Lysa TerKeurst explains that the key to surviving pain is laying your sufferings before God:
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a (NKJV)
Does it ever feel like the heartbreak in your life is trying to break you?
I understand. I’ve been in that place where the pain of heartbreak hits with such sudden and sharp force that it feels like it cuts through skin and bone. It’s the kind of pain that leaves us wondering if we’ll ever be able to function like a normal person again.
But God has been tenderly reminding me that pain itself is not the enemy. Pain is the indicator that brokenness exists.
Pain is the reminder that the real enemy is trying to take us out and bring us down by keeping us stuck in broken places. Pain is the gift that motivates us to fight with brave tenacity and fierce determination, knowing there’s healing on the other side.
And in the in-between? In that desperate place where we aren’t quite on the other side of it all yet, and our heart still feels quite raw?
Pain is the invitation for God to move in and replace our faltering strength with His. I’m not writing that to throw out spiritual platitudes that sound good; I write it from the depth of a heart that knows it’s the only way.
We must invite God into our pain to help us survive the desperate in-between.
The only other choice is to run from the pain by using some method of numbing. But numbing the pain — with food, achievements, drugs, alcohol or sex — never goes to the source of the real issue to make us healthier. It only silences our screaming need for help.
We think we are freeing ourselves from the pain when, in reality, what numbs us imprisons us. If we avoid the hurt, the hurt creates a void in us. It slowly kills the potential for our hearts to fully feel, fully connect, fully love again. It even steals the best in our relationship with God.
Pain is the sensation that indicates a transformation is needed. There is a weakness where new strength needs to enter in. And we must choose to pursue long-term strength rather than temporary relief.
So how do we get this new strength? How do we stop ourselves from chasing what will numb us when the deepest parts of us scream for some relief? How do we stop the piercing pain of this minute, this hour?
We invite God’s closeness.
For me, this means praying. No matter how vast our pit, prayer is big enough to fill us with the realization of His presence like nothing else.
Our key verse (James 4:8a) reminds us that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. When we invite Him close, He always accepts our invitation.
And on the days when my heart feels hurt and my words feel quite flat, I let Scripture guide my prayers — recording His Word in my journal, and then adding my own personal thoughts.
One of my personal favorites to turn to is Psalm 91. I would love to share this verse with you today, as an example for when you prayerfully invite God into your own pain.
Verse: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1, NIV)
Prayer: Lord, draw me close.
Your Word promises when I draw close to You, You are there. I want my drawing close to be a permanent dwelling place.
I am not alone, because You are with me. I am not weak, because Your strength is infused in me. I am not empty, because I’m drinking daily from Your fullness. You are my dwelling place. And in You I have shelter from every stormy circumstance and harsh reality. I’m not pretending the hard things don’t exist, but I am rejoicing in the fact that Your covering protects me and prevents those hard things from affecting me like they used to.
You, the Most High, have the final say over me. You know me and love me intimately. And today I declare that I will trust You in the midst of my pain. You are my everyday dwelling place, my saving grace.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
And with that I close my prayer journal, feeling a lot less desperate and a lot more whole. I breathe the atmosphere of life His words bring.
I picture Him standing at the door of my future, knocking. If I will let Him enter into the darkness of my hurt today, He will open wide the door to a much brighter tomorrow.