“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
I always thought grief was the range of emotions people went through after the death of loved one, or a traumatic loss. I couldn’t imagine that I was in grief. After all, it was eight months already since my brother died so, I didn’t think it was from that. Yet, I couldn’t explain my feelings. I had had my heart defibrillator for about a month when the feelings began.
Have you ever had feelings of emotional pain for what you think you’ve lost, but really, you haven’t lost anything? Our hearts lead our feelings; Proverbs 4:23 tells us everything we feel flows from it. My heart was impaired. Wow, it was even painful for me to say those words. Nothing hurts like a broken heart. That’s the premise of almost every good Country and Western song, right? Of course, those songs are talking about a metaphorical broken heart. But, what about when your heart begins to hurt physically? Can’t that mess with your mind too? You bet it can.
During Lent, we intentionally spend greater time in prayer, meditation and fasting to grow stronger spiritually as we get closer to Christ. The closer we grow to Him, the more the hidden desires of our hearts are revealed. Do we really want His will for our lives? What about what we’ve always wanted for our lives? And how about this one? Doesn’t the Bible say, “…He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4) Yes it does. But, that is a promise only to those who “delight” themselves in the Lord.
To delight oneself in the Lord is to want for our lives, whatever He wants. If that means we must go through hard times and tragedies, we can rest knowing that while Jesus didn’t cause them, He will help us learn from them. The difficulties of life are either the result of our own making, or the consequence of living in a fallen world. Such difficulties leave us with wounded hearts. But, when we bring our hearts to Christ, He is always faithful to renew them. We must always surrender our hearts to whatever Jesus wants for our lives – no matter what.
In my case, I was depressed thinking of what I thought I’d lost, because I had to have a small electrical machine wired to my heart to keep it safe from its own genetic defect. Would I ever be the same again? Would I be able to play with my kids? And, what about growing old with my wife and being active for the grandkids I hoped to have some day? The doctor never told me I’d be missing out on any of those things. I assumed them. Like many of us, I assumed the worst.
I knew something was wrong with my feelings. I knew in my faith I should have peace of heart, but I didn’t. With the help of a new friend I met that year (Who was going through the same thing), I began to realize I was grieving. I feared accidentally doing something too strenuous for my heart that would cause my defibrillator to shock me. Of course, I knew that if I were shocked, that meant I’d have been dead without it. Suddenly I felt so mortal. What if it shocked me while I was driving, or perhaps while preaching? Our minds can conjure up all kinds of worries. But, once I admitted I was grieving for things I hadn’t even lost yet, I began to deal with it.
What about you? Are you grieving for something you haven’t even lost yet? Don’t let your heart hurt over things you can’t control. Jesus wants to bring peace to your heart. The prophet Isaiah promised the peace of Christ to all who will trust Him:
Thou dost keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee,
because he trusts in thee.
Trust in the Lord for ever,
for the Lord God
is an everlasting rock.
Won’t you renew your heart today by bringing all your cares to Him? Let Jesus give you a heart of perfect peace. Hearts of Perfect peace trust the keeper of their heart for everything.
My daily Lenten prayer – “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit. ” NRSV