It should come as no surprise that emotional pain is an ever-present part of our human existence. The most recent lock-down pandemic has highlighted this truth. It also reveals the potential for unexpected pain in areas we might have previously considered ‘healthy’…like our marriage. In our last post we talked about the wrong things to do when you experience pain.
The wrong way is to attempt to heal yourself. The pride required for this path is evidence enough that it is a wrong course of action. We can’t heal ourselves any more than we can save ourselves from the coming judgement by our own good works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) So instead of turning to someone else, something else, our ourselves (see part 1) to heal our wounded hearts what should we do? We turn to the source of life, love, healing, and restoration. We run to the open arms of our Savior and King. Didn’t see that coming, did you? The typical church answer, but it doesn’t make it wrong.
The Bible is full of invitations from God to do this very thing. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Again, we read in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “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.”
So when we’re burdened, when we need rest, when we need comfort for our hurting hearts, what does it look like to turn to God – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - for healing in the midst of our pain?
Humbly admit you can’t heal yourself: Repentance is the starting line of real life-change. When we finally get off the merry-go-round of self-healing and admit we can’t do this on our own, God is ready. Remarkably He doesn’t issue a well-deserved “I told you so.” Instead He greets us with love and grace every single time. (Psalm 145:8-9)
Repent for the things you tried to heal yourself with: Whatever combo of things you were trying to use – success at work, substance abuse, sex, shopping, exhausting yourself in a co-dependent relationship – you must identify and confess it to the Lord. Ask for His forgiveness in using those things. (1 John 1:9)
Ask the Lord to reveal anything else you use: Sometimes we’re so wrapped up in our hurt that we can’t see our sin clearly. Ask the Lord to show you anything else you were using that you might not even realize had become a ‘little god’ for healing in your life. (Psalm 139:23-24)
Invite the Lord into your specific places of pain: A good friend once said “God is a gentlemen, He will not force His way into our lives.” So you need to specifically invite Him into all your different areas of pain. “God, I invite you into this broken relationship with my wife/husband.” “God, I invite you into the hurt of rejection.” “God, I invite you into __________” This may take a while to pray through, but that’s ok. God has plenty of time.
Now these are steps you will need to do repeatedly for a while. When I started down this path there were a lot of things the Lord had to clean up. I had years of turning to ‘little gods’ for healing and it doesn’t change overnight. Be patient as you walk down this path remembering God is more patient than you. His love and grace never run out!
One part of this process, that we'll address next, is allowing yourself space to grieve and express your pain in a healthy way. Don’t be surprised, after years of covering stuff up, if you have a lot of sadness to get out. That’s a good thing. As you do so keep praying 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 and invite the Lord to comfort you. I promise He will.