Tuesday, December 6, 2016

THROUGH THE EYES OF A LION: Facing impossible pain, finding incredible power By Levi Lusko


Levi Lusko is a pastor – if you checked out his sermons on YouTube, you’d find a pretty regular looking young pastor but one who is passionate and straightforward about obeying God. He and his wife also found themselves in the throes of deep grief when they suddenly lost their fiesty 5-year-old second born, nicknamed Lenya Lion, to a sudden asthma attack a few days before Christmas in 2012. 

This book is about facing pain instead of running away from it. You can imagine the anguish and agony of what Lusko went through. But he roared back, and through his encounter with raw pain, he analogized facing it with how one should run to the roar of a lion. Picture the way a pride of lions powerfully attack and overcome its victims - the tactic lies on the ferocious roar of male lions to intimidate and scare their victims to run away from the roar but only to be trapped by female lions who have by now silently surrounded the victim. In other words, Lusko urged us to make the counter-intuitive move towards the roar instead of running away from it. 

“If you fail to face your fears, they will always be right there behind you.” 

ABOUT PAIN, Lusko writes, “There is a disorienting endlessness to suffering that makes it easy to lose your bearings. It’s like being lost in the woods of your own soul. Initially, just surviving each moment without hyperventilating is so all-consuming that minutes tick by slower than years. But then one day you poke your head out from your hibernation of hurting, and it can be shocking to find that actual time has passed.” 

But what if the pain someone is experiencing is something they can’t quite put a finger on? What if there is no casket that people can see, or a loss that creates a vacuum in life that money and material comfort cannot fill? Lusko offers this advice: “Perhaps for you running toward the roar isn’t about something you’re supposed to do but rather something difficult you have to go through: painful chemotherapy treatments, a divorce, a move across the country that will dislocate you from friendships that mean the world to you….(or Henri Nouwen might have also added – someone not coming through for you in the way you expected). Sometimes there is no other alternative but to face it.” 

Gold standard advice: “Remember this: God isn’t scared of what you’re scared of. But you don’t have to pretend like you’re not frightened. Naming your fear is part of getting through it.” 

But I thought he added too soon the warning: “try to shine the light and turn off the dark for as many people as possible – myself in the process.” Personally, I feel that trying to use personal tragedies as an inspiration to others is warped if done prematurely before one has sufficiently allowed God to deal with all manners of escapism and avoidance of the root issue. 

What I like best from LION: It is possible to go into eternity with a saved soul and a wasted life. (Even in grief) You must make the choice to walk by faith and see what can’t be seen with the naked eye. 

My take-away: Pain is not just a feeling, but a season of dealing with disappointment for some, or personal loss for others. A season of pain includes but is not all about crying and grieving: life can go on pretty much the same with work, studies, family, meetings, catching with friends, serving in church, etc except it takes much more out of you to just keep up the normalcy. Like physical pain, emotional pain drains you physically and mentally. 

My approach for self and others going through seasons of pain – put in small celebrations to disrupt the cycle of grief even for short moments the way old friends had brought up the most trivial reasons just to meet up with me when I was going through my season of brokenness that really touched my heart. And in turn, I do the same for others. 

This is pretty much like the book ‘Shattered Dreams’ reviewed in this blog. 

Where you can get it: Kinokuniya $28.35, Book Depository from $12.86, Open Trolley $23.20