When someone you love dies, it feels like the world keeps running right by you. In the beginning, friends and family will say they are sorry for your loss or some other words that they try to comfort you with. Others will not know what to say and not say anything.
Everyone tries to help in their own way. But in reality, nothing they say can help, nothing can take the pain away. There is a feeling of wanting to cry out, “How dare you keep going as if nothing is different!”
Everything is different. The world is a darker place because they are gone. Sometimes, there is a feeling of people just wanting you to “get over it” and move on.
What if we cannot “get over it” and go back to work or doing whatever it is we typically do? Our entire life is different, and it feels like nobody notices, nobody slows down to acknowledge that an incredible life is now gone, and their laughter is no more.
There are feelings of wanting to shout into the air as people hustle and bustle by you, “Do you care?”
How dare others move forward as if nothing is different. Maybe nothing is different to them. Maybe you are alone in the hurt and not sure where to go or who will even listen. The pain is real, the desire for the world to just stop spinning and take notice of the loss is real.
I have learned that the world will not stop spinning, people will not stop hustling and bustling, work will not stop piling up. None of these things will occur. It is during these times that we must find a safe space, wherever that is to you, and we must pour our heart out to the only One who knows exactly how we feel. The only One who loved that person more than we did: Jesus.
We must allow Him to comfort us; we must. There is no other answer, there is no other path. I am not saying we will heal after ten minutes of prayer. Not at all. This wound may never heal, but with Jesus, we will learn how to function in our new world. One second at a time, then one minute at a time – Jesus is our Comforter (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
We cannot move forward without Him. This wound is too deep for us to just absorb. Find your private time to talk to Jesus, do it for your loved one that is no longer there to tell you to do it. Cry, yell or sit still with Jesus whenever you need the world to stop spinning. Jesus never tires of hearing from you, and you can have the same conversation with Him 100 times, and He will hold you 100 times and listen to every word you say because He loves the sound of your voice.
When going through very difficult times, believers might ask other believers, “Why does God allow suffering?” This is a valid question. In response, believers might share:
“Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.” Hebrews 2:18 NLT
Believers might then say what we are going through is nothing like what Jesus or Job suffered–my goodness, Job lost his children, wealth, health, friends, and unity with his wife to name a few of his problems.
Both of these responses are Truth, but what about the suffering God endured?
Maybe a different question to ponder to arrive at the answer to our question is, “Why does God allow Himself to suffer?”
God planned to have His Son crushed, and it was called a “good plan”:
“But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief [. . .] and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.”
from Isaiah 53:10 NLT
It sounds like an extremely painful plan full of suffering. How is suffering good? Jesus died so that “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins” (Isaiah 53:11 NLT).
The suffering of Jesus resulted in believers being forgiven–Thank You, Jesus! Even with the knowledge God had of the outcome of His Son’s suffering, I am sure it was painful to tell Jesus, “No” three times when Jesus asked the Father to remove the cup of suffering:
“He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’ Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, ‘Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!’ Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, ‘My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.’ When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again.” Matthew 26:38-44 NLT
As if denying His Son’s request three times was not painful enough, the Father then watched His Son being tortured, beaten, and ultimately murdered. The Father had to turn away from the Son when the sins of the world were placed on Jesus:
“At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?'” Matthew 27:46 NLT
Why does God allow Himself to suffer?
Jesus suffered and died to forgive our sins out of love so that we can live with Him in heaven. God crafted the good plan to crush Jesus out of love for us, His lost sheep, so we can be reunited with God. God denied the prayer requests of Jesus out of love for us. Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done” out of love for the Father.
God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and He loves us, so why does He allow suffering?
The short answer is, He loves us. When we suffer, we draw closer to Him. That is a goal of our time on Earth, to draw closer to God every day. Suffering and trials result in us doing that.
Why do we need suffering to draw closer to Him? Human nature, for “No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God” (Romans 3:11 NLT).
Can you recall a time when there was a desperate need in your life-–illness, job loss, death, etc.? The way you prayed during that time probably looks very different from the way you pray daily.
Drawing closer to God every day is what is best for us. God loves us and wants the best for us.
We lift up all who are suffering. Abandonment. Sickness. Depression. Addiction. Unemployment. Abuse. Grief. And other burdens. May this be the day they draw closer to You. May this be the day they feel immersed in Your love. May this be the day they rise up from the burden and feel Your joy. Your peace. Your love.
2020 was a year of loss and hurt for most people. Between the pandemic, the economy, job loss, illness, and the inability to see loved ones, 2020 was a mess.
As believers, we cling to the fact that God is in control. Everything that enters our lives passes through the fingers of our Lord. So what are we to learn from the pandemic and its impacts?
It seems many people believe when the calendar flips to January 1, 2021, all will return to “normal.” At the risk of seeming negative, I think we must seek a new normal. The current generation of 2, 3, 4, and 5-year-olds have been taught not to touch each other, share toys, or sit with each other. They have been taught hugging is not a good idea, nor is touching others at all.
