“My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be.” Psalm 42
I remember sitting in my daddy’s lap while we watched Bo and Luke Duke outfox Boss Hogg on The Dukes of Hazard. Yee-haw! I recall my parents moving me into the dorm and saying to my mom, “Well, you aren’t just going to just leave me here, are you?” Yes. I think that was the general idea. I remember the first time I talked to my husband on the phone while sitting on my parents’ bed, twirling the phone cord in my fingers. And I can still hear my babies’ first cries and think back upon weeping as I held their tiny bodies. I recollect times when I felt so close to Jesus that I was literally surrounded by Him.
Warm, fuzzy memories are great. They usually bring a smile to our face and a little pep to our step. But oddly enough, there are times when remembering the good ol’ days can also break our hearts. Can you relate to this part of Psalm 42: “My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?”
In seasons of struggle, heart ache, and discouragement, we can be tempted to look back and remember the feelings we used to have when we were closer to God or when life seemed brighter. You remember feeling great joy as you led other women worshiping God. You reminisce about the delight you once felt when you taught Bible Study. Feelings of love and hope come to mind when you recall how vibrant your prayer life used to be. And it breaks your heart. You would love nothing more than to have those feelings again.
The problem is that our feelings can be fickle, and we’ve got to dwell upon much more than our feelings. We must dwell upon God and fix Him in our minds. Choose worship, and experience a fresh encounter with Christ.
Even when it feels like miles of wasteland stretch between us and God, we must remember Him. Remember His goodness. His mercy. His forgiveness. His pursuit of us. His incredible love. His radical grace. His faithfulness. His presence even when we are distant.
You may feel like God is not with you or does not hear you in the midst of your struggles. You may feel like your cries for help are merely bouncing off your ceiling. However, the truth of the Bible is that God is always powerfully at work in our lives. Even when we are feeling our most defeated and loneliest. Remember that you are not alone!
In the midst of every emotion, there is one constant. God cares and is with you! God cares deeply about every emotion swirling in our hearts. If you are on the mountaintop and feeling like things couldn’t be better, God cares for you and is with you! If you are currently experiencing hurt or disappointment in ministry, remember this, God cares and is always with you!
God is close to you when you feel alone. He’s close to you when you cry. He’s close to you when you wonder how you’ll move forward. Pour out your pain to God, and move closer to Him. The best news is, emotions are fleeting. We can choose how we direct our thoughts and energy. Instead of nursing our pain, we can find freedom in choosing to cling to our hope in God.
Lori Wilhite serves alongside her husband Jud who is the Senior Pastor at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas. They love getting to be part of God changing Sin City into Grace City. She is the founder of Leading and Loving It and is also the co-author of Leading and Loving It: Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives and Women in Leadership.