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,
“What 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

No Greater Love

love

Copyrighted artwork by Grace Lee for school and personal use only

 

Today many are celebrating love, so I want to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting and taking time to read these posts and for all the love you have shown towards me. You have often been Jesus with skin on towards me. I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart.

Whether you comment, remain a silent reader, or email me privately, that’s ok. Whatever feels more safe and comfortable for you. I pray for anyone who visits. I take comfort in the truth that God always knows who you are, where you are, and what situation you’re in. He knows. He cares. He loves.

god-is-love

God is love.
There is NO GREATER LOVE!
Jesus showed boundless love in His life and in His death:

He broke the culture’s views about children not being of value by inviting and welcoming them into His arms. Even His own followers thought He had no time for children, but He showed children are valuable and deserving of our time, love, and care.

"But Jesus said,'Let the children come to Me.
  Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven
  belongs to those who are like these children.'"
  Matthew 19:14 NLT

He counts it an honor to side with the weak and helpless. He remembered an abandoned and forgotten man who had no one to help him into the waters of healing, and He healed him.

"There was a certain man there
 who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
 When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless],
 knowing that he had been in that condition a long time,
 He said to him, 'Do you want to get well?'
 The invalid answered, 'Sir, I have no one
 to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up,
 and while I am coming [to get into it myself],
 someone else steps down ahead of me.'
 Jesus said to him, 'Get up; pick up your pallet and walk.'"
 John 5:5-8 AMP

He cares about those who are despised and ostracized by society. He spent time with and refreshed with living waters a woman who was despised by Jews because she was a Samaritan and ostracized by others because of how she lived.

"The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse
  to have anything to do with Samaritans.
  She said to Jesus, 'You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman.
  Why are You asking me for a drink?'
  Jesus replied, 'If you only knew the gift God has for you
  and who you are speaking to, you would ask Me,
  and I would give you living water.'"
  John 4:9-10 NLT

He weeps with those who hurt over the loss of a loved one.

"When Jesus saw her weeping,
  and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping,
  He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
  'Where have you laid him?' He asked.
  'Come and see, Lord,' they replied.
  Jesus wept."
  John 11:33-35

He treats all people with love. He doesn’t distinguish between differences.

"There is neither Jew nor Gentile,
 neither slave nor free,
 nor is there male and female,
 for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
 Galatians 3:28 NIV

He even loves and longs to gather those who reject Him.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills
  the prophets and stones God’s messengers!
  How often I have wanted to gather your children together
  as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings,
  but you wouldn’t let me."
  Luke 13:34 NLT

There are umpteen more examples for us in the Bible of how Jesus showed love in His life. But the greatest act of love He gifted us with is the giving up of His own life. He took upon Himself the heavy load of all our sins and suffered and died in our place. Incomprehensible!

"No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment]
 than to lay down his own life for his friends."
 John 15:13 AMP

"For God so [greatly] loved
 and dearly prized the world,
 that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son,
 so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior]
 shall not perish, but have eternal life."
 John 3:16 AMP

Be-Held-by-Holley-Gerth

“No Greater Love”
by Matt Maher

cutecolorsanibear14Signature

Seeking Approval from People Will Never Make Us Happy

whalefishchange

“Are you happy?”

A man who was following his heart asked this of a woman who was success-driven in her career. A woman who was always striving for perfectionistic performance to please her mother, never stopping to think what will make HER happy. (Movie: Stranded in Paradise)

Striving to please. Sound familiar? Do you long for success? Do you think it will make you feel happier or more approved by the people around you?

I sometimes slip into questioning the impact I make as a writer. I start thinking of numbers. Number of followers, likes, or comments. I start needing validation again or approval. I start thinking I’m not a success as a writer if I don’t write a book.

Unmet expectations, some I heap on myself and some pressures from society, make me feel I’m a failure in making a difference in this world. I think I should be making a bigger splash, like some book writers do. I start feeling pressured to write a book. But then I have to ask myself… Is this a guilt thing or a God direction? Am I just afraid writing at my blog does not make enough of a difference? Am I just seeking for approval and validation from people?

In The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, Jeff Gerke shares how his “lifelong addiction to the approval and validation of others was nothing but false thinking.” Jesus freed him to “begin writing – and living – simply for Him.”

I sometimes lose sight of that. Sometimes I think I have recovered from approval addiction, but then it floods in and consumes my thoughts again. Even though I am happy when I write, a discontent stirs in me that I’m not enough of a writer if I don’t write a book. Or my inner critic starts beating me up and telling me I’m not doing enough. I’m not making a big enough splash. But what I should be focusing on is writing and living simply for Jesus.

“Success” is never going to make us happy. And if we want to make a bigger splash in making a difference in this world just for the sake of more pats on the back, we are serving from the wrong motive. What matters is living simply for Jesus in whatever we do.

Seeking approval from people will never make us happy. Their accolades will never be enough to fill us up. What matters is our approval from God, and we have more than enough of that. He not only approves and qualifies us. He even favors us and delights in us. What more do we need?

We don’t have to even be concerned with whether we make a ripple or a splash. Happiness is to follow Jesus no matter what and to ask His Spirit of power to fill us to overflowing with His love, approval, and acceptance. Then automatically, that love will brim over into other people’s lives, and the need for success, performance, and approval from people will be forgotten.

Jesus first, no matter what we do, and we will be happy. No, it won’t always be a rose-petaled road here on earth. There are going to be bumps, potholes, and deep valleys of darkness and pain, but He’ll get us through it, and in the end it will be out-of-this-world, eternal bliss.

“Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God?
Do I seek to please men?
If I were still seeking popularity with men,
I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah).”
Galations 1:10 AMP

Praying we will remember Jesus loves us,
has pre-approved us, and accepts us no matter what!
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