Even when emotional pain is not the direct result of sin, it pays dividends in the war against sin.
When I’m extremely depressed and prone to fits of weeping, my heart is obviously softer than usual. And it’s during such times that the Holy Spirit often convicts me of wrong thoughts or behavior patterns. Since I’m already in a dependent state due to depression, I pray more often, if only for relief. And anytime I’m in a “seeking God” mode, the Holy Spirit is more liable to engage in a purifying work within my heart. So in a sense, tears spawned by depression can serve as a cleansing agent.
Depression also drives me to the Word of God for relief. Memorization of promises--especially from the Psalms and Prophetic books- -instills a disciplined study habit that carries over even when the depression is gone. I’m reminded of the hard truth in Psalm 119:71, that affliction of any sort can deepen my dependence on God’s Word: “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Thy statutes.”
Paul’s words also illustrate the point I’m making. His burdensome experience wielded benefits for the spiritual realm. Referring to an affliction he encountered in Asia, he wrote: “We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should trust not in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
Like Paul, pain inevitably draws me closer to the Lord. That’s why I can thank Him for the pain, as explained in the poem that follows.
THANK YOU FOR THE PAIN
Thank you for the broken heart;
it is softer than before.
Since the pain ripped it apart
it’s insensitive no more.
How can I salute the pain?
Now I am more prone to pray,
to yield to my Savior’s reign,
and to let Him have His way.
I’ve no choice but to depend
on the Lord’s sustaining grace.
And He’ll pay a dividend
for each tear upon my face.
For God accepts as sacrifice
a heart that’s broken in two.
He’s already paid the price
for all that I’m going through.
There is no way I would choose
the hurt, all the times I’ve cried.
Yet it’s a gift I won’t refuse,
for it cleanses me inside.
I’m driven to wield Your Sword;
to give the Spirit His due.
So thank you for the pain, Lord,
for it draws me close to you.
When has pain of some sort prompted your desperate dependence on the Lord?