Last night, our family watched the 2016 Clint Eastwood movie, Sully, about the amazing, many-called miraculous, Hudson River landing of US Airways Flight 1549. The movie centers not only around the January 15, 2009 incident, but the subsequent investigation, and PTSD of the pilot, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. We had chosen the film because of its rating and the age spread of our family who wanted to watch something interesting. What I had not chosen was the impact upon my own memories as I watched the movie. The one line that riveted my heart was Captain Sullenberger saying of the investigation into his actions, “I feel so out of control.”
Have you ever felt completely out of control? Have you ever been the target of someone’s “investigation” into your life and motives? Let me tell you from experience, it’s one of the most unnerving feelings one can experience.
Many friends and colleagues of mine have shared just such fears and confusion as they have had to navigate divorce, loss of health, a job firing, or personal ridicule. I know the trauma. I know the anxiety.
It’s interesting that Corrie ten Boom, who experienced possibly the greatest indignity possible, in a Nazi Concentration Camp, had this to say about past trauma:
“Today I know that memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.”
God never wastes our pain, even though demons are often involved. Even when humans are often used to seemingly derail our lives, God doesn’t waste our pain or shame. God actually wants to use it. Paul said it this way, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Translation: God never wastes our pain.
Don’t waste your pain. God is mysteriously at work in your deepest sorrows, your most horrendous mistakes. He desires to fashion your life for the future through the hurts of the past.
On the Road Less Traveled,
Steve Holt D.D. MA