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Encouragement that Rings False

My wife and I started foster parenting years ago because we love kids. Well, we love kids and infertility issues meant we weren’t having any more of our own at that time.

It was painful. We thought we’d have children then adopt to finish out our family, but miscarriages and waiting took its toll. In conjunction with this, we also received lots of “encouragement.”

Essentially, it went something like this, “Don’t worry. It’ll happen soon.” It was heartfelt, but did nothing to alleviate the pain and discouragement.

Then in moments of insensitivity, I even questioned my wife, “aren’t I and our son good enough? Can’t you be thankful for at least that?” Not my finest moment for sure.

What changed that despair into something productive was a decision to love. We knew we had love to give to children and wanted a house filled with them so if we couldn’t have them the usual way, we’d love these kids that didn’t have anyone else for that moment.

Corrie Ten Boom relates the story of her one true love named Karel. She was completely taken with him and eventually he was taken with her as well. She was devastated to find out from her brother that from an early age, his family had “made sure” he would marry into a well-to-do family and wouldn’t allow him to marry a poor watch shopkeeper’s daughter.

Eventually, he did show up at her door with a fiancee, and as soon as she was able, she went to room to cry. She heard her father coming and dreaded any sentiment of “you’ll find someone else soon.” What he did say though was profound and grace-filled.

“Corrie,” he began instead, “do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. “There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or, Corrie, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel…

Whenever we cannot love in the old, human way, Corrie, God can give us the perfect way.”

–Corrie Ten Boom, the Hiding Place (p. 60)

The circumstances of our lives brought pain to the forefront, but as cliche as it sounds, love will find a way. It may not be the way we wanted or intended, but God will give us avenues to express love.

Pain thrives when we bottle up love.

I’ll leave you with this encouragement–not the kind that rings false or tries to placate or downplay pain. It embraces the pain and finds a way to love into healing. I want to repeat the wise, loving words of Corrie’s dad,

“Whenever we cannot love in the old, human way… God can give us the perfect way.” Don’t just move on or try to forget whatever pain you may be facing, ask God to give you His perfect way to love.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear… –1 John 4:18

lookingWhat are your thoughts on this? Have you experienced God turning pain into an avenue to love others? Have you been the recipient of false encouragement?


hiding-place1Welcome to week 3 of our discussion of the Hiding Place (disclosure) by Corrie Ten Boom. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts and the widget to add your post. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

4 Comments

  1. I’d never heard that. That is profound and full of wisdom from God. Love can break a heart, but only God’s love can truly mend it, and for eternity. Wonderful thoughts to ponder, Jason. Thanks for your honesty and sharing your journey. It is encouraging.

    • Seeking to be honest and find the truth even in the hard places--only by His grace! Thanks so much, Floyd.

  2. While reading The Hiding Place, this is one of the quotes I wrote down. Such wise and amazing thoughts from Corrie’s father -- taking them to heart, Jason.
    Blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Your Grace is SufficientMy Profile

    • It struck me how closed we can be when trying to encourage. He didn’t try to “make it all better” but pointed to the One who could and would if we trust Him. I want to live my life like that! Thanks Martha.

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