It’s good to share your troubles with others. But don’t forget to connect your pain to Jesus. Here’s what I mean:
I would not want anyone in our church to be fearful to talk about sad or painful things they are going through. Sometimes we hesitate to share our burdens because others can be quick to judge or give advice or tell us we should have more faith. Or we don’t talk about our suffering because we don’t want to burden others or sound like we’re complaining. So when someone sincerely inquires, we should tell them honestly what we’re going through.
Usually when people say, “Hi, how are you?” they’re not usually looking for us to give them an in-depth report. It’s just a greeting and all they are looking for is for us to reply “Fine, how are you doing?”. But when someone seriously inquires we should tell them. Be honest. If you’re in a lot of pain tell them. If you’re being tempted to fear tell them. Hopefully they will have compassion and genuinely want to bear your burden with you.
But when you talk about your struggles, from time to time connect them to Jesus. In other words bring Jesus into the picture. Try to express some kind of faith or trust in Jesus.
For example you might say, “Thanks for asking. I’ve really been hurting ever since the accident. The pain in my neck has been excruciating and nothing seems to help. But I just keep praying and I believe Jesus is for me and working all this for my good.”
Or, “Our son is really doing poorly. He doesn’t appear to be saved. He’s gotten into drugs and I am really sad and I’m really concerned about him. But I know Jesus loves him even more than I do and I’m just continuing to pray that the Lord will save him.”
I’m not advocating putting on a fake smile and giving a robotic Pollyanna I feel good-I feel great-I feel wonderful kind of happy Christian response that doesn’t admit to suffering. Neither am I saying we should mention the Lord every single time someone asks us how we’re doing. But I think it’s good to make connections to Jesus and express our faith. Especially so in our private times with the Lord.
Years ago I spent a lot of time counseling an individual who had no problem pouring out complaints and talking about how miserable their life was. And I was sympathetic to this person’s afflictions as were many others. The only problem was this individual never seemed to connect their pain or struggles to Jesus. They never mentioned anything about believing that God is good or faithful or that he would use their suffering for his glory. They just constantly complained about their misery and how hard their life was.
Don’t fall off the horse on either side. Don’t try to bear your pain all alone. Share your pain. Especially when someone sincerely inquires. But connect your pain to Jesus from time to time. Join your faith in Jesus to your honest report of your suffering. Express both your pain and your trust in Jesus.