Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
When you feel emotional pain, it is because you care. We do not hurt about things or people that are not important to us. So when you do things to shut down or avoid your pain, you will slowly shut down what your heart desires. Take a moment, and listen to your pain. What is it telling you that you desire? Listen to it carefully or you might miss something important for you.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle 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
John already had a bad week last week – his business project was not doing well and he had an unresolved fight with his wife.
He woke up late, didn’t want to wake up because he was moody. So he was in a rush, anxious that he will be late for work. He was afraid of being scolded by his boss again. So he decided to skip his time with God. He rationalized that he will pray later when he is free.
His wife prepared a nice breakfast to try to make up with John. But John was anxious to rush to leave. His wife felt unappreciated and became angry with him for not eating her breakfast that she specially prepared for him. They had a heated argument in the kitchen. With the conflict still unresolved, John left the house in a frustration.
He went down to his car but his car had a flat tyre. He became more frustrated and kicked the tyre. Now because of his flat tyre he is definitely going to be late to work.
He arrived at work, 30 minutes late. He tried to explain to his boss but his boss only corrected him more. He felt depressed and not understood.
At work, the whole day he couldn’t fully concentrate at his job because he was still angry towards his wife, his car, and his boss. His subordinate came to discuss the project with him. But his subordinate forgot to finish the presentation for the project that is to be presented later that afternoon. Already filled with stress and bitterness from the morning argument with his wife, flat tire, and being scolded by his boss, he lashed out and yelled at his subordinates that she is lazy and stupid. His subordinate went away crying because of his harsh criticism. Later that day, after he got his composure, he felt guilty for making his subordinate cry. He apologized but he felt shameful for what he had done.
On his way home, he stopped by a park to think and rest. Tired as he was, he then tried to pray remembering that he missed his quiet time that morning and he had to fulfil his daily commitment time with God. He had to be a good Christian. But his thoughts kept drifting away to all the burdens and troubles that he had and created. He just couldn’t feel connected with God. After less than a few minutes, he gave up trying to pray, and went away feeling even more guilty and burdened.
Little did he know, all day long, God was waiting and walking by John’s side for John to “Come to Him, give Him all John’s worries and burdens, and God will give John rest. God is gentle and humble in heart, and God wants John and you to find rest for your soul.”
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.
4 The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning.
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure. (NASB)
Tears have the power to mend our afflicted heart. The healing power comes not when we are in tears by ourselves, but when we are in sorrow in the comfort of others. Notice that the tear duct is located in the eye. Not anywhere else but the eye. Our eyes are meant for seeing. And when we grieve, we need to see someone else’s eyes. The other eyes that grieves with us. The other eyes that understand our sorrow. The other eyes that reflect tenderness in our time of weakness.
And when you grieve, who will you let into that grief, that tender moment of pain and sadness?
What will protect us from sins and help us heal? Embrace sufferings (healthy pain) while doing what is hard, righteous, and good. As Peter said, “arm yourselves also with the same attitude (as Jesus), because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin” 1 Peter 4:1-2.
It is hard to forgive someone who has hurt us deeply because we want to be revengeful and lash out. It is hard to wait in patience and self-control to not buy or invest into something when we don’t have enough funds but our greedy desires demandingly push us to buy it. It is hard to be vulnerable and confess our sins when we have done what is wrong because our ‘image’ wants us to look good. It is hard to say sorry when we have wronged someone because our ego stops us. It is hard to be assertive and lovingly confront people whom we are close to because our fears of being rejected and abandoned show up. It is hard to be diligent to plan and try when we have failed numerous times and are afraid to fail again. It is hard to let go of anxiety and trust God in our prayers when we fear the unknown possible outcome.
It is painful to do what is hard and right. Paradoxical as it is, Jesus showed us by his example that when we are willing to embrace the healthy pain of good sufferings, we will end up overcoming and healed.