I met a man at church a couple weeks ago.
During our meet-and-greet, he was sitting alone so my wife and I introduced ourselves.
After some brief pleasantries, we asked what plans he had for the rest of the day.
He told us he didn’t know. He was just struggling to get through service.
He didn’t want to come to church that Sunday.
He was mad at God.
He is a three-time cancer survivor who lost his forty-one year old son to cancer earlier this year.
It was his first Christmas season alone.
He came anyway.
He shared his hurt with us.
He could have pretended to be okay and we wouldn’t have known.
But we would have missed out on the chance at genuine connection.
We would have missed out on his lived experience and perspective.
That morning hadn’t been my best morning.
I was discouraged, frustrated and generally in a bad mood.
This man’s story lifted much of that.
Not because my life could be worse.
But because that’s just how life is.
Life isn’t all roses and puppies and parades.
It can be those things, but it’s also the hard things.
It’s the difficult seasons.
It can be a bumpy road.
But it’s also shared.
We’re not alone.
And maybe instead of painting on a fake smile, we need to share our pain.
Maybe we stop pretending and start letting other people in.
It seems like it’s good for us and good for our community.
Maybe our strength isn’t the only thing that other people need.
9 …but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power[a] is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9