There is just something about this chair. It’s the place where a thousand tears have been shed and laughter has been shared. It’s big enough to curl up in and comfortable enough to stretch out freely. This chair is the safe place people have come to in order to heal. It’s the uncomfortable place people find themselves when they need to be challenged.
It’s tough being a therapist’s chair. It’s a lot of responsibility. It must be comfortable enough to ease someone’s anxiety. It must be strong enough to hold their burdens. It must be firm enough to hold them up when they can’t find the strength. It must be water resistant to catch all of the tears. And it must be completely silent in order to hear the desperate whisper of a broken heart.
Oh the stories this chair could share.
In this chair, people tell their therapist everything. The things they are proud of and the things that overwhelm them with shame. And while sitting in this chair, it can seem like just talking isn’t enough. Yet, on the way home, your heart feels so much better.
There’s just something about this chair.
This chair has cradled the cries of the world in its methodical rocking. And as I’ve listened to these cries, I can’t help but extend a piece of me to each fractured heart. I pray with each person that they will feel God’s presence and healing as they share, cry, laugh, and sometimes scream in the silence of their soul.
The last several weeks, this chair has worked overtime. There has been so much pain here. As I listened to a patient share immense desperation, I could feel my heart literally breaking. I think I may have even taken a quick breath just to assure myself my heart still worked. And if this is what I’m feeling, imagine what God must be experiencing. He feels all we feel; experiences all we experience.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” —Psalm 53:8
Someone asked me once why therapy worked. It’s because within each one of us we want to be known; we want to be heard. And that’s what therapy really is, in a nut shell. It’s one person choosing to see and hear another person, even in the midst of their darkest moment. And that’s what we want from God. We want to know He sees us and hears us. We want to be known to Him.
The crippling part of emotional pain is the isolation that comes with it. When we experience pain our natural tendency is to shut everyone out. Satan counts on us to isolate ourselves from those around us. If Satan can use your pain to separate you from Jesus Christ then he is doing his job because he is constantly looking to devour and deceive (1 Peter 5:8).
There is nothing worse than experiencing a painful season and feeling unseen. It is a crushing sensation to experience heartache and feel as if nobody cares. I know, because I have experienced this before. We fall victim and believe that our season of pain is so unique that nobody could ever relate to it and that nobody will ever understand why we feel how we do. And the longer we feel that way, the more isolated and hopeless we can become.
I cannot tell you the number of times that someone sitting in this chair has said, “No one can understand. No one can possibly know what it feels like to hurt this much.” Oh, sweet child, there is someone who knows.
(Jesus) began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” —Mark 13:33
Jesus Christ, Emmanuel (God With Us), was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He was so deeply distressed and troubled that His sweat turned to blood. For us to ever think that our Lord and Savior cannot comprehend what we are going through is completely wrong.
Jesus knows all about pain and He knows your pain. He knows your depression. He knows your misery. He knows your thoughts. He knows your secret guilt. He knows your deepest fears. He knows you fully. Jesus is relational. He is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). He heals and binds our wounds (Psalm 147:3). He is faithful and will do what He says (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Jesus is the epitome of love (1 John 4:8), He is forgiving (Matthew 18:21-35), slow to anger, gracious, and compassionate (Nehemiah 9:17). Jesus Christ, the Highest Priest and the only Savior of mankind, is all we need. In Him, there is freedom (Galatians 5:1).1
With all of the pain, self-doubt, desperation, and hopelessness that finds its way in this chair, I pray that each person also experiences the profound healing of Jesus Christ. I pray they know that God’s mercy is greater than anything the world can give. I long for each broken heart to be filled with the healing of the Holy Spirit. If you don’t feel like you can talk to God, find a chair. I promise that if it’s a good chair, you’ll have a good listener.
1Marcus Donaldson, God Knows Your Pain, 2019