Joni and Friends
Inward Pain

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?”

Proverbs 18:14

Which pain is worse, emotional or physical? Like you, I’ve faced both kinds: crushing physical pain with no position in which I can get comfortable; crushing heartache in which my head spins with grief and I can’t stop the tears.

Physical pain is curious. You can almost distract yourself from it. Sometimes you can push physical pain right out of your thoughts by crowding your time and attention with other things. Even in a wheelchair, I’ve devised clever ways to forget about my paralysis.

Ah, but inside suffering, that’s another matter. You can’t put mental anguish or heartache behind you. Those hurts create an emptiness that refuses to be pushed or crowded out of your thoughts. It bites. Gnaws. Grinds away at your sanity.

You’ve felt that way. Your heart has been stomped on; your feelings have been trampled. A slandered reputation…a love relationship spurned…painful memories of abuse. Yes, I’m convinced emotional pain is much worse than physical pain. But I’m also convinced it does something to our heart that physical pain often can’t. Inner anguish melts the heart, making our souls pliable and bendable. Because we can’t drive it from our thoughts, it forces us to embrace God out of desperate, urgent need.

Think about the ways in which God says he will take care of inner anguish. He proclaims that he holds you in the palm of his hand, that he hides you in the cleft of his rock, that he carries you in his bosom. He sustains you with his grace; he sets your feet on a high place; he shelters you underneath his wings. God is never closer than when your heart is aching. Read the psalms until you find one that reminds you of God’s presence in your anguish.

Praise be to you, the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort. You heal our hearts; you are the prescription for pain. I come to you today with my urgent need. Thank you that you’ve promised you will be there to catch me.

Taken from More Precious than Silver

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Copyright © 1998
Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

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