... It’s a sheer act of will, this worship. Many of our painful relationships could be put to right, at least in the way we frame them, if we spent more time shouting about God’s goodness than yelling at or about the people who hurt us. As we evaluate the difficult people in our lives in the midst of worship, we will be able to see them as gifts. 

- Mary DeMuth from The Wall Around Your Heart: How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You

When people and circumstances hurt us, worship is often the farthest song from our lips. But if we can replace the “woe-is-me” and the “why’s” with worship, we might find a new perspective that can set us on the path to healing. Mary writes:

God sends winds (trials) our way to blow away the chaff in our lives. But He also sends people to pluck what is atrophying in our hearts. Both the wind and the people are gifts. We must start with that mind-set...

I sat across a more seasoned pastor’s wife and shared a few surprises we’d experienced in ministry...rather hurtful ones. We'd all had hurts we couldn't have foreseen, dodged or avoided. The honest truth is that if the Lord had told me the game plan, the stuff that awaited us, I don’t think I could have made my feet trudge that journey. They were some of my worst fears. Fires I would have never in a million years wanted to walk through. But on the other side of the storms, we saw God’s faithfulness in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. Exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine ways. Pain worthy of praise.

I’m not really good at it, but I am practicing knees-to-the-earth-gratitude in the face of pain. And more and more it is becoming... third nature, not quite second, but I’m growing. 

This past Summer my grandma, who was very dear to my heart, passed away. Family circumstances added painful drama to the grief of her passing. But when the news came, through the hot tears, words of thanks came from my heart to my Father in heaven. Thanks for her life and the blessing she’d been to me. 

The praise doesn’t erase the pain, but it puts a bounding on it. Whether it’s grief over the loss of a loved one, or the loss of love and trust in a relationship, our sacrifice of praise and trust in our Lord binds our heart to the Father and bounds the influence the pain has on our soul. A position of praise also makes room for growth and good to come. For healing to come. 

Here’s some questions from Mary to ponder and pray through in your healing process:

  • What role has worship played in your difficult friendships? How might choosing to worship help you cope with further pain?
  • How does seeing relational pain as kinship with Jesus help you frame the way you see it?
  • Looking back on painful relationships, how have they become gifts to you? When is it hard to see them that way?

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