Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When Your Heart Aches

When Your Heart Aches

Have you ever had to deal with a recurring heartache?

Maybe it’s something from your past. Maybe it’s something you are having to live through right now. But whether past or present, it weighs heavily. Life seems harder. The hurt and heaviness hang like a dark cloud between you and joy.
You want to cry…but you know if you do it might go on for days. And although tears might relieve the pressure, you know they wouldn’t change a thing.
You wish you could write it off… or, if it’s a person, you with you could just forget them. But despite the tears, the pain, the torture, you can’t seem to let go.
Sometimes running away from the heartache seems attractive, but would running away really solve it?
You look at others… they seem so happy.
You sigh wistfully and wish things had been different
in your life
in your situation
in your relationships
in your experiences.
You wish you had known better,
had done differently.
Others seem to have what you would like to have…
in their relationships
in their circumstances of life. …
Emotionally, materially, spiritually, physically, intellectually, professionally… you feel: “They won… and I lost.”
Maybe because you smile, no one knows.
Maybe because you cover up, no one suspects.
Maybe because you are silent, no one can share, relate, and give you hope.
So you feel locked away in loneliness… and your heart hurts.
The happiness of others only makes your pain worse. It shouldn’t. You want to rejoice for them, but you can’t. You hurt too much.
Sometimes you may even have to deal with envy… with jealousy… or with grief… or anger… or depression… or wanting to die.
I do understand, because at one time or another I have had to deal with all of this. And more and more as I read our mail, I know I am not alone. Christians are not exempt from heartache.
Yet, though not exempt, we do have the means to endure heartache without falling apart!
For this we have Jesus… His grace, His sufficiency.
For this we have His Word… His promises, His wisdom.
If I did not know that to be true, I couldn’t keep on keeping on… through my own heartache… and through our ministry which exposes us to so many who are burdened with incredibly heavy and overwhelming heartaches.
I cannot change their circumstances; I cannot cure their heartache. I cannot change my own circumstances or cure my own heartache! But I know Who can. And I have learned that despite heartache I can go on and my life can be effective… and is probably more effective because of it!
And because I know this on a personal level, I have the same message for others. The cure for your heartache is found in the Great Physician, Jehovah-rapha, and in His healing balm of Gilead, the Word of God.
As a matter of fact, I believe that people who have heartaches and who, in the midst of those heartaches, cling to God and to His Word will be those who are the most greatly used of God to impact their world.
This is the truth with which the Lord encourages us in 2 Corinthians, chapters 1-5. I urge you to take time in the next few hours or days to read and study this passage. Our God is the God of all comfort, and He comforts us so that we may be able with that comfort – that grace, that strength – to comfort others.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Paul tells us that at one point he was so burdened that he despaired even of life, but God comforted and delivered him and used that burden to deepen his trust in God (2 Corinthians 1:8-10).
As He did with Paul, God manifests through us the sweet fragrance of His character, and our heartaches and hurts are the very tools He uses to transform us into the image of His Son.

“We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

We are ambassadors for Christ, pointing others away from things which are seen (the temporal) to things which are not seen (the eternal).
So take courage, valiant warrior. Fight the good fight of faith, for soon it will all be over, and then only one thing will matter: “Have I pleased my Father God?”

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

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