There is so much shame that comes with reaching a level of pain so great that I have actually prayed to God to just take me to heaven. I know people judge me for this. Is my shame genuine or just a fear of what people will think of me?
I write about this because I know how critical it is for other people who have been there to know that they are not alone. The first person who I even knew to admit that they had prayed this prayer was a pastor. His name is Rob Prince, and I’ve never met him, but he wrote a book about living with chronic pain. I was so relieved to read that I wasn’t the only one. Since then, I have met many people who have also said that prayer. Each time I hear someone else say they have said this prayer, it’s like a wave of relief washes over me. The more I respect the person, the bigger the wave. This gives me the strength to write this post and to shout: You are not alone if you have said this prayer! I have too!
(Note: I’m also able to write about this because it’s not how I currently feel.)
In Romans 8:18-25, Paul writes that while we are living in this world it is like we have the expectancy of a pregnant mother. We can’t wait for the next thing: heaven. The Holy Spirit nudges us and lets us know that there is something better. When dealing with such extreme pain (emotional or physical), I’ve come to believe that it’s totally normal to pray to God to just make it stop. I still feel guilty for the selfishness of being willing to leave those who love me. I know that when I have prayed that prayer, I did it with confidence that if God were to say yes, he would take care of everyone I left behind (Romans 8:28).
I realize there is sin in the way I can wallow in self pity sometimes, but prayer is a pretty neat thing. God wants to hear absolutely every one of our thoughts and desires. He’s more than a best friend. He doesn’t want us to filter. We can trust him with anything and everything. He won’t say yes to a prayer that’s not good for us. That’s why we can trust Him with even this prayer. We can tell him how much pain we are in and He will be there with us, and sit with us, and cry with us. Jesus was tortured and died on a cross. He knows what pain is. After I have told God how much it hurts and how I just want it to stop, then I usually just ask him to be with me and hold me while I cry. And He is. He’s right there with me. There are no words, just presence. Just like the best of friends would be (Romans 8:26-27).
Because Jesus made that sacrifice, to die the most horrible death, there is also grace. I am forgiven for all of my selfishness, and I will have a chance to do better next time… and sadly, I know there will be a next time, but it will be an opportunity to learn and to grow.
There is no friend better than God. We can tell him anything, and He will love us no matter what. He will be with us in our best times and our worst times. He will hold us and let us cry when we have no more words to say.