I am not saying I disagree with what we have to do as we battle a pandemic, but it does indicate possible future tendencies of that generation. This was not just one country of kids taught this, but the global population of kids. What does this mean for these future leaders? This remains to be seen.
We have re-wired ourselves and our children to not touch or hug, except certain people that are “safe.” There are people that have not felt human touch in almost a year. For some, they are grateful to be left alone. For others, it is a struggle. Humans are created for touch. We are created to love each other and comfort each other. There are so many verses that command us to love each other. Here are just a few:
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” John 15:12 NLT
“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” 1 John 4:11 NLT
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” 1 Peter 3:8 NLT
We have a choice, as a nation and as a people. Do we invest our time and energy into arguing about masks, politics, and myriads of other things or do we follow the Bible and love each other?
I do not have to agree with you to love you. Jesus loved everyone, even those who murdered Him. He asked God to forgive them as they drained the blood out of our Lord and Savior.
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’ And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.” Luke 23:34 NLT
That is our bar to strive for – love everyone. He loved those that caused His death and were gambling for His material possessions as He prayed for them to be forgiven.
Snow and I talked about grudges recently during a devotional. There have been many people who have inflicted or spoken hurt into our lives. We are faced with a choice, just like all believers, hold a grudge or love.
The way that God has taught me to release grudges, hurt, anger, or resentment is to pray for that person. Pray for the person to be forgiven and blessed. Regardless of your political affiliation or how you feel about wearing masks, pray. We need to pray for each other and we need to tell people we are praying for them. Pray for the future generations that are being taught not to touch. Pray for the neighbors and loved ones that are suffering from loss, loneliness, job loss or anxiety. Pray for them by name and tell them you are praying for them.
The great thing about God is that He always knows whom you are talking about. You can pray for the “lady down the street whose name I do not know” and God has her. He knows who she is and what she needs. Drop a note in her mailbox: “I am praying for you.” You do not need to sign it or even interact with her. This is a spiritual touch. We must find new ways to touch people to show love. Prayer is one big way. Telling people we are praying for them is another way to show love.
There have been many analyses over 2020 about what the world needs: Vaccines, herd immunity, economic recovery, and so on. We need prayer. We need to pray and tell people we are praying for them.
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT
The above verse tells us a list of things to do now and in 2021. For those of us who feel hurt, confused, or unsure about what to do – look to this verse and love.
Love however you can, whoever you can, whenever you can.
During this time of limited physical touch, we must find new ways to show love using technology, handwritten notes, or “smiling” with our eyes when our real smiles are hidden behind masks.
Be humble with those around you by showing patience, kindness, and sensitivity. If you have been untouched by the virus, praise God! Please keep in mind that most of the people around you have been touched by it in some way or other.
Instead of losing patience with people, pray for them. It takes literally two seconds to lift someone up: “Lord, I pray that person drives better” or “Lord, I pray that person becomes nicer.” Seek His face on their behalf and pray.
“‘For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,’ says the LORD, who has mercy on you.” Isaiah 54:10 NLT
Wounded Butterflies is focused on how we can navigate the ups and downs of life with a focus on Jesus. Life is tough. Jesus promised us trials (Romans 5:3), but, most importantly, He promised us His peace (Philippians 4:7).
When people share their advice with me, I assess whether they have life experiences and know what they are talking about. I admit, I am impatient with people who have only read about experiences and feel that they are experts.
This site will cover a variety of topics, including how to survive, how to thrive, how to handle God’s resources, and a breadth of spiritual subjects. If you are like me, then, you may want to know what life experiences I have had and whether I am equipped to write about these matters.
I am not a trained writer, nor am I a theological expert. However, I have “street cred,” including being abandoned by my father, growing up dirt poor, being bullied as a child, being sexually assaulted as a teenager, marrying an abusive spouse, being fired, losing people tragically, battling addiction, being betrayed by my spouse, and, unfortunately, much more.
Jesus saved me later in life, and I mention my history not to say, “Look at me! I’ve survived this, that, and the other,” but, rather, as part of my realization that every painful thing I endured is for His glory, to share what He has done to sustain me in the hopes it helps someone else.
Currently, I am a mom of 3 (mostly grown) kids, and I have followed Jesus all over the world for the past 12 years. I am trained professionally in the financial arena, and I will be sharing practical money lessons on how to best steward God’s resources.
I have studied the Bible faithfully every day and have been blessed to teach it for over a decade on several continents. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for my sins and that life is infinitely better with Him than without Him, and I strive to share that fact with anyone who will listen.
Just like all of us, I am a work in progress. Thank God He does not leave us the way He found us (Philippians 1:6). I am living proof that He can use anyone, regardless of their past.
Father in Heaven,
All that we are and all that we have are Yours. We humbly dedicate this space to bringing You glory and pray that at least one person is drawn closer to You because of its existence.