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Pressing Through the Pain

July 1, 2019

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a (NKJV)

Does it ever feel like the heartbreak in your life is trying to break you?

I understand. I’ve been in that place where the pain of heartbreak hits with such sudden and sharp force that it feels like it cuts through skin and bone. It’s the kind of pain that leaves us wondering if we’ll ever be able to function like a normal person again.

But God has been tenderly reminding me that pain itself is not the enemy. Pain is the indicator that brokenness exists.

Pain is the reminder that the real enemy is trying to take us out and bring us down by keeping us stuck in broken places. Pain is the gift that motivates us to fight with brave tenacity and fierce determination, knowing there’s healing on the other side.

And in the in-between? In that desperate place where we aren’t quite on the other side of it all yet, and our heart still feels quite raw?

Pain is the invitation for God to move in and replace our faltering strength with His. I’m not writing that to throw out spiritual platitudes that sound good; I write it from the depth of a heart that knows it’s the only way.

We must invite God into our pain to help us survive the desperate in-between.

The only other choice is to run from the pain by using some method of numbing. But numbing the pain — with food, achievements, drugs, alcohol or sex — never goes to the source of the real issue to make us healthier. It only silences our screaming need for help.

We think we are freeing ourselves from the pain when, in reality, what numbs us imprisons us. If we avoid the hurt, the hurt creates a void in us. It slowly kills the potential for our hearts to fully feel, fully connect, fully love again. It even steals the best in our relationship with God.

Pain is the sensation that indicates a transformation is needed. There is a weakness where new strength needs to enter in. And we must choose to pursue long-term strength rather than temporary relief.

So how do we get this new strength? How do we stop ourselves from chasing what will numb us when the deepest parts of us scream for some relief? How do we stop the piercing pain of this minute, this hour?

We invite God’s closeness.

For me, this means praying. No matter how vast our pit, prayer is big enough to fill us with the realization of His presence like nothing else.

Our key verse (James 4:8a) reminds us that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. When we invite Him close, He always accepts our invitation.

And on the days when my heart feels hurt and my words feel quite flat, I let Scripture guide my prayers — recording His Word in my journal, and then adding my own personal thoughts.

One of my personal favorites to turn to is Psalm 91. I would love to share this verse with you today, as an example for when you prayerfully invite God into your own pain.

Verse: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1, NIV)

Prayer: Lord, draw me close.

Your Word promises when I draw close to You, You are there. I want my drawing close to be a permanent dwelling place.

I am not alone, because You are with me. I am not weak, because Your strength is infused in me. I am not empty, because I’m drinking daily from Your fullness. You are my dwelling place. And in You I have shelter from every stormy circumstance and harsh reality. I’m not pretending the hard things don’t exist, but I am rejoicing in the fact that Your covering protects me and prevents those hard things from affecting me like they used to.

You, the Most High, have the final say over me. You know me and love me intimately. And today I declare that I will trust You in the midst of my pain. You are my everyday dwelling place, my saving grace.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

And with that I close my prayer journal, feeling a lot less desperate and a lot more whole. I breathe the atmosphere of life His words bring.

I picture Him standing at the door of my future, knocking. If I will let Him enter into the darkness of my hurt today, He will open wide the door to a much brighter tomorrow.

Learn how to steady your soul through prayer and overcome feelings of helplessness by inviting God into your situation with my Steady Your Soul: A 21-day Prayer and Journal Experience.

It’s our gift to you when you donate to Proverbs 31 Ministries HERE.

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  1. Laurel Scherer

    Thank you for sharing this. After 38 years of stuffing feelings from sexual, physical, and emotional abuse…I stepped into the light. I still struggle with numbing myself from the pain of that abuse by cutting and burning myself. I do see a therapist who is working with me on opening my heart and accepting the pain and allowing God in to heal it.

  2. KG

    Perfect timing for this message today. A day I feel weak & need His Strength to carry on.

  3. TMat

    I am in the midst of a marital separation and right before reading this asked come to come into my broken heart and give me healing. I believe he directed me right to this site as I have never been here before. Trusting him in the middle of my storm is my mission now.

    Thank you so much for this

  4. Drucilla Ray

    You are right on target with the Psalms 91:1. That is my “Help, call 911”. I read it every day (the whole 91 chapter) I have ministered to others with it during the past year. Thank you for the e-mails and your ministry.

  5. Trish Goings

    This article and prayer really gave me a different prospective on getting through pain.
    As it stands tight now. I’m looking for hope to get through this storm.

  6. Crystal

    God blessed me with the gift of dissociation; however, I have not felt as far as I feel from Him in many years. The pain is often unbearable and the isolation is worse. Please pray with me that the days ahead get better.

  7. Leah Gonzalez

    This topic reminds me of a time a few years ago when my husband and I went through a major marriage issue. Thoughts that had been dormant were brought to the surface and I knew for things to heal I could discuss them and he and I could work things out or I could wish for the time when we kept it hidden under the rug. The hard conversations were not easy and some days I wondered if we’d ever get to a place of love and joy again. Thanks be to God and some hard work we did. The pain was definitely a sign of work needing to be done and I’m grateful now we didn’t ignore it. ❤️

  8. Yolanda Conner

    Hi Lysa, A couple of weeks ago I read It’s not supposed to be this way and completed the workbook as well with a small group. Wow! Your book is exactly what I needed and your story hit home. I am living in the mess as I write and it’s so so hard! Your words of wisdom and faith are a huge testimony to me and I’m so grateful for your raw openness. There are days I feel I can get through this uncertainty and the unknown, but others I feel extremely hopeless and scared!
    I know you are extremely busy and usually don’t write to your followers, but if you can reach out to me it would be greatly appreciated.
    Much Love and God bless,
    Yolanda Conner

  9. Betty

    So Ms. Lisa, I was reading the First 5 devotional and was wondering if you found out what caused that condition with your colon, why did it just happen out of the blue? I’m living through a painful situation myself that’s been ongoing. It’s barely any pain compared to what you went through but it’s there & irritating and keeping me from being me. So your words this morning were very insightful for me. ❤

  10. Renee

    Your story resonates with me. I am walking in your footsteps and am trying to learn from your faithfulness, but it is so very hard. I know that God is with me, but I am not sure the message I am getting is truly from God or is my own mind telling me to hope for reconciliation. I believe that God sometimes must break things so that he can fix them and He has definitely allowed our 25 year marriage to break into shreds. I believe that God is telling me to have patience, hope, and love but my husband’s heart is hard and his mind is set. He has told me there is no hope, he is done. I. Am. Broken.

    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Renee, we are deeply sorry for this pain you are experiencing. I am pausing to pray for you right now. – Amanda, LT Ministry Team

  11. Debbie Menchaca

    I try to keep up with all of your readings. Lysa, you have helped me get through a lot and I ask that you keep me in prayer as I continue this journey with you and I challenge to take another certification test for my degree.

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Lysa TerKeurst