Sometimes life leaves us with a hurt or pain that lingers. A thorn in the side, as the Apostle Paul referred to his unnamed struggle. You may be facing loneliness, illness, weariness, fear, or a broken heart. God may seem silent or cruel.
We know that God can heal, but what about when He chooses not to? What about when God doesn’t make life better the way you think he should? These are the types of questions Mary Ann Froehlich pursues in her new release Living with Thorns. Froehlich, music therapist and teacher, has worked in hospitals, schools, churches, and private practices. The examples she shares are from real life. The comfort and hope she offers is also real.
Below is a short exerpt from one of her chapters.
After teaching her morning Bible study, Liz returned home to find a note left by her husband. He had packed his things and left. Liz never saw this coming; she was blindsided. She and her husband had been married twenty-five years, raised children,and been active in their church. Later she would learn that her husband had become involved with a female co-worker in his office.
Liz hoped for reconciliation, but her husband pursued a
divorce. During the first weeks of her initial shock, Liz experienced chest pains so severe that she went to the hospital. She thought that she was having a heart attack, but instead her heart was breaking.
Scientists recently have named this experience stress cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome. The symptoms are similar to a heart attack but do not normally cause permanent damage. Older women are the majority of sufferers. Severe sadness and shock can create high levels of stress hormones, catecholamines, in our bloodstream, which may affect the heart. Patients have trouble breathing and feel intense pain.
Depression and loneliness have also been linked to heart disease. Different from cardiomyopathy, these extended experiences can have long-term effects. Suffering a broken heart is a true phenomenon, and it is centuries old.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:2-3 NIV)
Our Lord is the doctor of our souls. God knows us at our core because He created our fragile minds and bodies. Isaiah tells us that he came to heal the brokenhearted.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners. (Isaiah 61:1NIV)
We may experience a broken heart through rejection or betrayal by a spouse, parent, or child. Our hearts may feel broken due to a traumatic loss. We grieve our own brokenness. This pain is the offering we lay on the altar: “My sacrifice is this broken spirit, you will not scorn this crushed and broken heart” (Psalm 51:17 TJB).
God understands and is tender with our broken hearts. He is the perfect parent who wraps His arms around us and never lets go as we weep.
Put your head on the chest of God and weep. -Nicole Johnson
Taken from Living with Thorns
©2009 by Mary Ann Froehlich