By David Wilkerson
In one way or another, we are all hurting. Everyone is in the same boat. Even the laughing, happy-go-lucky crowd is hurting. They try to hide their hurt by drinking and joking, but it won’t go away.
Who hurts? The parents of a son or daughter who is missing or who has rejected their love. Millions of parents have been deeply wounded by children who have rejected their counsel. These loving parents grieve over the deception and delinquency of children who were once tender and good.
The victims of divorce are hurting. The abandoned wife whose husband rejected her for another woman is hurting. The husband who lost the love of a wife is hurting. The children who lost their security are hurting.
Others suffer illness: cancer, heart problems, and a myriad of other human diseases. To be told by a doctor, “You have cancer; you may die!” has to be terrifying. Yet many reading this message have experienced such pain and agony.
A loving friendship breaks up. A boyfriend or girlfriend walks away trampling on what was once a beautiful relationship. All that is left is a broken, wounded heart.
And what about the unemployed? The despondent ones whose dreams have collapsed? The shut-ins? The prisoners? The homosexuals? The alcoholics?
It is true! In one way or another we are all hurting. Every person on this earth carries his own burden of pain and hurt.
There Is No Physical Cure
When you are deeply hurt, no person on this earth can shut out the innermost fears and agonies. The best of friends cannot really understand the battle you are going through or the wounds inflicted on you.
Only God can shut out the waves of depression and feelings of loneliness and failure which come over you. Faith in God’s love alone can salvage the hurt mind. The bruised and broken heart that suffers in silence can be healed only by a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, and nothing short of divine intervention really works.
God has to step in and take over. He has to intercept our lives at the breaking point, stretch forth His loving arms, and bring that hurting body and mind under His protection and care. God must come forth as a caring Father and demonstrate that He is there, making things turn out for good. He must, by His own power, dispel the storm clouds, chase away the despair and gloom, wipe away the tears, and replace the sorrow with peace of mind.
Your hurt is so debilitating that it makes you feel that there is something terribly wrong with you. You even question your sanity at times. From somewhere deep inside you, a voice whispers, “Maybe I’m defective, somehow. Maybe I’m being hurt so deeply because God can’t see much good in me.”
Friends Try So Hard to Help
A bruised or broken heart causes the most excruciating pain known to mankind. Most other human hurts are only physical, but a heart that is wounded must carry a pain that is both physical and spiritual. Friends and loved ones can help soothe the physical pain of a broken heart. When they are there, laughing, loving, and caring, the physical pain eases, and there is temporary relief. But the night falls, and with it comes the terror of spiritual agony. Pain is always worse in the night. Loneliness falls like a cloud, when the sun disappears. The hurting explodes when you are all alone, trying to understand how to cope with the inner voices and fears that keep surfacing.
Your friends, who really don’t understand what you are going through, offer all kinds of easy solutions. They get impatient with you. They are mostly happy and carefree, at the time; and they can’t understand why you don’t simply snap out of it. They suspect that you are indulging in self-pity. They remind you that the world is filled with heartbroken, hurting people who have survived. More often, they give that one-time, cure-all, solve-everything piece of advice. They tell you to: “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps,” and walk away from your despair.
That’s all well and good, but this kind of advice usually comes from people who have never known much suffering in their own lives. They are like Job’s babysitters, who knew all the answers, but who could not relieve his pain. Job said to them, “You are all physicians of no value” (Job 13:4). Thank God for well-meaning friends, but if they could experience your agony for even one hour, they would be changing their tunes. Put them in your place just once, feeling what you feel, experiencing the inner pain you carry, and they would be saying to you, “How in the world can you take it? I couldn’t handle what you are going through!”
Time Heals Nothing
Then there is that age-old cliché: “Time heals all wounds.” You are told to hang in there, put on a smile, and wait for time to anesthetize your pain. But I suspect all the rules and clichés about loneliness are coined by happy, unhurt people. It sounds good, but it is not true. Time heals nothing; only God heals!
When you are hurting, time only magnifies the pain. Days and weeks go by, and the agony hangs on. The hurting won’t go away, no matter what the calendar says. Time may push the pain deeper into the mind, but one tiny memory can bring it to the surface.
