God Sees and Hears the Pain We Hide From Others

“We know nothing of the trials, sorrows and temptations of those around us,
of pillows wet with sobs, of the life-tragedy that may be hidden behind a smile,
of the secret cares, struggles, and worries that shorten life
and leave their mark in hair prematurely whitened,
and a character changed and almost recreated in a few days.
Let us not dare to add to the burden of another the pain of our judgment.”
~ William George Jordan

Do you ever wonder what the story behind a person’s outward appearance is? Some paste on smiles, myself included, to hide heartaches. Some display a tough attitude to hide the crumbling inside of them that they can’t seem to stop. Even sad faces don’t really tell us the depth of the pain they are suffering.

Last summer my husband and I walked on the bike trail beside the river above the Sioux Falls.

Doesn’t this duckling look perfectly content? Like he is happily taking a rest on this branch? Like he doesn’t have a care in the world?

It is said that “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Yes, a picture can say more than a lot of words can in some instances, but often it doesn’t tell the hidden painful story behind the scenes.

As we leaned on a stone wall, I zoomed him in, so he looks closer than he really is. He is actually unreachable in an overflow of the river. What you don’t see in this photo is what we heard. He had peeped so long and so hard that his little voice was hoarse. He was stranded, abandoned, and alone.

Farther below us and downstream was a gathering of ducks. Didn’t anyone hear him? Where was his mother?

Then I saw her and his siblings downstream on the shore. She was too far away to hear and she didn’t even seem to notice one of her ducklings was missing. Between him and them was a rushing stream.

Outward appearances can be deceiving, can’t they? A person can appear to look happy or put on such a strong front, but inside there is so much hidden pain.

Are you one of these broken ones hiding behind a smile or a tough attitude?

God sees and hears our broken hearts. Not one tear is hidden from Him. He knows how hard it is for us, and He understands us when no one else does.

I wish I could tell you the duckling’s story ended happily. My heart ached so for him. I wish my arms would have been long enough to reach him and help him. I often wonder what happened to the little fella. 😦

What I can tell you with assurance is that there is One whose arms are always long enough to reach us. He has the willingness and the power to rescue us, however impossible it seems from our side.

Our stories may be heartbreaking, but He will give us a happy ending someday. We may have to wait a while, and that certainly isn’t easy, but His story of love for us will always give us sufficient grace until that time comes.

“Then call on Me when you are in trouble,
and I will rescue you,
and you will give Me glory.”
He replied,
β€œWhat is impossible for people is possible with God.”
Luke 18:27
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever.”
Revelations 21:4
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing
compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.”
Romans 8:18

“God Loves You”
by Jaci Velasquez

34 thoughts on “God Sees and Hears the Pain We Hide From Others

  1. Oh, that poor little duckling . . . My heart breaks for him, too, Trudy. I do hope all turned out well in the end for him.
    And like you, I’m so glad God’s arms are always long enough to surround us with His love and comfort. Blessings, my friend!

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    1. I hope, too, that all turned out well for him, Martha. Yes, it’s such a comfort that God’s arms are always long enough, as you write, “to surround us with His love and comfort.” We couldn’t survive without His arms, could we? Blessings to you, too! May we learn more and more to let go and fall into those loving arms!

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  2. Your words are so sweet and encouraging. The pictures of the ducklings weave so beautifully with your words. I have had any years where my smile did not tell the whole story. There was so much hidden behind it. But God is teaching me the gift of sharing more vulnerably and what acceptance looks like on the other side.

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    1. I’m sorry for all the pain you’ve had to endure in your life, Mary. It’s so easy for us to hide behind a smile, isn’t it? I’m grateful God is teaching you the gift of sharing more vulnerably. I love reading here and in your posts of what God is teaching you. May we ever more deeply see ourselves in His eyes of unconditional love and acceptance!

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  3. You are so right in how a smile can hide a broken heart! Your words encourage me to keep moving forwards… THANK YOU!

    I reached out to an estranged family member recently. I was met by so much anger/hatred in return. Stunned, I gave this problem to God to watch over this family member. I keep telling myself, I can’t change other people… I can only go forwards and be the person I want to be. My heart breaks in “losing” this person yet I will never talk bad about this person to others. Instead, I just keep smiling hiding my broken heart ❀

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    1. I’m so sorry about the estrangement of your family member, Jennifer. That can hurt so much, especially when our reaching out is returned with anger/hatred. Thank you for sharing. It’s a comfort to know that God even gathers the tears hidden behind our smiles into His bottle. And there is hope in knowing that there is no one who is unreachable for Him! May we keep handing over the unreachable ones from our side into God’s arms of love and grace!

