Pain. Sometimes I think I prefer taking physical pain over emotional pain or heartache. Proverbs 18:14 puts it this way, “The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?” Lately I’ve been aware of several good friends of mine who are going through trying times. They’ve had their spirits crushed. If that’s you, this is from my heart for you.
At one of my girl’s retreats last year, a girl out of the blue asked me, “Cristina are you ever sad? I just always see you happy, do you ever get sad?” And I just cheerfully answered back, “Nope! Not really. I’m a pretty happy girl.” Then as I walked away it was as if God stopped me dead in my tracks and said, “BALOGNE!! Tell her about times you have been discouragement and what to do with it. She needs that.” Duh! So I whirled around and went back to her and said, “You know, I’m a pretty happy girl but I DO get discouraged from time to time…” And I sat down and opened my heart to her about some things the Lord has done in my life in regards to pain and suffering and some dark and lonely nights.
If you’re not there right now you can read over this and it probably won’t mean a thing. But next time are discouraged (because that’s real life), come back and maybe your soul will be reminded of what we tend to forget when times are joyous.
My spirit was completely crushed because of something that happened last Christmas but I turned to the Lord and searched the Scriptures for words like: heartbroken, crushed in spirit, & faint. I was blown away by all the special promises God has for the broken and faint at heart! If that’s you listen to this:
Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart…”
Job 17:1 “My spirit is crushed,and my life is nearly snuffed out. The grave is ready to receive me.” (Definitely how I felt!)
“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.”
“For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim.” (Are your eyes dim? Keep reading.)
“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” I QUALIFY!!!
But don’t stop there, take a look at what’s ahead, right around the corner...
Isaiah 57:14-16, “I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”
“Reviving the courage of those with repentant hearts” is where I’m at right now. Jesus has so gently been convicting my heart of an area that I need to surrender and completely take my hands off, and I have been battling with that for several months. Not wanting to let it go because I believe I know what’s good for me. When we know what we’re supposed to do and we don’t want to do it, changes to make, sins to repent of, competing affections to get rid of, we turn a deaf ear to the Lord and just avoid that all together.
But how tragic for God to be speaking, and you not listening! I’ve done that before Here’s what He says to that. Isaiah 30: 1, “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit.”
But He’s so eager to communicate with us! There are a thousand times a week He wants to tell you how much he loves you. A thousand times a week He’s trying to nudge you in the right way. A thousand times a week He’s trying to warn you of something He wants you to miss and not experience pain as a result.
“For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” –Mathew 13:15
A few years ago I led a group of young girls on a journey to some cabins at the Northwoods of Michigan, with the sole purpose of seeking the Lord for ten days. I decided from the start that I would never tell them ahead of time what we would do. They would know when we did it. During those ten days I gave them instructions like, “Everyone grab your coats we’re going outside.” Then came the questions, “For how long?”, “Am I going to want my purse?”, “What are we going to do?”, “Should we bring food?”, “Will we be back by dark?” No matter how many times I said “Girls! Just trust me to give you the instructions you need, no questions!” haha A gazillion questions continued. Each new day held new questions, doubts, concerns…and opportunities to trust. God was showing me a mirror of myself. Just trust me. Just follow. No questions. No comments. No complaints. He leads us by still waters. He restores our soul by still waters.
Even when you have been stubborn and rebellious and you’re not listening, He says “I will continue to speak to you and be faithful! And when you hear from Me your heart will burst in song! God is in the business of taking things that are ALL BAD and turning them into things that are ALL GOOD. And you know what that’s called God’s Providence. Even when you have sinned and become hard hearted, our God’s character doesn’t change! He still keeps speaking and prompting even when being ignored. The issue is not why isn’t He speaking to me anymore, the issue is, how can I make myself sensitive His voice again.
Take a look at His precious thoughts towards us. Let’s reflect on his goodness and mercy:
The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
1 Chronicles 17:26
And now, LORD, thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto thy servant…
…the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.
But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
Let those promises wash over you. Let them take root deep in your soul. Letting yourself remain in the trenches of discouragement and despair is failure to lift your eyes to Jesus and trust His faithfulness and mercy and unfailing love. You will always be discouraged when you fix your eyes on the difficult situation. So stop. Let the above verses stop you dead in your tracks and remind you what you’re tempted to forget. Grab a pen and paper and make a list of benefits.
Mine range from:
- I look forward to Heaven
- I'm learning to follow God's plan without knowing the details.
- Personal strength is being built inside me.
- I'm learning contentment & that God is more than enough.
- I'm being reminded of whats worth treasuring.
- I long for Christs return QUICKLY!!
Go turn on a song of praise to the Lord and let your heart sing along! Its good for your soul to recount His goodness.