The views expressed below are those of the writer and may not reflect the views of Rejoice Marriage Ministries or the Steinkamps.
I recently was watching the third part of the Hobbit trilogy. In one of the closing scenes after all the fighting between good and evil had ceased, we see the lady warrior elf bending over the body of a male dwarf that had been killed. Earlier in the trilogy, this elf and the dwarf fell in love, a no-no in their culture to have a love relationship outside one’s own race.
At that time, they decided they would look at their situation at a later day when the fighting was over. As the lady warrior elf cries over the body of her deceased love, she looks up at the king of the elves and asks: “Why does this hurt so much?” He answered…”Because it was real.” She was experiencing a deep emotional loss (pain) of a cherished romantic relationship. This feeling is known to us as grief and but was foreign to her.
As I heard her say this, I thought back to the days when my wife asked me to leave. In the hours, days, and eventually weeks and months until she got the divorce she desired, I likewise asked myself, “Why does this hurt so much?” Thinking back, my wife and I had many issues, deep unresolved issues. Yet, I loved my wife then and still do even today (a number of years later).
Reviewing my own hurt, it reflected the loss of a trust, the loss of companionship, the loss of enjoying together the world that God had created, and the loss of my best friend. Deeper down, there was the hurt of abandonment by my wife and the loss of her respect. Yes, when many marriages (and other relationships) break up, there is much emotional hurting as one tries to sort through the emotional baggage that collects in a marriage and is a primary reason of many breakups. Yes, it indeed does hurt!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13
In this passage, the Apostle Paul lists the various aspects of human love. Failure on any one of these items by either spouse creates in us a sense of great loss, a great hurt. Think about your own “heart.” If someone were to take a large bite out of it, your emotional “heart” would still function but there would be great hurt. That is what happens as our marriage relationships break down. Yet life goes on and an emotional scar is left behind, as our “heart” heals over time. With Christ by our side, that healing will occur more quickly. The remaining scar is a reminder of our path toward healing. Whether our marriages are healed or not, the hurt and the scar left behind point to our growth as a human being. And yes, hurt and suffering occur in God’s people. The following verses point to the various life challenges for those who walk with Christ.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NASB)
“Great blessings belong to those who suffer persecution for doing what is right. God’s kingdom belongs to them. People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do that, know that great blessings belong to you. Be happy about it. Be very glad because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven.” Matthew 5:10-12a (ERV)
In the Hobbit trilogy, there was great suffering. However, in the end the question was: “Why does this hurt so much?” This is a central theme even in our own lives. With faith in Jesus Christ, life goes on. The hurting and suffering that occur along the path are indeed real; they are there to allow each of us to grow. Remember, even Jesus hurt and suffered both emotionally and physically, as He prayed to His Father, just prior to His final journey to the authorities and His crucifixion.
And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:39-46 (NASB)
So why do you hurt so much? Because it is real! You and your beloved have been wounded in the heart. With Jesus Christ walking with you, this hurt, this wound, can heal. Look forward with faith in Jesus Christ and the hope that you and your beloved will have in a new and reconciled Christ centered marriage.
Standing firm on covenant vows exchanged at our wedding, until parted by death.
Ben in Texas