Even if we avoid these more extreme reactions to pain, we may construct imaginary walls around our inner emotional selves under the fantasy that we can be insulated from true experiences of pain. Some people even look to the church as a place where they can flee the discomfort of the “real world” by cloaking themselves within purported religious responses to pain. Yet this use of an escapist faith is no better than the use of drugs or alcohol to avoid discomfort.
—John R. Wimmer, Blessed Endurance: Moving Beyond Despair to Hope (Upper Room Books, 2018)
What thoughts and feelings arise when you think about using the church as a place to flee discomfort? Join the conversation.
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your record?
—Psalm 56:8 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Healing God, when we feel alone, hurt, or misunderstood, assure us of your presence and companionship as you guide us toward a more abundant life. Amen. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
“Hymns embed faith into the marrow of the soul,” Rev. Dr. James C. Howell writes in Unrevealed Until Its Season: A Lenten Journey with Hymns. Howell believes in the power of song to teach spiritual truths. His newest book takes us on a 40-day journey through well-loved hymns. Learn more here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.