Pains of the Heart – Part 1

Sometimes we hurt because of foolish decisions made which have painful consequences. Sometimes we hurt because of the evil that is inflicted upon us by others. Then, there are pains which occur simply because of difficult circumstances and events in life. Life’s pains range from minor irritations to devastating trauma, and not necessarily because of anything that anyone does wrong. Living in a sinfully broken world means suffering is inescapable. This is not pessimistic, it is simply the reality of the world we all live in.

Pains of the Heart – Part 1 Solomon speaks to pains of the heart in Proverbs 14:13, even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief. Our external appearance is far easier to control than our inner self. We may dress nicely, smile lots, and appear happy, but inside, in our heart of hearts, we may ache with life despairing grief. When this is true, it requires spiritual intervention that infuses heavenly hope into the very epicentre of our pain.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we understand that full release from this environment of pain will only come upon our transfer from this world to being with the Lord. But in the meantime, God has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (2 Corinthians 1:22) of that final day of redemption (Rom 8:23). From within, the Holy Spirit places at our disposal His divine resources. We are therefore, to be the ones who take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:13). Spiritual resources enable a right expectation of standing secure without being removed from the struggles that surround us.

Understandably, we want pain to disappear. Instead, most often, God provides hope, and trust, and truth, which empowers our realisation of His sovereign presence to overshadow and even dominate His grace into our pain. While pain remains, it is lessoned by prayer, by biblical truth, by assurance, by security, by purpose, by fellowship, by service, and by worship. Therefore, pain is demoted from the place of highest authority in our hearts to a much lower place of submission to God. Being stripped of its authority, pain becomes an effective instrument in the Master’s hands for sanctification and humble dependence upon Him. From this grows acceptance, which enables genuine thankfulness.

It begins with a right attitude towards God, and a right expectation of God; humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10). Here, there is no fighting against God, and there is no resentment if God’s purposes are different to ours. Here, during honest prayer with our petitions, there are no demands of God that carry any kind of threat if we do not get our way. Here, humility accepts that the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26). Here, humility accepts that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). We may not understand how this will happen in us, but we humbly accept it as true because God promises it.

Therefore, humility is the start line on which all pains must stand if the heart is to stand firm and honour God during the great pains of life. The start line of humility says, the LORD is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him (Lamentations 3:24).

To be continued…

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