Dare to Look at Pain

By Ron Yager Sr. of Independence, Missouri, USA

Collectively and individually, you are loved with an everlasting love that delights in each faithful step taken. God yearns to draw you close so that wounds may be healed, emptiness filled, and hope strengthened… Come before your Eternal Creator with open minds and hearts and discover the blessings of the gospel anew. Be vulnerable to divine grace.  Doctrine and Covenants 163:10a–b

A few years ago I served as camp pastor at a senior high camp. A need for ministry presented itself. The first-year camper was a high-school senior. She arrived at camp with visible emotional pain. Early in the week she felt the love of Christ coming to her through the love of her companion campers. They were willing to carry her pain.

The change in her expression was visible. Midweek, after mail call, her world came crashing down. She ran off toward the waterfront with her heart being torn to pieces. One could feel the hurt as the camp listened to her deep sobs. I headed to where she sat at the end of the dock.

We sat in silence for a while. When she was ready she told me her mother had filed for a divorce, and her father would not be home when she returned from camp. This young woman loved both her parents and was torn with the news of loss.

As she talked it through, we pulled together some thoughts that might help. When we finished she was ready to face the situation, being strengthened by the newly found love she had in Christ and her camp friends. The blessings of community are often what get us through tough times.

As followers of the Christ we must be ready to answer the call of the brokenhearted, supporting them until all are strong enough to stand on their own.

Prayer for Peace:

Teacher of ministry, help us to see the pain of others. Help us to bring them to a place of peace.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Caring for God’s Sacred Creation

Choose a way to notice, give thanks, and care for God’s sacred creation. Prayerfully consider one of the following suggested practices or create your own. Walk in nature with a spirit of gratitude and “holy attention.” Write a psalm of praise for the Earth or a prayer of healing and blessing for the wounds of the Earth. Learn about and engage in an act of Earth-keeping such as recycling, simple living, fasting from over-consumption of resources.

Notice the unique diversity of the planet’s creatures and be gentle to plants, animals, trees, and people! Fall in love with the vast, intricate creation and give thanks.

Peace Covenant:

Today God, I will not turn away from wounds that I may tend with your help.

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