Psalm 42:4a “My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be….”
Few things in life are more excruciating than a broken heart. How do you recover from such an experience? There are many experiences in life which can cause our hearts to break, but they all have one thing in common: irrevocable loss. This is true whether it was the result of a failed relationship, death, divorce, illness, or a natural disaster.
The Psalmist suffered a broken heart as a result of a national catastrophe that forced him to relocate to a place that was very far from his home. In the verse above he is expressing his yearning for the things that he had previously cherished.
Do you relate to that in any way? Do you feel your heart breaking as a result of an irrevocable change? You may find yourself feeling depressed when you think about how your life used to be because of the way it is now. I have known people in my life and ministry who were involved in a terrible event that shook their whole world and altered the course of their life in an instant. Things were never the same again.
Depression, confusion, disillusionment and emotional pain become the new normal. Some people to the pain he was experiencing as the new normal as he began to digest it. The one constant in life is change. Nothing remains the same and uninvited irreversible change can be heart breaking.
Psalm 42 is a place where those who are heartbroken might find hope. It’s one of those unique interactive Psalms where the reader is invited to process his/her own pain along with the Psalmist. Three times in chapter 42 and 43 he says, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my trust in God! I will praise Him again – my Saviour and my God!” and then he adds this in verse 6, “Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember You….”
Now that’s what we call antidepressants for the soul! When your heart is broken do what this Psalmist did. Refuse to let the pain immobilize you and take these three steps forward.
First of all: admit it.
Refusing to acknowledge your suffering or concealing your emotions behind a phoney smile is dishonest and ineffective. The pain is just repressed, which will lead to other troubles in the future. Do not repress the pain that you are experiencing; instead, talk to God about it. The Psalmist did not shy away from expressions such as “I am discouraged. Sadness fills my heart.”(Psalm 42:5) This is a natural reaction to the irrevocable loss that has occurred. When our hearts are broken, we all experience that feeling. There is no one who is so spiritual that they are unscathed by that kind of suffering.
Secondly, you need to affirm your faith.
It is only after you openly and honestly talk about your suffering with God that you will be able to reaffirm your faith in Him. Even in cases where the loss cannot be reversed, this is still only a transitory experience! Even when everything seems to be going wrong, there will come a day when everything will be ok again. This too will pass.
In a letter that he wrote after experiencing a great deal of hardship, the Apostle Paul wrote this:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Everything in this life is temporary. It will all pass away. But God is preparing an eternal glory for us that is greater than anything we could imagine. Heaven is real!
Then finally, recall the goodness of God.
We feel the pain of a broken heart when we remember how things used to be. Healing begins when we remember God. The Psalmist said, “Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember You….” (Vs. 6a) That’s an antidote to depression. Choose to reflect on the goodness of God. It will take your mind off your present situation and focus your thoughts on God’s goodness and His ability to help you rather than your inability to help yourself.
In Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
God is never closer to us than when our hearts are broken. Don’t push Him away. Thank Him for being with you and draw strength from His presence for a new beginning which is always waiting for you.