“My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be. …” Psalm 42:4a (NLT)
How do you recover from a broken heart? Few things in life are more painful. Whether it was from a failed relationship, death, divorce, disease, or disaster, most of what causes our hearts to break share one thing in common – irreversible loss. The Psalmist experienced a broken heart from a national calamity that exiled him to a place far from home. Longing for what he once enjoyed, he cried, “My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be. …”
Are you heartbroken from some irreversible change? Memories of how your life used to be leave you depressed with how it is today. A pastor I know suffered a horrific accident that rocked his world and would change his life in an instant. Nothing would be the same. Years of therapy and loss of ministry and income left him depressed and confused. He became disillusioned with God. As he began to process his pain, he called it the new normal! The one constant in life is change. Nothing remains the same and uninvited irreversible change can be heart breaking.
In Psalm 42 we find hope for the brokenhearted. It’s one of those unique interactive Psalms where the reader is invited to process his 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 Savior and my God!” and then he adds this in verse 6, “Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember You. …”
Wow! Talk about antidepressants for the soul! When your heart is broken do what this Psalmist did:
1. Admit it.
Denying your pain or hiding behind a fake “ministry smile” is disingenuous and doesn’t work. It only represses the pain, creating more problems later. Don’t repress the pain you feel, express it to God. The Psalmist wasn’t afraid to say, “I am discouraged. My heart is sad.” Psalm 42:5 (NLT) These are natural responses to irreversible loss. We all feel them when our heart is broken. No one is so spiritual they are immune to that kind of pain.
2. Affirm your faith.
Once he expressed his pain openly and honestly, he was able to affirm his faith in God. He said, “I will put my trust in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God!” (Vs. 6) Even when the loss is irreversible, it’s still only temporary! Even when everything feels all wrong, one day everything will be ALL right. After much suffering, the apostle Paul wrote, “That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine. We don’t look for things that can be seen but for things that can’t be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can’t be seen last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (GW) 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!
3. Remember God’s goodness.
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 Bible says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted 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.