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      1. Yes, Trudy, that is EXACTLY my “plan”… may God watch over her and keep her safe. I thought long and hard exactly HOW to respond to this person who has hurt me so deeply. Finally, I wrote three simple words: “I love you”. I’ve done my part, to the best of my ability. I pray she learns to manage her rage and while her anger is directed at me currently, maybe I’m the safest person to project that anger? Through His will, maybe some day I will have my daughter back again? For now, I hide my broken heart behind a smile.

        BTW, it has taken a long time to be able to even talk about this but when this started, I was sent those donkeys; an odd occurance since they were originally across the country. It has been through Jack and His grace that I can even smile. He definitely works through mysterious ways!

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        1. I’m so sorry, Jennifer. I do think maybe you are a safe person to vent her anger on, because she knows you aren’t going to love her less. Is she open to therapy? My heart hurts for you, but also for her. It warms my heart to think of God’s timing in sending you those donkeys. Looking at Jack’s progress can give you hope that someday God will show His power in your daughter and your relationship with her, too. I pray God will heal all the brokenness in your heart, your daughter’s, and in your relationship! Hugs!

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          1. THANK YOU, Trudy! So many events have occurred these last few years that are, beyond a doubt, the result of His grace! And through my faith, I smile. I have no idea what His plan may be but I trust I am where I am supposed to be.

            Thank YOU for coming into my life to remind me of my faith! Again, a sign to me that things will be okay. So many things have happened to comfort me, at very odd times, that renew my beliefs. The donkeys… so many think I’ve done so much for them. In truth, they (Jack) have done much more for me! Again, for a reason and when I needed it most! ❀

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            1. Thank you, too, Jennifer. I am blessed that God sent you into my life. We truly have a kinship when it comes to animals. πŸ™‚ Yes, they often do more for us than we for them. πŸ™‚ As I look back, too, God has sent so much grace. He never tires of giving His love and grace to us! So amazing!

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              1. He gave me YOU! Although I don’t get on WP as often as I might like, I look forward to your every post in my inbox! Each and every one of your post inspires me and my beliefs! I hope you have a blessed day today, Trudy! ❀

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    1. I’m so glad you were comforted, Lois. I was glad I came across that song as I hadn’t heard it before either. Hugs to you, too! May we cling to the truth that God empathizes with our pain and His hand will lead us through every trial!

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  4. I was hoping to read that the duckling was reunited with it’s family! Impossible has been on my mind a lot lately. So this line, “He has the willingness and the power to rescue us, however impossible it seems from our side” so resonates with me. He makes all things possible when it lines up to how He has designed us in His image. Thank you for taking me along your walk in Sioux Falls too. I’ll be in the Southern US on next week and looking forward to being outside in the fresh air, the green and the warmth your photos portray!

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    1. Me, too, Lynn! I really wish I could have helped the little guy, and I still wonder about him. Those impossibilities surely can be daunting, can’t they? I’m so grateful God is so willing and powerful to rescue us. I love what you say about how He makes things possible “when it lines up to how He has designed us in His image.” Enjoy the South’s warmth and green! I sure hope it will come here soon, too! May we learn more and more to let go of our plans and rest in God’s all-wise plan for us!

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  5. Dear Trudy
    Your photos and story of the duckling remind me of Jesus’ words about not even a sparrow can fall without our Father seeing and knowing. And then He spoke of how much more valuable are we! Thank you for these sweet words today. They were just what I needed for this week. God truly sees and carries us! Love, Blessings, and Hugs to you my friend! xoxo

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    1. Oh, I love Jesus’ promise using a sparrow, Bettie. That’s why birds send so much hope to my heart. This reminds me of the whale of a winter storm that hit us on Saturday. 13+ inches! The next day my heart drooped as I eyed all the banks of snow again. Oh, when will spring ever come? Then a house finch perched on the dwarf evergreen and God breathed hope into my heart again. πŸ™‚ Yes, God truly sees and carries us! Blessings and hugs to you, too! When our hearts grow weary, may hope in Jesus keep reviving us!

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      1. Thank you so much Trudy! The same thing happened here after the snowstorm! Beautiful new birds: Wood Thrushes came to sing on the snow branches! God is so good to revive that hope in our hearts, isn’t He? Thank you for sharing such a beautiful love of God’s nature with us! xoxo

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  6. This is a beautiful post, Trudy! The story of the duckling is so sad but it sums up so well the truth that often the picture we see doesn’t tell the full story. It is definitely easy to hide behind a smile at times, but it is so comforting to know that God sees and knows the full story, even when others don’t.

