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Real Relationships Involve Pain

Relationships are draining. They hurt. They enter you into someone else’s life and difficulties and pain.

So why do we maintain relationships? Because we also know the opposite is true. Relationships are fulfilling. They heal. They enter you into someone else’s life and triumphs and joys.

I have been in the midst of believing for a situation that involves people that I love dearly. It has not gone the way I had wanted. I believe God always wants restoration, but I also understand that every person has to make the choice to enter it. Without that decision from everyone involved, He cannot start the process of healing and things fall apart.

My wife and I have struggled and been stressed about all this. We have prayed and stood and reached out as best we can. It’s hard not to feel the weight of all of it, and you begin to wonder if any of it makes a difference at all.

As I read Katie’s story from this week’s chapter, I was reminded again that every time I have reached out to any broken and needy person I was joining in His heart and feeling His pain.

From Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis and Beth Clark

Carrying one another’s difficulties is central to the life of Christ, but it isn’t about simply feeling bad or fretting. It’s about believing for God’s heart and will. It’s declaring the wisdom and Kingdom of God into lives and situations.

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. –Galatians 6:2

As I’ve seen again, the miracle doesn’t always seem to materialize. Things don’t always end the way you want them to, but the pain I feel on my end is nothing compared to the pain that He feels. Lives are ripped apart. Dreams are broken. I love the people in the heart of this so it feels especially personal, but God shares it.

We attempt to live in compassion because He first loved and reached to us. We feel the pain too, but it doesn’t mean God isn’t there. He is not emotionally aloof or watching from a distance on His far off throne at bad choices and all the suffering. He is in the midst of all of it offering His hand of restoration and truth to the world and to us in thousands of moments and thousands of ways.

He chooses to share both the joys and the pain with those close to Him because of the relationship He has with us. That’s what makes us His friends.

Have you struggled with the pain of reaching out? Has it ever deterred you or do you recognize His compassion in the midst of it?


This is part of our book club discussion on Week 17 of Kisses from Katie (disclosure) by Katie J. Davis and Beth Clark. 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, add it in the link widget below and be sure to check out the other entries. Also head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for another great take. Whether you’ve read the selection or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.

18 Comments

  1. I am currently struggling with the pain that I have as I watch my little boy suffer the consequences of the choices he has made over the last year. Relationships are hard and messy but beautiful when all is said and done.
    April recently posted..Mission Monday: Rescue HerMy Profile

    • April, I’m sure seeing your child suffer is so much harder. I’m so thankful that He gives us a taste, but we don’t have to carry the full weight of the pain. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Praying for you and your son.

  2. I tend to be a compassionate person. I have gotten wrapped up in people and found myself swamped and overwhelmed. Then I get hurt and tell myself “never again.” But I do. There is one lady here who says she will never get close to anyone again. In reality, she is the one missing out.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..DeepWaterMy Profile

    • I completely understand and I agree with you, Bill. I think there are times will all of us think or say, “Never again.” But I can’t figure out how to keep going with God, growing closer to Him, without opening my heart to other people--even the ones who hurt us. You’re so right. The only means of protection is to shut out everyone, but we are missing out on so much, both from the human perspective and the divine. Thank you, Bill.

  3. God really spoke to me through your post. My family is going through a hard time. Those in the family that are Christian are believing for a miracle. It’s difficult because not all in the family are Christian, we are praying God uses this to open eyes and hearts to Him.

    Thank you for reminding me that no matter how much I hurt, God hurts more. We are His hands and feet, we are the Body of Christ and it is our responsibility to get involved, no matter how much it pains us.
    TC Avey recently posted..Whoever Thinks the Founding Fathers Weren’t Christians, Probably Doesn’t Know This: May 17th, 1776My Profile

    • This hard situation in our lives also involves family. It’s heart-wrenching so I’m so glad the reminder to myself encouraged you as well. Thank you, TC.

