To suffer and to feel the weight of pain in your heart, leaking into your stomach are not shards of glass anyone wants to feel cutting into their happy comfortable lives. We fear pain and we fear the thought of suffering. We try to avoid being hurt because, duh, it hurts. But no matter how much we strive to avoid the sharp edges that cut and no matter how well we think we are doing, we know it’s only a matter of time. We all suffer and we all go through painful trials. We’ve been hurt by those we’ve loved. Hurt by cutting words and sharp glares. We’ve been betrayed by people we thought were our closest friends. We’ve had our trust and faith disappointed. Sometimes circumstances in life have gone terribly wrong and have ravaged our hearts to bits. Sometimes I think that heart pain is worse than physical pain. Heart pain takes so much longer to heal and it seems like the smallest sharp touch can rip a heart back to pieces.
Whenever suffering hits, no matter it’s form, I think we all ask the same question, Why? Why do we have to hurt? God, why are you allowing this hurt? Sometimes I think we try to avoid the hurt so we can avoid trying to answer those hard faith questions. We try to pretend nothing happened or we try to hurry up the grieving or suffering process to feel content again. I don’t think that any of us really think brokenness can lead to abundance. If we do, we think it is possible for someone else but not for us. And if it is even remotely possible for us it must be a long way off like when we are on our deathbeds or something but not now. Not for us.
Ann Voskamp’s book “The Broken Way” faces suffering head on. In this book she talks about suffering and hurting and the walls we build up to protect our hearts from further pain. But more importantly she goes on a journey through suffering to realize herself, along with the reader, that brokenness is not bad and that just like a tiny seed must be buried in the dirt and go through a breaking death in order to sprout and produce life, maybe we too must go through the breaking. She talks about suffering as a way for us to find ultimate communion with each other. When Jesus took the bread as a symbol of his body, He broke it and gave it to the disciples to remember Him. His breaking body brought communion to us and Him and to each other. She questions that maybe we need to break in order to be re-membered. That maybe our suffering heart pressed into another suffering heart is how we find healing. Ann adds that to love means to suffer. But that love is a protective roof that accepts and hides away the wrongs and is free of judgments.
There is so much knowledge packed into this book and so many hidden treasures. I found while reading this book that I began to feel more closely connected to God and He to my suffering and me to those around me suffering. This book opened my heart to the power of loving even while broken and loving those who are broken. I felt myself becoming more free even through suffering. Yes, people can hurt me and abuse me. But they cannot stop me from loving. Suffering can hurt but the hurt does not have to have power over me. I can accept the suffering and decide to love and be all that a hurting heart needs. I found such wonderful light and grace streaming into my soul through this book. It is scary to think that yes, we must suffer, but there is a freedom hidden there.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone struggling with the thought of what to do with suffering and how to grow as a person who has suffered. It is not a dreary, sad poor miserable me book to read. But an honest, soul searching and light enveloping book that introduces you to a way to have a more abundant life through Jesus and a closer heart to His. Ann uses poetic language that at times can be difficult to follow but once you get going you get used to her wording. She uses every day scenes and occurrences and shows you how to see God’s beauty beneath it all. At times I felt like I was secretly listening to a conversation God’s heart was having with hers. Like I was invited to have the honor of being inside a heart conversation. Overall, I think you find your heart being warmed and growing closer to His without even trying. If you’re searching for freedom take a walk through these pages and let Jesus’s spirit light up yours.