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    1. Thank you, Lesley. Yes, it brings such comfort to know that God sees and knows the full story, even when others don’t. And sometimes even if they do know, not all of them always understand, do they? But God does! May we always remember how infinitely He loves us and how deeply He empathizes with our pain!

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  7. That poor little duckling. Your story makes me want to rush in and swoop it up. Thinking about this duckling losing his voice from all the crying out reminds me what it feels like when we can’t let out the heavy ache inside our hearts. I’m so glad that God sees even that uncried ache and in His compassion stoops down to release our voice and tears and teach us how to feel again.

    Thank you for this beautiful story and your encouragement that God always sees and offers us such incredible hope. It reminds me that while not everyone understands what we have walked through and the huge transformation our hearts are going through, God always has and always will.

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    1. I’m glad, too, Anna. It’s such a blessing that God sees our uncried aches and so graciously swoops down to release our voice and tears. I’m grateful God is releasing you from that numb feeling. I still get it once in a while with memory triggers. That coping mode of not feeling kicks in. But I’m grateful it doesn’t happen as often. Yes, God always has and always will understand us! May He heal us ever more deeply to fly free to, in, and for Jesus!

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  8. Trudy, thank you for this beautiful reminder of how lovingly God looks after us and notices the pain we try to hide from others. I actually love how tears spring freeely from your eyes, because they are indicative of your kind, tender and compassionate heart. In trying to cope over the years, I seem to have swallowed mine so far down they are rarely retrievable. My emotions get stirred but I hardly ever cry. And I used to think if I began to cry I wouldn’t know how to stop, so great was the unreleased flood in my heart. Life’s sadness and pain has to be borne somehow, and we definitely do need to remember God is not only willing to take our cares upon Himself but can carry the burden far better than we can. A reassuring thought! Blessings, love and hugs. xo ❀

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    1. Oh Joy, if your tears don’t come into your eyes doesn’t mean you are less compassionate or kind. I know personally how compassionate you are. I can’t always cry either. But tears aren’t only on the outside. God knows all of the ones we carry in the deep pain of our souls. Yes, it truly is a reassuring thought that God is not only willing to take our cares upon Himself but can carry our burdens far better than we can. Blessings, love, and hugs to you, too! May we more and more let go and let God hold us!

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  9. Oh Trudy, what a profound post. Your story about the duckling illustrates the point so well. We truly don’t know what’s going on in others’ lives. God has convicted me time and again about not assuming I know the whole story just because of how another appears or what they say. I’m learning to pray before, and after, interactions with people, especially when they are prickly.

    I’m so thankful God’s arms are always long enough to reach me, no matter what branch I end up on in my journey. His love for His children is pretty amazing, isn’t it?

    Loved your post today, my friend!

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    1. I’m learning with you, Jeanne. I’m still a work in progress, both in not assuming I know the whole story and in not taking it personally. It’s hard, isn’t it? Thank you for your thoughts. Yes, God’s love is pretty amazing! πŸ™‚ May we take comfort in the truth that God’s arms are always long enough to reach us, no matter what!

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  10. It is so encouraging to know that God always hears us no matter how hoarse our voices may become. We can hope that the waters eventually took this little guy downstream. And that although he might have arrived a bit battered, he was united with his family once again. Blessings on your weekend, sweet friend!

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    1. I hope somehow he made it to his family, June. I love that God hears us no matter how hoarse our voices become. It’s a comfort that He can read our hearts without us even forming words. He knows us so much better than we do, doesn’t He? Blessings on your weekend, too! May we cling to our God who loves us more than we can even imagine!

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  11. Oh, Trudy… I don’t know how I missed this extraordinarily beautiful post! I’m so glad that our heavenly Father always hears our cries, and that He never forsakes us! What a heartbreaking story of the duckling… yet, such truth and comfort you draw for us in your description of our Father’s love! Thank you; thank you! God bless you greatly, my beautiful friend! Love and huge hugs!

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    1. I’m so glad this comforted you, Lynn. I felt so bad for the duckling, and I still wonder about him. I, too, am so glad our heavenly Father always hears our cries and never forsakes us! God bless you, too! Love and huge hugs back to you! May our hearts bask in the incredible love of our Father who never abandons us and gets us through this journey, no matter how rough it may be!

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