Thinking About Pain

As mentioned last month, in 2016 each staff member of Outreach is writing about their perspective here at Outreach.  This month Kristin Fuller is brining her perspective and her heart.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about pain.  Not the kind of pain you feel when you stub your toe.  No.  I mean the deep achy pain that seems to press from inside your gut and make your skin feel heavy.  The type of pain that’s dull, numbing, slows you down.

Pain is something you can’t avoid when you work with broken, hurting people.  It’s part of the very fabric of their story.  The biggest gift some of my ‘poor’ friends have offered me along the way is to allow me to enter into their suffering with them.  They’ve invited me into the intimacy and privacy of their pain.  Not to fix it.  Not to swoop in and command healing or relief or supply a perfectly planned exit strategy (Which I am excellent at by the way).

As a staff we’ve begun to reflect on the incarnation of Christ – God with us, among us.  The Message speaks of the incarnation in John 1 as God ‘moving into the neighborhood’.  Maybe he bought a duplex at New York & Rural.  To dwell among the homeless youth who come in and out of our doors every week means sitting in a lot of pain.  Achy, dulling, numbing, slow you down sort of pain.

Jesus promises a coming Kingdom.  He said that His presence on earth marked the beginning of that Kingdom and it will exist without end.  That Kingdom is here to be experienced now.  Remarkable, miraculous healing pours forth from the doors of Outreach every day.  Deep, transformational life-change is celebrated regularly.  Jobs are found.  Addictions cease.  Reconciliation occurs.  Salvation comes.  And yet the Kingdom is already but not yet.  There is still heartache.  There is still pain.

We live in the in between.  And in the in between God calls us to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  To do as He did.  To love and serve and befriend and bring about life change and to sit in the intimacy of other’s pain with them.  For 20 years, countless staff members, volunteers and donors have faithfully done just this.  Together, we are partnering with the Triune God to dwell among the homeless youth of Indianapolis.  To bring freedom.  To bring hope.  To bring life.

One of my favorite hymns, ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’, has a verse that reads,
“See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!  Did ever such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?’

The work we do is rich in the Father’s love.  He dwells with us.  He adores us; loves every youth who walks through our doors more than we can imagine.  And yet, the work we do is rich in sorrow too.  And somehow, as Jesus demonstrated on the cross and throughout His life on this earth, they are mingled together.  Our incarnate God dwells among us; He moves into the neighborhood.  And He is enough.

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