Trials and heartbreak are kind of like getting on a train. After they happen you can’t stay the same. You have to be transported.

At the station, you hold your ticket, a promise of another place – one you hope will bring new joy or help ease what you feel right now. Yet, it’s the only paper in your hand. It feels perfectly meaningless at the moment. All you can see are the tracks, riddled by the miles, worn by the endless trips from here to there. Then your eyes meet the beast – a smoke huffing, grimy steel engine indifferent to all you’ve experienced – unfeeling to all of your woes – and this is where you must go to get to where you need to be.

It’s not inviting, but here you must board.

This unhappy trip through mountains and valleys introduces you to a new reality. You only get to see it as it comes, bound to the tracks but feeling helpless in your direction. Soon the whistles and smoke will clear. Soon you’ll pass through the last tunnel on this ride from a hard place to healing. Hopefully, when you arrive, you’ll appreciate the tracks that held you. You’ll appreciate that you weren’t in control of your destination because you were too weary, too broken to navigate it yourself.

Perhaps the ride is God’s mercy. Maybe He has you sitting so He can restore. He laid the tracks and all He asks is that you get on. In that, you trust He’ll help get you there.

“Summer Rain” by Braille and PoetiCS captures what it’s like to be on one of these train rides.

Braille

“From the outside looking in,
The only see what’s on the outside

And they wonder what I feel like
It’s hard to explain it, explain it

I know it looks like summer
But it feels like it’s raining
Whoa

And even when the rain won’t stop
I know that I’m growing
Even when I can’t see it in the moment
I know one day God’s gonna show me”

These words perfectly marry the need to be heard in our brokenness and the desire to trust God to prove Himself faithful. Our faith does not make us robotic or one-dimensional, nor should it cause us to discount God when the trouble He promises – arrives. I love that the lyricist chose to sit in the middle of those two places.

“My greatest battles I can’t take pictures of
Mental struggles, they rip me up inside
Emotional scars it’s easier to hide
And I don’t think the only reason is my pride
I’m still carrying the parts of me that died
Moving forward, but the past comes along for the ride
Even though I try not to listen to the lies
I need to hear the truth from voices different than mine”

The next part acknowledges the dichotomy of the song’s title. Often we appear like summer – only showing the sunshine or choosing to speak about what’s blooming. Yet, rain still falls despite our desire to conceal it, or our inability to feel like someone would care if we shared it. The song presses into the parts that people can’t see. But there’s a qualifier: ‘I don’t think the only reason is my pride’. I think this is the lyricist saying that it’s not just on them that these emotional scars are hidden. I don’t pretend to know what their other reasons would be. But maybe you could speculate with some of your own? What are some factors that keep your inner pain masked?

I do think there is insight in saying, “I’m still carrying the parts of me that died.” Perhaps a lot of the reason we can’t share what ails isn’t just pride, but an inability to release it. Speaking it, in part means slowly letting it go. If we aren’t holding those things anymore it can feel like a loss of identity, especially if it’s a big part of our life. Yet, maybe in giving it away bit by bit through prayer, art, music, therapy, you name it – maybe in giving it away we can make space and produce new soil for something else to grow. That could be the most important part of healing: giving God the shards, even as they cut your hands and trusting that He will make you new.

“I am clay to the potter
Dough that he’s kneading
We ain’t really kneeling if we don’t know that we need him
Lord help me see it, do I mean it when I say it
When the weight is feeling heavy I know that you won’t waste it”

Our growth has little to do with what we can do, and is shaped by what we allow God to do. Places of hurt push us into defensiveness often and can leave us feeling like we’re the only one who cares about our well-being. Maybe we are the only one who cares about our safety, but God is infinitely concerned with our transformation. He longs for us to be renewed inwardly day by day. Though we only see the outward appearance and feel ourselves disappearing – He is crafting our spirit into its eternal posture. That hurts in a temporary frame – it feels just like being shattered from within over and over. But what if that deconstruction was only peeling back the layers that would die anyway, to uncover something worthy, and in the Father’s likeness?

“My love do you ever dream of candy-coated raindrops?
It may not seem sweet at first blush
But when you see what it produces that must be God’s touch

Who else could make you turn around and say hallelujah?
His discipline never felt good in the moment but it’s proof that he cares
When my ignorance is bliss he makes me aware of his presence

And the pressure is a privilege
My flesh gets livid when it’s pressed in his image
What does a seed need to break through the earth?
On the inside is where God does His best work”

The answer to your burning question is this: yes, the pain that strips us of all we know does have a purpose. God is not out to be cruel. He is not like us, He doesn’t “revel in our defamation.” No, I don’t understand the depth of your aching, but two hands and feet, and a torn side do.

He aims to sanctify often. This is not to say that every darkness that we endure can be later explained by God wanting to produce holiness in us. Some things are beyond comprehension. My prayer is that these will be revealed in Heaven, but I like you must trust and wait for what I do not know. This is not to belittle or reduce, but to encourage that despite how we squirm now, God will make good of it. Holiness is not what I want when boarding the train. Holiness is the farthest thing from my mind when calamity knocks on my door. I want to be alleviated. I want to be removed from the darkness. Yet, you and I were created to cut through it.

To those on a train ride just after a trial, please take your time. These words are for when you get off at your new destination and can finally air out all those trinkets from before. They are not meant for you now necessarily. Do not force yourself to feel them or understand them before you need to – you can’t. In the transition, or mourning, or discomfort I pray you are able to sit and be served by those around you. I pray God meets you with the depth of His understanding.

And I love the idea of candy-coated raindrops, but it’s hard to imagine rain like that in the midst of feeling like you’re drowning. I pray that we get to see in part what God’s touch produces. I pray that as the rain falls like a flood around the heart that we might watch it learn to float, and I pray we might discover and live out what is two-fold about trusting God to turn our pain into purpose; that we are invited to wail at the feet of our Father and that when the timing is right. He will show us what that rain gave life to.

May God protect us and bless us by the phrase, “the pressure is a privilege.”

Listen to Braille and PoetiCS Below: