Misery Behind The Mask

"Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, 'I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you.'" 2 Kings 20:5

For several years, wearing a mask was mandated by the government because of COVID-19. We were forced to wear our cloth masks that made many feel like they were suffocating. 

I remember when a lady say to me, “I like wearing my mask because no one can see the pain on my face from being abused by a family member.” I’ve come to believe that many people came to like their masks for the sole purpose of hiding shame and sorrow, and hiding the trauma of their drama.

Everybody is broken. You’re broken in some way. I’m broken in some way. We’re fallen people living in a fallen world. But our brokenness can be an asset, or it can be misery. Pain is a path that travels to everyone’s house.

Over time we can begin to live our lives mandating ourselves to wear a mask of misery. And when this happens three things happen without fail. First, we pretend there is no pain and the façade gets built up so no one can see behind our mask. Secondly, we try to keep the shadow of shame from overcoming us day after day. And thirdly, denial slowly leads to the death of the inner person. The deepest place of our brokenness can easily become the driest ground, the most parched place, because we refuse to let anyone help, and for sure, because we think that God can’t be trusted with the misery behind our masks.

Have you noticed that we have a tendency to park our pain around painfilled people? Why is that? Because simply put, “misery loves company.” Interestingly, that famous phrase originated in a play from the 16th century about a man who was prepared to give up all hope by signing a pact with the devil in exchange for 24 years of living with his own deceptive, deadly desires.

I promise you that if we let the devil in on our pain, he will trick us into thinking he’s got the solution for shame, sorrow, and suffering. And then he will use every scheme in his play book to trap us in our toxic thoughts. Jesus calls Satan, “the Father of lies!” Buyer beware! Because there is no money back guarantee with his grimy ghostly gimmicks!

Let’s remember that the serious issue behind dysfunctional living is when we connect with others through our pain and then stay there together. Pain can drive our lives to the edge, wounds can make us wander through life aimlessly. Bitterness can root itself in the deepest place of our hearts. And unforgiveness can splinter relationships into a million broken pieces.

I am thinking of two men in the Bible who hid behind their masks because of serious sadness and personal pain. But when they removed those masks and let others see them as wounded souls - healing started.

Joseph made himself one of the most powerful men in Egypt. When people looked at him, they saw power, confidence, and control. But one day, when Joseph was testing his brothers, he let the mask slip and he shouted, “Is my father still alive?” You see, he loved his father too much to stay in a place where he was hiding his pain.

David was the mighty king of Israel. When David’s son Absalom had been trying to overthrow him, but was killed, David let his mask slip and emotionally he said, “Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son. Let me die instead of you.” You see, he loved his son even though he was a traitor who had tried to kill him.

When Joseph refused to continue hiding behind his mask, he experienced an amazing reunion with his broken family. And when David took off his mask, he gave us a lesson of a father’s love for his dysfunctional son.

And then I think of the woman at the well in John 4. This woman wore a mask of misery that defined her as sexually shameful and worthy of rejection. But then there was an encounter with Jesus Christ and she walked way from that well a woman worthy of love and forgiveness because she was transformed by the refreshing, living water of God. 

God can be trusted with your mask of misery. He faithfully loved me the day that I decided to rip off my mask. I found His healing for the deadly thoughts that controlled my emotions. I found that His grace for my grief was sufficient. And I found hope for the hurts that haunted me. 

And you will too if you take the first step in bravely removing your mask of misery and trading it for God’s mercy!

Never forget that Jesus loves YOU, mask and all!

God bless your healing,

Pastor Dave

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