For the past couple of years I always get a little nostalgic and sad in January. You see, a few January's ago I went through a really difficult time and I am always reminded of it when the month rolls around again each year. So, I put on the same worship music that I listened to during that trial, that helped get me through the trial, and I allow my heart to soften and my mind to go there - to the deep, dark place where I'm still hurting, but don't often let myself dwell. There is a fine line between dwelling in the past and allowing it to prevent you from living in the present, and remembering a past event with a definite sadness that probably will never go away but that is eased by your gratitude toward the God who pulled you through it. I've done both, but with each passing year, God continues to heal my broken heart.
We're told that time heals all wounds - not true. Sometimes, time can deepen the wound. I am an advocate of therapy because there is a lot to be said about talking and sorting through your emotions with an unbiased, objective person - it gives us a self-awareness and a reality check. But, there are still some wounds that only God can heal, if we allow Him. When we worship God, especially in the midst of our hurt, we are inviting Him in to minister to us and heal our brokenness. It is an extremely humbling experience to choose to engage in worship and give thanks to our sovereign God, even for the sad and difficult things in life. It is a necessary step in our healing journey - to humble ourselves, our will and our control to the sovereign Lord and Creator, who allows each trial in our lives. As I was preparing to write this blog, God brought to my mind King David, who consistently chose to worship the Creator through the tough times in life, rather than cursing His Creator and hardening his heart to the One who heals (Jehovah Rapha, Exodus 15:26). The specific event that God brought to my mind was when King David had sinned against God and committed adultery, and even went so far as to have her husband murdered when he discovered she was pregnant with his child. Here's how the Bible recounts the aftermath of this drama:
"And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he became sick. David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him..." (2 Samuel 12:15-24 ESV, emphasis added)
Wow. Notice how when David heard of the death of his child, he worshiped the Lord, the One who had allowed his suffering. Why is this response so crucial to the mending of our souls? Because worship of the Lord signifies a release of power. As the worshiper, we have come to the end of ourselves; we are acknowledging that although we are deeply wounded, God is in control of ALL things. It is a power shift from us to God. Once we relinquish control of our lives and our circumstances, once we let go of the anger that consumes our hearts and minds, God releases His power in our lives. He mends our brokenness and turns what Satan meant for evil into good (Genesis 50:20). He uses the tragedy we might have thought would be the end of us as the catalyst to a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. How amazing that God will take our brokenness and not only heal it, but will make it into something beautiful and whole again.
Are you going through something that seems too heavy to bear? Is your heart laden with grief? Worship. Worship the God who loves you, who can bring you through the hurting places. David wrote Psalms 51 in the aftermath of his sin with Bathsheba - "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." (Psalms 51:17, ESV) Allow God to unleash His power in your life. Praise Him for who He is in the midst of your heartbreak. He is our Jehovah Rapha - our God who heals - and He will mend your heart, if you let Him.