My last two book reviews were for very different books. Coming Clean was the healing journey from an alcohol addiction whereas Jesus Feminist was about a woman’s role in the church and in the world. So I was surprised to find this similarity:

“The therapist has told me to turn in to the pain.’ Coming Clean by Seth Haines. Pg. 65

“Lean into the pain… Stay there in the questions, in the doubts, in the wonderings and loneliness, the tension of living in the Now and the Not Yet of the Kingdom of God, your wounds and hurts and aches, until you are satisfied that Abba is there too.” Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey, Pg. 52

Both authors are telling their readers to feel their pain, not to cover it or deny it with alcohol or other numbing substances, but also not to disguise it with anger and resentments dressed in theological arguments. The source of pain for these two people was very different, yet their message is the same and also the solution. Bessey writes about being satisfied that God is with you, and Haines writes about God’s reassurance that he will never leave or abandon us.

Sometimes knowing that God is with us doesn’t seem enough. However God’s Presence is always a healing presence. God longs to see us free from the pain of wounding experiences, yet we have to allow his presence into the dark places of our souls where we hide our pain.

Both authors are saying that it is God’s presence that heals us of our emotional pains but to experience this, we must first acknowledge the source of our pain.