God Can Heal a Bitter Heart
Read Job 7:1-3
"Do not mortals have hard service on earth? Are not their days like those of hired laborers? Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired laborer waiting to be paid, so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me."
- Are you ready to let God begin a sometimes painful, yet transformational, healing process within you?
- How can you let Jesus take you right to the very place that may be causing you to be emotionally and spiritually stuck--and allow Him to release you to grow?
- Here's what God wants from Job and from Kathy and from you--a desire for Him: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength' " (Mark 12:30). Is this your desire? (Please explain).
In Job's pain, he began to wonder if God's only interest in people was to scrutinize them unmercifully or to take quick offense at their tiniest faults. "I have not been perfect," he explained, "but what terrible sin have I committed to deserve this?" (see Job 7:17-21).
The roots of bitterness were entangling Job's heart, and many today share his dilemma. Let's look at the story of a suffering young woman we know named Kathy.
Kathy's childhood was marred by abuse. Parents who abused alcohol--and her. Dark closets, nightmares, and family secrets. Her teenage years brought more of the same, yet no one knew. Her college years were different: Kathy selected a school several states away from home and felt as if she had finally escaped.
No one sent her care packages or cute cards that said, "We miss you." But that was okay. She didn't really want to hear from anyone back home. She stayed on campus on the weekends and spent winter and spring breaks at the homes of her college roommates. She tried to imagine what it would be like to have a loving family to go home to.
One day, while she was studying in the library, Kathy met a guy named Jeff. Within hours the two were planning their first date. Two weeks later, they considered themselves a couple. Throughout the next semester, everything Kathy had ever known in her life had changed dramatically. Suddenly, someone loved her and believed in her.
Jeff knew God and genuinely talked to Him on a regular basis. He prayed to Jesus about Kathy, and soon she had a desire to know the Lord, too.
If the purpose of her past was to bring her to this period in time, Kathy felt it was worth what she had gone through. So she prayed and wept tears of repentance. Jesus was now real to her. She felt the love of the Father pouring down on her.
Five years later, Jeff and Kathy were now happily married, and she had grown in God's knowledge and grace. However, even though she and Jeff had a supportive fellowship family, Kathy's relationship with her parents was completely broken. In fact, she did her best not to think about her past.
In the months that followed, Jeff and Kathy became avid hikers. During one of their treks on property Jeff had inherited, they discover a piece of paradise in the woods--and even began making plans to build a log cabin at the location.
Anxious to get started, Jeff and Kathy broke ground, slinging shovels full of dirt into a wheelbarrow. Suddenly, they encountered a problem. Jeff hit something solid with his shovel. It just wouldn't budge.
In the exact place the foundation footers were to be dug, a root of massive proportions was discovered beneath the surface. Swinging the mattock as hard as he could and striking the root with all his might, Jeff couldn't even chip it. The thing seemed to be petrified.
As Kathy watched her husband battle the root, a wave of emotion overtook her. She sat on the ground and continued to watch.
Jeff attacked the root from every angle--then discovered that the main root had a network of smaller roots that were intertwined and gnarled together underground. This is what made the ground rock solid.
Frustrated, Kathy got up and walked away. She simply couldn't give up their plans to build the cabin on this spot with the perfect view. Hiking to rock cliffs high above the valley, she pulled out a pocket Bible and began to read.
Quietly, God spoke to her: The root is deep and it has become hard like stone. Even though it is deep and seems impossible to remove, it isn't. You can't remove it alone, but I will remove it for you if you will allow Me to.
It was a moment Kathy would never forget. She felt the awe of God speaking intimately to her. And she knew that her Father wasn't talking about the root Jeff was trying to remove. She knew He was telling her about the petrified root in her heart. She had tried to keep the hate and lack of forgiveness hidden below the surface. Now she wanted it out of her life.
Right there on that ridge, the love of God began to melt her--and tears began to fall. She squeezed her eyes shut and continued to pray: "I can't deal with this any longer, Lord. Remove this lifelong root of pain and bitterness. Take it away from me, and in its place give me love and forgiveness. Heal me from my past. Let me love the family who hurt me. Allow them to see Your love living in me, and save them in Jesus' name."
Lord, I desire You. I don't want anything to hinder our relationship. Go deep into my heart and uproot bitterness and sin and shame. Amen.