When Those You Love Hurt

Being a parent can be a wonderful thing at times, while at other times, you are exasperated, dumbfounded and shocked at what being a mother entails.  You want to love them, be there for them, and protect them from everything.  Just one problem – you can’t. And that is very hard to bear sometimes.

Have you ever had a child cry, really sob, and you just couldn’t console them because you couldn’t fix the situation?  Maybe it is because someone has been mean to them on the playground, or snubbed them at school, or chose another friend over them.  Or maybe it’s about a boy or girl who didn’t like them, or changed their mind about them, or worse, really likes your child – but you don’t like them!

I realize that some of my past frustrations and depression stemmed from the inability to help those I love.  Whether it be emotionally or physically or spiritually, I felt paralyzed, imprisoned as an onlooker while life, or sickness, or pain, or bad circumstances, or evil itself attacked a loved one.  Yes, it can affect your emotions as you empathize with them, but I think there is a deeper issue at stake. 

We are frustrated because WE CAN’T CONTROL LIFE.  We can’t be everywhere, doing everything, taming bullies, healing chronic pain or broken hearts.  We can’t force loved ones to take care of their bodies, obey doctors orders, or stop their addiction. 

And then fear sets in and you hear the most satanic words on the face of the earth: “What if…?”  These words are the essence of sheer evil because there is no way to really know what the future holds.  Some “what if’s” just might happen, although most of the time they won’t.  “What ifs” are harder to fight because they MAY come true.

Sometimes the “what ifs” are just echoes of your loved ones words and fears.  They say out loud that they are afraid things will get worse, their body will deteriorate, they will experience more pain, they will be unable to move.  Or they are afraid they will always be alone, and so you fear that for them as well. 

Or maybe you fear things for them when they don’t realize the danger they are in.  What if they drive while they are stoned or drunk?  What if they kill themself or someone else?  What if they hide themselves from reality in a dream world forever, and never emerge into productive, mature adulthood?  What if their obesity launches full-blown diabetes and they lose a limb or worse?

The unknowns and variables in life remind us that we are NEVER in control of others or their circumstances.  As much as we may emotionally hurt for them, they MUST go their own route, learn their own lessons, deal with the consequences of their own actions, regardless of the outcome.  It is THEIR life, and we have to let them go and allow them to run their life’s course. 

Yes, intervention is possible and may help in some cases, but most of the time, life simply must go on as it is until they make a decision for themself to do something about their situation.  And we sit by, helpless.  Or are we?

At this point, we have to remember two things:

  1. God is still alive and well, and omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence are still His qualities.  Things may not go as we would like, but God has the ability to take all circumstances and use them for someone’s good and God’s glory.
  2. We can pray, and ask Him to sovereignly move in the situation, but we must submit ourselves to His will in the matter.

I think some of our stress supposedly caused by others’ problems is really caused by our false sense of control in the world, thinking we can do something about it.   We imagine doing something about the situation – but we won’t.  We can’t – it’s not in our jurisdiction to interfere most of the time.

It is also caused by our lack of trust in God to have His way in the situation.  Yes, sometimes people choose death in one form or another, but we cannot stop that from happening.  In those cases, we have to trust that God will use that death to save someone else, so everything is not wasted.

Proverbs 3:5,6 says:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight.

Trust HIM with ALL of your heart, not just a part of it, and don’t trust what you see, hear, think or imagine.  Submit your life, and your desire to control the lives of others, to Him, and He will tell you what you can do, if anything, about the situation.

When a child learns to walk, you hate to see them fall down, but that’s a part of the learning.  People learn best the lessons they received from personal failure.   God is trying to turn each and every person in our life (including us) into the image of Christ, and that is why the bible says:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  Romans 8:28-30

If we allow God to have His way, He will use everything that happens to conform everyone (who is willing to be changed) into the image of Jesus.  Let go of those He has predestined to be called, justified and glorified.  Don’t get in the way of God working good in even the worst of situations.

 Penny Haynes