  4. Recently, a friend pointed out to me how a couple of relationships in my life had ended badly. In each case, these were people that I had invested huge amounts of time and energy with. And each one, at some point, had turned around and rejected me. My friend pointed out these two examples and said, essentially, why do you put so much into relationships when you know that this could — and probably will be — the outcome? I thought about it for a moment, but without hesitation, I could say that I don’t regret for one moment the time and energy invested. I don’t regret the nights I spent up praying or crying with these people. I don’t regret the hours on my knees. I don’t regret the hours I spent, in the Word, seeking to help these folks. I don’t regret the miles I went. Because although they ended up rejecting me, God’s Word, God’s Truth, God’s Love was sown into their lives and my reward is in Heaven.

    I make it sound easy and painless. Oh, it’s not. It’s really, really not. But what’s the alternative? As a Christ-follower, there is none.
    Sarah Salter recently posted..OneMy Profile

    • Totally. Everything we “lose” he brings life and peace and joy to fill it up. We pour out, but then He draws us in deeper. We can’t neglect that call to deeper or we’ll dry up, but living our lives all used up and dry is certainly not His heart for us! Thanks Sarah.

  5. I’ve had my share of heartache in relationships and can obviously relate to you here and now. When you invest something of your self, there is always that possibility that the thing invested will be tossed aside and trampled and be treated every other poor way imaginable.

    My heart doesn’t break because only because of what someone else possibly did to me, it breaks because of what they are doing to themselves; and for what, the unfortunate idea of the grass is greener in another pasture.

    God can do miraculous things and we can stand and believe and fight for those things; but as you said, everyone has to allow it to happen. Life is full of those moments where we can choose to be selfish or selfless, and the unfortunate thing is our nature is geared for selfishness. It is the nature of His love that He brings to us that brings the selfless.

    I’m ramlbing, but still have so much more to say. Thanks for writing these things out.

    • Not giving up, but I also know I can’t force anyone or be “burdened enough” or “sad enough” to see a change. I just think that’s the hardest part--feeling His heart and pain while also looking forward to the next opportunity for breakthrough. It can be subtle so we can miss it, and I don’t want that! Gotta stay close to Him. Thanks so much, Philip.

  6. The toughest part is for me is that a good part of the time when we reach out to help we get hurt. Since we’re all human and have flaws, it’s a natural part of the process. I’m going through this very process now. At some point the giving is just about them taking, when we don’t have anymore of what they think they deserve, they turn like scorpion on the back of the frog…

    All I can do now is pray for them… which is more than anything else I can give.
    floyd recently posted..LOOKING AHEADMy Profile

    • And that is definitely a key, Floyd. We don’t live as doormats (Jesus certainly didn’t), but we use the opportunities to love and give as God grants them and we pray. That’s all we can do. Too many get caught up in trying to do the saving and it never works on our end. Thanks so much.

  7. I have definitely struggled with the pain of reaching out. I can relate to what floyd said.
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Do you live your life with intentionality?My Profile

    • Definitely. Thanks so much, Kevin.

  8. I so wish we could gain the perspective of life lived, when we are younger. Relationships can be hard work at times, and not for the faint of heart. It’s hard to become more concerned about the needs of others than our own, but that is exactly what is required to make a relationship work. It’s sad to see people who were great friends or in love become dissolutioned and separate.
    Mike recently posted..Comment on About Me by Mike ShantaMy Profile

    • It is absolutely heartbreaking and totally unnecessary. It may be a hard perspective, but it is certainly His Kingdom perspective. I hope I’m living and growing in it all the time. Thank you, Mike.

  9. When they said “relationships/marriage requires work” they sure weren’t kidding. I had a lady tell me once “You can’t expect a relationship to be a happy, healthy one if you aren’t happy yourself.” That’s so true. Reaching out hurts, Jesus showed us that, but the end reward when someone reaches back is worth it all.
    Ed recently posted..Stuck!My Profile

    • Amen, Ed. That is a powerful truth! Thank you.