Maybe it's not even our own pain we're talking about. Tonight, I was in tears thinking of a friend I know is struggling tonight through depression and loneliness. It hurts, and the pain truly is real.
What do we do when life is a battle? What do we do when we feel that we're walking through darkness that refuses to end? What can we do when all we see is an endless fog in front of us?
We cling to Christ. I don't mean we confidently stroll after Him, walking cooly in his footsteps whistling and adjusting our halos. I used the word "cling" for a very specific reason. The connotation of the word isn't confidence and strength; it's fear and absolute abandon.
The dictionary defines it as "to hold tightly", particularly in the context of "to avoid falling, cling to the railing". "Cling" has the idea of desperation, of a last desperate attempt death grip. That is what I mean with this word.
When life is a battle, cling to Christ. Hold Him fast. It doesn't mean you have to understand His every move. It doesn't mean you aren't sometimes angry with Him or absolutely lost in the misery and the agony of where you are. It means we cling to our Father with a hope born of desperation, as if He were our only escape... because He is.
In the darkness, our only hope is in the broken, torn body of a man on a cross. But that broken, torn form of a man is enough. The pierced hand is enough for us to hold to in desperate fear as we stumble, crawl, or drag ourselves through the darkness. The scarred face is enough to illuminate the darkness that we find ourselves in.
Because those scars and those nail holes tell us something. The One we cling to has walked this road. He's stumbled in the dark; He's wept in the darkness. He's cried out in agony and pain on the cross as His own blood and His own tears trickled down to the foot of the cross.
We hear preached too often that God is watching us from heaven, impatient in our suffering and grief, waiting for us to get over it, tapping His foot as we drag ourselves along, anxiously checking His watch as time ticks by. But the Jesus of the Bible is One who walks with us through weakness with understanding, because He has walked this road Himself. His scars, His blood, His hands, and His side bear eloquent testimony to the depth of Jesus' compassion with our weakness and our brokenness.
Cling to Him. Cling to Him with all the desperation of a man hanging by a thread over a great chasm. To let go of Christ is to abandon all hope of life itself. In the broken, torn body of Christ on the cross and in the blood-stained visage of the Son of God, we see reflected the grace of God with us in our weakness, our humanity, and our brokenness. He is with us, He has suffered with us, and He refuses to leave us. We can't push Him away, we can't outsin Him, we can't outrun Him, and we can't hide from Him. He is with us in our storm.
Cling to Christ when the waves get too high and the winds get too fierce. He is our Life, our Hope, our one safe Place. Cling to Him. Because He is worth it.