A note from Kelly King: It’s been more than 30 years since I experienced the long and winding road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii. Even so, I still have vivid memories of the long trip that included lots of curves and twists. As Kaye Hurta explains in today’s article, our pain and hurts can be a lot like that road—both the difficulties and the beauty found in going through life’s challenges.
Last month my husband, two girls, and I took a bucket list trip to Maui; it was our Christmas gift to each other. There really are no words to describe the beauty of that place. There are more colors in nature than in a crayon box! While we spent most of our time hugging the sand, we did add a couple of activities to our week. One was surfing (I was the official photographer), and the other was driving the road to Hana.
The road to Hana is probably the most famous and desired drives in all of Hawaii. It has been likened to driving through the garden of Eden (did someone do that?). I can’t speak to that, but I can tell you that around every one of the over 600 curves and hairpin turns is one breathtaking view after another. I truly can’t put words to describe the beauty my eyes beheld. Along this beautiful drive there are also some harrowing moments. There are bumps, crooked roads, curves that hug cliffs, and most of the bridges are single vehicle only which can make for some scary encounters. There are many people who opt out of the experience because of fear.
The road to Hana can be compared to navigating pain’s long and winding road. It can be harrowing at times and seem impossible to navigate at other times. It takes you longer than you think it should, and once you make it half-way through you wonder how you’ll ever make it back.
However, if you focus on the turns or the cliffs or the narrow roads, you miss the breathtaking beauty that awaits you on the other side of that death-defying curve. And so it is with pain. When we focus on our fear or the danger of what is uncomfortable or the length of the journey, we miss moments of beauty God has planned for us along the path.
I have walked my own painful paths, and I’ve walked them with others. Navigating pain’s long and winding road will require we lean into two important safety tools:
1. Trust. To walk a painful path requires trust in the nature and character of God. Trust in His goodness, His faithfulness, His care and protection. Trust He is with you; He knows what’s ahead, and He knows the story He is writing with your life. When you cannot see what is ahead, when you have no idea if the bridge will “hold,” when you can’t turn around or stop completely, the invitation is to trust. The drive called “the road to Hana” takes all day, and you sometimes wonder if you’re ever going to “get there.” However, to focus on “getting there” is to lose sight of the experience. If you are walking a painful path right now, or walking one with someone, may I encourage you to take your eyes off the harrowing and dangerous curves and trust the One who walks the path with you? If that seems impossible in your own strength, it’s because it is. Lean into God’s strength. Lean on the faith and strength of a friend or mentor or counselor.
2. Wait. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s a waiting no one wants—waiting for the path to change, the pain to end, the way to clear. When will it? I don’t know. I do know that on this path God has planned for some breathtaking scenery. I don’t know what it will look like or around what curve it will lie, but I know it’s there. While you are waiting, read the Word, pray, sing, dance, cry, laugh—don’t miss a moment, and don’t miss a feeling. I pray you have someone who is waiting with you—a friend, a mentor, or a counselor.
If you are on a painful path or ministering to someone who is, trust and wait. I am praying for you to have the strength to do both.
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.