Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hope for a hurting heart

Pain. No one likes it. Pain can be a small, nagging feeling or it can be a deep, throbbing sensation that consumes our entire being. Which is worse, physical pain or emotional pain? That's a hard question to answer since physical pain can often be measured by degrees. Physical pain is usually on the outside of our bodies and we can learn to ignore it or distract ourselves from focusing on it. Physical pain can be calmed by medication or other remedies...but emotional pain, that's a different story.

Emotional pain is an "inside pain." It usually effects the mind, the heart and the emotions. Mental anguish, resentment, bitterness, and even a dryness of the soul can hound us. These pains can often cause us to fall into a spiritual vacuum. While we can describe physical pain to a physician, only the Great Physician can know our inside pain.

God in His great wisdom often allows us to experience inner anguish. When we experience "inside pain," we're forced to deal with the problem because those inside pains bombard our thoughts continually. God can use "inside pain" to capture our attention. He can use it to purify us in ways that physical pain can not.

Have you ever had an argument with a sibling or mate? Have you ever felt that nagging feeling deep in your spirit that you needed to apologize? Often pride kept you from going back and immediately making things right, but God, in His gentle, loving way kept pricking your heart for days.

Inside pain can be purifying if we remember the verse in 2 Corinthians 10:5, "...take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ." Those feelings of worry, fear, anxiety or spiritual dryness can all be used to help us learn to deal with the real issue at hand. When we deal with those issues, we're learning to be obedient to Christ.

Maybe you've recently remembered an unkind word spoken against you...maybe a hurtful situation arose between you and someone you love...maybe it's a situation over which you no longer have any control...whatever it is, choose not to carry it alone. Give that situation over to God in prayer. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us that we are to cast ALL our anxiety upon Him because He cares for us.

If the inside pain is the result of an unconfessed sin or unresolved conflict don't wait any longer! Bring that wrong attitude into the light of God's Word. Ask for forgiveness and allow the healing balm of God's love to wash over you. If you are willing to humble yourself, God will accept you with open arms. You'll find that nagging, inside pain melting away. Jesus is the only one who can offer a cleansed heart and pure mind. He doesn't want us to have troubled hearts. He wants us to live in joy and peace.

Examine yourself and see whether the pain you're experiencing is a true physical pain or if it might be an "inside pain." Jesus was acquainted with grief. He understands. He wants to heal you but you have to be willing to do your part, too.

Whatever the reason God's allowing you to go through a painful situation, trust Him that His ways are not our ways. If He's allowed you to travel a painful road right now, maybe it's part of His perfect will to cleanse and purify you making you more Christlike. Remember, He loves you like no other and even times of trial at His hand are for our good. Introspection is a good thing when you're looking inside your own heart and spirit for things that are unpleasing to God. He wants you to experience freedom from the pain of unforgiveness, bitterness and hurt.

This poem may speak to you today:
Lord Jesus, King of Pain,
Thy subject I;
Thy right it is to reign:
Oh, hear my cry,
And bid in me all longings cease
Save for Thy holy will's increase.
Thy right it is to reign
O'er all Thine own;
Then, if Thy love send pain,
Find there Thy throne,
And Help me bear it unto Thee,
Who didst bear death and hell for me.
Lord Jesus, King of pain,
My heart's Adored
Teach me eternal gain
Is Love's reward
In Thee I hide me; hold me still
Till pain work all Thy perfect will.
~William Bathurst

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