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An Open Letter to Those Who Are Hurting

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

A verse for thought: “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:23-24).

Dear Sister,

I wish I could tell you that life is easy—that everything works out just like you want it to. I wish I could tell you that the anxious thoughts running through your head will simply disappear, or that the tears you shed this week will be the last, or that your perfectly detailed plan for your life will come to fruition, or that the grief or pain you feel now will heal without difficulty, or even that the burdens, fears, and worries that are weighing on your heart will subside with the snap of your fingers. If I am being honest, I wish I could tell myself these things, too.

And yet, I know that many of you know the truth all too well. You have endured hardships that I cannot even imagine. I do not pretend to know of your hurt and I do not pretend to have all the answers, but here is what I know: life is messy and, as fallen people, we like to run away from messes. We hide our mistakes, our sins, and our shortfallings. We are afraid of letting others see our true hearts and we are often uncomfortable with vulnerability. But what if I told you that we do not have to be anxious about tomorrow; we do not have to despair in times of trouble; we do not have to hide from our messes? Bad things happen, but that does not mean that God is not still at work.

Indeed, God is working all things together for our good, as Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” When we love God and are called according to His purpose, bad things do not cease to exist, but we can rest in the fact that the bad things we face now are equipping us for something better—if not in this life, then in the eternity to come. It is for this purpose that Paul, in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, encourages us, saying, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

With this in mind, let this be a reminder for you—a reminder to lay down your burdens, to cast your anxieties on the One who cares for you, and to bring your messes out from the darkness. The Lord sees those hard things that you are carrying, whether it is shame, fear, longing, worry, or hurt. He sees you and He is near to you. Scripture assures us of this hope in Jeremiah 23:23-24, where the Lord declares, “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” Let this verse encourage you, for we have hope that our God is near. He is not hidden, but He fills both heaven and earth in His perfect and holy omniscience. Not only this, but our God also loves us. To illustrate this glorious picture, it is important to understand the context about which Jeremiah is writing. The prophet Jeremiah is writing about God’s judgement on several kings of Judah, who are unfaithful and quick to listen to false prophets. He addresses their evil actions and desires of their hearts, and holds them accountable. But let us rejoice that our God is both a just and a merciful God. Even amidst threats of false prophets, poor rulers, and capitivity, God gives his people a promise. He promises to reunite his people, and to gather them out from their exile. Today, this promise is fulfilled, and it will be fulfilled again, with the coming of His Son. This promise that the Lord has graciously given to us is one of redemption and restoration. As you go about your day, remember this promise, and remember that He is not hidden, for He is with you in the bad things.

With love,

Your Friend

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