People seldom get hurt just once. Most who hurt can show you other wounds also. Pain is layered over pain. A broken heart is usually a tender, fragile one. It is easily broken because it is not protected by a hard shell. Tenderness is mistaken for vulnerability by the hard-shelled heart. Quietness is misjudged as a weakness. The tender heart that is not afraid to admit its need of love is often misjudged.
It follows then that a tender heart which reaches for love and understanding is often the easiest to break. Hearts that are open and trusting are usually the ones that are wounded the most.
This world is filled with men and women who have rejected the love offered to them from a heart that is gentle and tender. These strong, hard-shelled hearts that trust no one, hearts that give so little hearts that demand love be constantly proved, hearts that are always calculating, hearts that are always manipulating and self-serving, hearts that are afraid to risk are the ones that seldom get broken. They don’t get wounded, because there is nothing to wound. They are too proud and self-centered to allow anyone else to make them suffer in any way. They go about breaking other hearts and trampling on the fragile souls who touch their lives, simply because they are so thick and dull at heart themselves, and they think everyone should be just as they are. The hard hearts don’t like the tears. They hate commitment. They feel smothered when asked to share from their own hearts.
Is there balm for the broken heart? Is there healing for those deep, inner hurts? Can the pieces be put back together and the heart be made even stronger? Can the person who has known such horrible pain and suffering rise out of the ashes of depression and find a new and more powerful way of life? Yes! Absolutely yes!
Let me share a few simple thoughts about how to cope with your hurt.
1. Stop trying to figure out why you got hurt. What has happened to you is a very common ailment among mankind. Your situation is not unique at all. It is the way of human nature. Whether you were right or wrong means absolutely nothing at this point. All that matters now is your willingness to move on in God and trust His mysterious workings in your life. The Bible says:
“Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 4:12,13).
God didn’t promise you a painless way of life: He promised you a way of escape. He promised you help to put you back on your feet when weakness makes you stagger. So lay off all your guilt trips. Stop condemning yourself. Stop trying to figure out what you did wrong. It is what you are thinking right now that really counts with God.
2. When you hurt the worst, go to a secret place and weep out all your bitterness. Jesus wept. Peter wept bitterly! Peter carried with him the hurt of denying the very Son of God. He walked alone on the mountains, weeping in sorrow. Those bitter tears worked a sweet miracle in him. He came back to shake the world.
A woman who had endured a mastectomy wrote a book entitled First You Cry. How true! Recently I talked with a friend who was just informed he had terminal cancer. “The first thing you do,” he said, “is cry until there are no more tears left. Then you begin to move closer to Jesus, until you know His arms are holding you tight.”
Jesus never looks away from a crying heart. He said, “A broken heart will I not despise” (see Psalms 51:17). Not once will the Lord say, “get a hold of yourself! Stand up and take your medicine! Grit and dry your tears.” No! Jesus bottles every tear in His eternal container.
Do you hurt? Bad? Then go ahead and cry! And keep on crying until the tears stop flowing. But let those tears originate only from hurt, and not from unbelief or self-pity.
3. Convince yourself you will survive, you will come out of it; and live or die, you will belong to the Lord. Life does go on. You would be surprised how much you can bear, with God helping you. Happiness is not living without pain or hurt – not at all. True happiness is learning how to live one day at a time, in spite of all the sorrow and pain. It is learning how to rejoice in the Lord, no matter what has happened in the past.
You may feel rejected. You may feel abandoned. Your faith may be weak. You may think you are down for the count. Sorrow, tears, pain, and emptiness may swallow you up, at times; but God is still on His throne. He is still God!
You can’t help yourself. You can’t stop the pain and hurt. But our blessed Lord will come to you, and he will place his loving hand under you and lift you up to to sit in heavenly places. He will deliver you from the fear of dying. He will reveal his endless love for you. Look up! Encourage yourself in the Lord. When the fog surrounds you and you can’t see any way out of your dilemma, lie back in the arms of Jesus and simply trust him. He has to do it all! He wants your faith and confidence.
He wants you to cry aloud, “Jesus loves me! He is with me! He will not fail me! He is working it all out, right now! I will not be cast down! I will not be a victim! I will not lose my mind or direction! God is on my side! I love Him and He loves me!”
The bottom line is faith. And faith rests on this one absolute: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10