The ache came from out of nowhere.
I was sitting on the beach at the conservation area near my house. It’s less of a beach and more of a man-made lake, but it’s water and sand and it’s only a three-minute drive from my apartment. I sat on my turquoise fold-out beach chair, feeling the hot sun on my shoulders.
It was perfect, really. It was my Sabbath, the weather felt like summer, and I was stretched out on warm sand with water close by. I was with people I love, and a novel I’d been waiting to read was splayed out on my lap.
But then a pang shot through me. The pang settled into an ache, weighing heavy.
It hurt — not physically — but I could feel it in my body and in my heart. A pang of loneliness, an ache of longing.
It made no sense for me to be lonely because I was with people I love, in a place I love. Saturdays are precious to me because I can be extra intentional at surrounding myself with people whom I love and who love me. Saturdays are a way to prevent my loneliness.
And yet, it didn’t seem to matter. The ache was still present.
I often think I can fix the ache if I can just get married, then maybe have a child. Or if I find a more fulfilling job, distract myself with Netflix and good novels, or surround myself constantly with people, the ache will leave.
But so far, the things from that list that I’ve tried aren’t working.
I’ve begun to wonder if maybe I’m not the only one with the ache. Maybe all of us — single or married — have this ache deep within. Maybe the ache isn’t dependent on relationship status, but on the simple fact that being a human is exhausting and is often accompanied with a union of joy and sorrow. Just when I begin to feel one of those feelings, I often feel the other shortly after.
Jesus knows exactly what it’s like to be an exhausted human, filled with commingled joy and grief. He got tired. He got sad. (Maybe more tired and more sad than you and I can ever comprehend.)
Jesus knows everything about us. He knows our disappointments. He knows how ashamed we can feel. He knows about our loneliness, our embarrassment, our discouragement, our doubts. He knows when we question if He’s good or if He’s even listening at all.
But for us, these feelings can be complicated. For a long time, I’ve believed the lie that I need to somehow figure things out or sort through my emotions or muster up more faith before bringing my heart to Jesus.
But Jesus already knows. He literally knows everything about me already. Why do I think I should keep these confusing parts of my life from Him?
Jesus knew my ache on that beach. He could see the ache, the way it pierced every part of me. So instead of running from the ache — and instead of running from Jesus — I decided to simply bring it to Him. I brought Him my achy heart and was met with the deepest compassion.
I prayed while I sat on that beach. I prayed while I packed up my chair and my book. I prayed while walking to my car, my flip flops crunching the gravel beneath me. And all I prayed was this: Jesus, the ache is back. Jesus, the ache has returned again.
A huge part of me wanted Jesus to fix it, to sweep that ache away with a touch of His hands. But He didn’t fix it.
Instead, He walked beside me. As I got into my car and drove away from that beach, the ache accompanied me. But so did Jesus.
No matter what we are feeling — no matter how embarrassing, or shameful, or discouraging — we can bring it all to Jesus. We don’t have to be afraid of our emotions. We can gather them up, handing our fistful of feelings over to the Lord, who already sees us. We will be met with compassion and the deepest love.
Bring your ache, friend. Bring it out into the light of Jesus.Leave a Comment