting.

This pain is not of mine own doing. Another has hurt not just someone that I love, but the whole family. Their hearts are broken more deeply than my own. Their tears have fallen and they now have questions about the future. What will they do now? Where will they go? How will they go on living with the ache in their hearts and stomachs from their great loss? Will they ever love again?

This is the heartache of our dear friends as they have offered a resignation to their church. They loved and served with many sacrifices and difficulties. They never pretended to be perfect people, but their hearts were open to helping, loving, and giving but often they were rejected. The toil at times was unbearable, like the tasks many of us face.

The hurt I hold in my heart feels so useless. It is the same hurt I have felt while carrying a healthy child in my womb and hearing of another woman having a miscarriage. My heart has cried for her and asked many questions of why and borne a burden of guilt for having been able to carry all of our children to term. Our ministry, although we have no guarantees, is blessed at this time. We face struggles, but they seem so minor in direct comparison of our friends’ great loss.

They are not the only to lose, their church loses in a multiplicity of ways…but that is its own separate discussion.

I do not know, more than just mere words and prayer how to comfort those I love from a distance. I want to rescue and help them. See their faces, hug their necks, place a hand upon their shoulders and reassure them of God’s promises. I don’t want to hear their voice of hurt on the phone and wonder how much of a front they are putting on to make me feel better.

These were friends that appeared in our lives as we were struggling in our marriage with two little boys, trying to get my husband through Bible college so we could follow God’s will. We were probably a sad excuse of anything back then. Their friendship brought us a sense of hope and family when we had been so far from our own. We were together for Thanksgiving, Easter, and many other celebrations of family events with a dash of everything else in between.

God gave them a beautiful home, about 5 miles away from our apartment. They would pick up the boys and I on their way to church on Wednesday nights, load up the carseats, we would hop in and buckle up and be off to the mid-week service. It was a good time of fellowship and burden sharing. I fell in love with their girls and her girls loved our boys. She and I were true friends.

Then we were called to our current ministry, they helped us load our moving truck and stay the night in their home before we set out on the new adventure of ministry. It was hard to say good-bye to them. It was not long afterward God impressed them to sell that beautiful home, and as my friend liked to say it, she believed they lived there because God wanted them near us. It boggles my mind in some ways that God would care so much for us both to have provided such a blessing of having nearby friends. Would we have made it through without them?

Some time later our friends finished their time at Bible college themselves, they are a bit older than us, but finished in record time. They went straight to the ministry where they are now… we have been able to see them at church camps, as well as in my husband’s home church during a holiday, while they were also there visiting their family. We were also able to visit them on one occasion and see the work God had given them firsthand.

I hurt here because they hurt there. It’s like watching a child falling in slow motion and being too far away to be able to rescue the child and getting there in time to pick them up off the ground. They are not my children, they are God’s and I know He loves them more than I do and will care for them better than I can. But even knowing that, I feel it is hardest at times to hurt with someone from a distance. My inability to fix or help the hurting person makes me feel like my hands are tied and my love is somehow meaningless.

So, when you are hurting in ministry and you have spilled your heart out to a fellow ministry friend that is across the miles, and you feel lonely…
know they might be grieving and hurting with you from a distance.

They may wish to bind your wounds, set you upon their beast, and take you to the inn like the Good Samaritan did.

They may be praying earnestly for your broken heart and wishing they could bear some of the pain with you.

They may be feeling grossly inadequate since words are their only means of comforting you.

If they had the money they might drive or fly just to see you and hug you and listen to your heart.

They may have to be brave enough to know that just wishing isn’t enough and have the faith to put you in God’s hands where you are already placed, and leave you there because He loves you more than they do.

They may have questions too about the reasons why.

Love those friends that hurt with you. You may have few of them but they must be loyal and kind people to which God has given you to aid you on your journey of following His will.

If you hurt like I do from a distance to those you love, let them know! Declare your love and use God’s Word to encourage them. And if necessary, make a sacrifice, to assure them that you care. It just may be what gives them enough strength to make it to the next day.