When Religious Cliches Don’t Help

Kari Jobe Blog

Kari Jobe’s potentially awkward moment turned into a beautiful moment for healing hearts.

When an awkward lull happened at the Designed for Life women’s conference I attended a couple of weeks ago, I immediately knew what was going on.

I’ve not been pregnant yet, but with all of my kidney issues, I can relate to those frequently visiting the bathroom as their baby(ies) press(es) on their bladder.

The host, Pastor Debbie Lindell took the platform for an unplanned speech to help transition the evening service. There was a band already set up on the stage and I knew Kari Jobe was scheduled to sing some during the conference. I also knew she was in later stages of pregnancy and I laughed as I realized that she was probably in the bathroom.

I had just slipped back into my seat from the bathroom right as a video ended and Kari was scheduled to lead worship. Debbie jokingly asked if any women remembered being pregnant and their frequent potty breaks as Kari took the stage. Debbie then explained to Kari in front of about 9,000 women that she’d just told us that she was peeing! Kari confirmed this report into the microphone much to the amusement of all those attending.

When Debbie left the stage Kari shared how she wasn’t just using the bathroom, but she’d been cleaning off her smeared make up as well. She told of how her sister who was pregnant at the same time as her just lost her baby two weeks earlier. She was 7 months along and had a still birth. There was such a sweet presence of God in the auditorium that evening as we worshiped together which was healing her heart. At one point she looked up and a woman with her little baby girl came and sat in front of her and more tears fell.

What began as laughter quickly turned into tears as we all listened to her story through her choked up words and rawness. She went on to say how through this experience she’s realized that religious clichés don’t help-they actually shut someone down. And I lost it. I could relate with her now far more than just our frequenting the bathroom.

She’s right. When you’re in the midst of pain, loss, or suffering you don’t simply need to hear, “God will turn this around for good”, “God will come through!”, or “Just have faith”.

Nothing against anyone who thinks like that or has said those statements to someone as we’ve all been there.
It can be awkward when we are confronted with the pain and suffering of another person.
It often is a strange interaction, so when we as believers don’t know what to say we often say something we think sounds spiritual.
Maybe the thought process is,”if I say a scripture then I’ll be helping”.
Or maybe we’ve never felt the pain or faced the difficult scenario they’re in so we think there’s an easy answer, “just have more faith”.

Yet none of those things help. In all I’ve faced particularly in this season of life, I know that God is good and I know that He is going to work things out in my life for the good…”because I love him and I’m called unto His purpose” (Romans 8:28). It isn’t that I don’t believe in His goodness or that I’m not focused on the truth of God’s word. It’s just that walking through some situations are difficult and they demand more depth than a surface response.
When you’re walking through the questions and suffering the heartache of your circumstances, it isn’t helpful to find yourself shut down by others’ replies or by their silence.

When you feel confused about God or you’re trying to see truth through the sometimes murky and violent water of trials, you don’t want to be simply told that God is good. When faced with that doctor’s report you weren’t prepare to hear, having someone exclusively say, “God’s got this” as you wrestle the fears and make difficult decisions isn’t helpful.
You need to experience His goodness THROUGH others.
You need to experience His love encompassing every area of your life, including your questions and perceived failures.

You need to be ALLOWED to cry and really feel what you’re walking through and invite Jesus into that place of pain.

Sometimes our words can shut down someone’s heart from allowing real healing to take place.

I realize that facts about a doctor’s report or situation are subject to change. I know that we have all power and all authority through Jesus. I’m not denying that focusing on the TRUTH of the word of God isn’t applicable. It ALWAYS is and that’s exactly what needs to be focused on, but not at the cost of invalidating what someone is walking through and not being willing to walk  WITH them through their pain. We must be willing to look to the example of Jesus and how He walks with us in this life.

Jesus came to take on our flesh so that He would relate to our flesh both in victory and in sorrow.

One of the most impactful things that has ministered to my heart happened two years ago during a really challenging time in my life. I had been really sick for almost a year with various tropical illnesses, small seizures, and I was dealing with constant pain from misaligned ribs and hips from a car accident that caused great pain even with walking. Stephen and I decided to get away for a few days and our trip happened to fall around the anniversary of my cousin’s death. My cousin was my best friend and we’d grown up together as she was four months older than me. She battled cancer for 7 & 1/2 years before dying when we were 14 years old. Due to the difficult season I was in and our constant travel schedule, I was really lonely. Some people had said awkward things to me concerning my faith while others just pulled away. Other friends simply weren’t able to encourage me face to face as we were traveling so frequently. This caused me to grieve my cousin’s loss in a new way that year. One morning on our trip, Stephen took me outside and shared how he felt like he had a word to share with me. He sat me down and said that while he was praying that morning that he felt like Jesus said, “Tell Bailey that I know what it’s like to lose my cousin and I’m crying with her”. The words hit me like a load of bricks upon my chest and as I began to cry I felt something break off of my life. I felt the nearness of Jesus more in that moment than I had in any other moment of my life. Not because this was a happy moment that He was meeting me in, but because in my pain and sorrow, He met me and was crying with me. That made me want to pour my heart out in adoration and worship like never before.

I want you to know that no matter what you’re walking through or how lonely that you’ve felt in your heartache, Jesus is with you. He has experienced pain, suffering, sorrow, and sadness. He did this all the while being filled with the Spirit, in complete surrender and obedience to God’s will and fully knowing that His Father was good. Just because He was the Son of God who died for our sins doesn’t mean that he didn’t feel the pain and weight of our sin or the sorrows of this life. He can relate to you and speak to you more than any human ever can.

As religious Christianese circulates around you and questions stir within you, I encourage you to press past those voices and listen for the voice of Jesus. Hear what He is saying and let His love draw near in your time of hurting. Don’t allow your painful circumstances to steal your praise of the One who is worthy and wants to pour out His love. He hurts for you and He hurts with you. Worship Him and let the disappointment, offense, mistakes, and fears fall off. Lean on Jesus and get back up again–you were made to live victorious!

 KJ InstagramWell said Kari–thanks for sharing your heart and bringing others to the place of healing in Jesus.

One thought on “When Religious Cliches Don’t Help

  1. Sarah Bedgood

    Bailey,
    Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head! My heart so agrees with the words you spoke. I feel like I’ve been walking through a season similar to what you’ve described, often feeling lonely and isolated. Not always because there was no one around me, but because there was no one who understood my heart and was willing to just let me pour out my heart. God is the ultimate healer, and I’ve learned to surrender my all to him through my tears. If the joy of the Lord is truly my strength, then I need to know what brings joy to the Lord. I think I’ve discovered that the thing that brings the most joy to the Lord is worshiping Him. Through surrender and worship I am strengthened!

    You write so beautifully and I’m in awe every time I read your blog. Thank you for being transparent and obedient to the call of God on your life. He’s speaking through you in ways you don’t even know!

    Love ya!
    Sarah

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *