When it Hurts

 

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My heart hurts today.

A deep ache that is not easily soothed.

Sometimes I think I’m okay. Then the ache worsens. And deepens. And widens.

Naturally, the lies have begun to swarm around in my head.

I am tempted to believe each one.

Battling through life with a chronic illness, the question of “Why?” always, at some point, makes its way into my mind. I’m accustomed to the “why.”

I feel the “why” today.

The “What was the point?”

The “I don’t understand.”

And it hurts.

The hurt has made its way up and out of my mouth in the form of prayer. It’s made its way out in coping mechanisms of laughter and copious amounts of sarcasm and textbook self-deprecation. It has largely made its way up and out of my eyes in the form of hours of tears.

I am reminded of Psalm 77.

I cry aloud to God,
    aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
    in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
    my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
    when I meditate, my spirit faints.

 

In the first 9 verses of Psalm 77, the Psalmist cries out to the Lord. He is broken. He is in anguish. He doesn’t understand. He is asking why.

I love the Psalms. The Psalms are evidence that we do not have to pretend to be “okay.” We can come before the Lord broken–shattered into pieces. God is not angry at us for asking “why.” He is not annoyed by our tears. He doesn’t scorn us for being sad. It is okay to be sad.

But the Psalmist takes a turn,

Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
    to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”[b]

11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
    and meditate on your mighty deeds.

In verses 10-12, the Psalmist decides, in the midst of the pain, to choose to remember. He chooses to remember the truth of who God is. He chooses to ponder His great works and to meditate on His mighty deeds. The Psalmist does not deny the existence of the pain. He does not pretend that all is well. Rather, the Psalmist declares that, although the pain and heartache are real and very present, He chooses truth. He chooses faith.

Tim Keller writes, “Faith is not primarily a function of how you feel. Faith is living out, trusting, and believing what truth is despite what you feel.”

Faith trusts when it hurts. Faith chooses God when it hurts.

Lastly, the Psalmist continues,

Your way, O God, is holy.
    What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
    you have made known your might among the peoples.

The Psalmist finishes the remainder of the Psalm in worship. Despite the deepest possible pain, the Psalmist proclaims that God is worthy of all praise. His way is holy–His way is perfect and right–what god is great like our God?

 

My heart hurts today. I don’t understand the “why.” And the Lord knows that. He will be hearing from me quite a bit about it. I have and will continue to cry out to the Lord. But it will not stop there. I will cry out. But I will also choose to trust. I will choose to remember who God is and how He has loved me with a love I will never deserve. I will choose to remember that He has never and will never forsake me. I will choose to remember that His way is perfect. I will choose to remember that He is always working all things together for my good and for His glory.

And then I will worship.

I will praise His beautiful Name.

I will fall on my knees in adoration.

I will declare that He is enough. That He is everything I need.

That He is the greatest treasure and the true satisfier of my soul.

That He holds the world in His good and just hands.

That He is sovereign over all.

 

That He is there to hold me when it hurts.

To the praise of His glorious grace.

 

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