And here tonight while the stars are blacking out
With every hope and dream I’ve ever had in doubt
I’ve spent ten years trying to sing these doubts away
But the water keeps on falling from my eyes
And heaven knows… heaven knows
I tried to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord, to suffer like you do…
It would be a lie to run away
~ Jon Foreman, The Cure for the Pain
On an October gray Sunday – the first of the month – in a city where I’ve lived out most of my growing up and becoming and changing days, the words sink in. The theater style wooden auditorium seats, the dim lighting – alternating with bright flashes of sun and autumn-thick curtains of cloud – the weight of this week all colliding. In this moment, the honest guitar melodies by an all time favorite songwriter, none other than Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, echo and resonate within my tired soul.
It’s been one of those weeks. The kind where you reach Sunday morning and when people ask how you are, your heart sinks and your eyes start to well up. The kind where you have viewed the brokenness in the world globally, in the headlines, in the class lectures, in the community around you, and within yourself most deeply of all. And the aftermath of it all leaves you dazed, wrecked, and aching for the day when everything sad comes untrue (as Samwise so perfectly puts it in Lord of the Rings).
But then line by line, it hits me. You can’t just bury away and hide from this pain, the ache of feeling graceless, of realizing that no matter how hard you try, efforts still fall short, that life will never be perfect. You can’t avoid the mess in the world, in your room, in your own heart, forever. No digital escape lasts, the screen eventually blurs reality, the episode fades away, the perfectly arranged snapshots, the artfully worded statuses, the excitement of receiving views, hearts, support. Ultimately this distraction will leave you hollow. Your dreams will collapse, long hoped for projects will not sparkle forever.
But this later quote by the same author who wrote those first words holds true:
THIS is where everything starts to come together. We live in this tension, in this intense wishing for the cure. Because we’ve tried everything our hands can latch on to, everything our hearts can hold, everything our eyes lock focus on to. But there is nothing in this world, nothing that we have known in that way that will slow down time, repair the damage, bring lasting hope.
As tears run down my eyes and the service continues, as more songs of truth and the glorious Gospel wreck my heart, I discover that this is the perspective I’ve been searching for. A reminder that my soul belongs to the One who will set all things right, who will one day make everything sad come untrue.
Jesus is the cure for the pain.
And though this season of life may be crazy and wild, though my eyes get exhausted, distracted, bewildered, may I relentlessly fix them on Him. On the One paints for us beauty every single day. In every sunrise, sunset, in the smile and few kind words of a friend, in the few lines of a song in the midst of a full schedule. The One who is reworking all things and making them new. Who is making this heart new.
Maybe I’m not the only one who needs this reminder.
Friends, as you go about this week, may you discover that He alone is the cure for the pain. Christ alone is our strength in these days filled with brokenness. Don’t live in surrender to the darkness, but push towards Him.
Know that it’s normal for this life to feel overwhelming and suffocating. It’s okay to wrestle with that and to struggle against it.
But know that there is also hope.
May your heavy souls find light in Him, may you dance through the tension and the brokenness. May you not run from the pain, but face it, and may He be your remedy.