(February 22, 2023) Dr Robert McQuillan encourages those with troubled hearts …
The following is in response to some recent questions, and requests for help and prayer, from some troubled Christians, and other conversations from yesteryear, where I’ve endeavoured to put some minds at rest.
There are times when something comes up, something is said or done that hurts so much that it stings our very hearts. Maybe something completely out of line, something nasty, accusative (maybe through misunderstanding), or even something simple, that burrows hurtfully deep in our thinking.
Do note something here: If we talk about our ‘upset heart’ we’re meaning that our emotions are upset! However, when the Bible talks about the heart, it is referring to our character… and many times it’s our character that’s been hurt, even slandered!
Jesus was cool
The first time Jesus mentioned the heart was on the sermon on the mount: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart’ (Matthew 5:8a). And what would be the outcome? ‘They shall see God’ (v8b)! And how do we see God? In the character of Jesus of course… John 14:8-11! How pure, how wise, how loving and forgiving He was – and is.
- Most importantly… Jesus never got flustered, even when wrongly accused, lied about, condemned, challenged by the ‘religious’ or the devil himself or demons. Not even on Calvary’s cross did a betrayed Jesus lose His cool! Neither with the condemning crowds, sneering religious leaders, mocking soldiers, or the insulting criminal hanging beside Him (see Luke 24). Even on Calvary His Father was with Him!
- May I be challenging here? Well I am… and cheekily! Compared to the rubbish that Jesus had flung at Him, how dare we get upset when we’re confronted! We’re supposed to reflect Jesus! (Jesus-Lord-high-above-all-else). Oh, I know it’s not easy at times… but if we really are trusting Him, we’ll overcome, come through, Hallelujah!
Two distressing areas
In considering feelings, ‘hurt’ as a verb means to cause mental pain, distress. Two areas that distress us causing mental pain are –
1) Things said and done against us by other Christians, maybe even someone we trust.
2) Something out-of-the-blue, unusual, scary, maybe a dream, a disaster, whatever… that throws us.
Whatever the source, we feel a darkness, a heaviness descending on us and our heart (emotions, character or both) is hurt and depression hits!
Regarding 1) –
Recently I’ve had to counsel and comfort some slandered leaders who’ve been betrayed by fellow Christians (I’m sad to say!), one incident being quite horrific! Note: Be spiritually wise and alert! There are lying demonic spirts around deceiving Christians (See Dr Richard Winter’s It’s a War out There. Meditations on Mark-2)!
I would share personally here… I too have known such depressing times, even being betrayed by brethren or organisations… and can tell you this: If I hadn’t known that my God loves me and is more powerful and over and above anything or anyone, I would never have arisen from a deep pit of despair, remorse and misery. Knowing God’s word I praise Him for…
- Joseph’s and Daniel’s examples.
- Daniel’s three friends’ example (Remember Oral Roberts’ most famous message, The Fourth Man in the Fire. Check YouTube).
- Scriptures such Maureen’s favourite – Proverbs 3:5-6, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.’ Proverbs 29:25, ‘Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
- Jesus’ warnings, especially His great admonition of John 14:1, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.’
Let’s unpack this last scripture… heart here is kardia (ring a bell? Cardiac troubles?). Here it relates to thoughts or feelings, and troubled is tarassō, to stir or agitate. So Jesus is directing us not to let our thoughts or feelings be stirred wrongly as to be agitated, upset.
No wonder the CJB (Complete Jewish Bible) reads, ‘Don’t let yourselves be disturbed.’ That was a positive encouragement to Jesus’ disciples back then when they would soon be losing Him in ensuing dark days. And so it is for us today, especially as we know we will never lose Him for He will never leave us! (Hebrews 13:5).
Regarding 2) –
Here again I too have experienced some strange ‘things’, deceptive dreams, weird encounters, life threating situations (such as I shared in the Spiritual safety paragraphs of Heeeeelp-Holy-Spirit).
We often talk about God’s saving grace. The principles already shared are ‘saving graces’! And I would again quote John 14:1 but from the Message Bible – ‘Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me.’
How we need to fully trust God in these uncertain times, never doubting that He is there for us, His beloved kids! If something odd or strange, even weird dreams, is bugging you, pray in confidence to our loving God (In Jesus’ name! Oh the many times I’ve heard Christians, even ministers, not using this John 14:13-14 gift of the power in His name).
Some scriptures about the mind…
- Mark 12:30 – ‘Love the Lord your God… with all your mind.’
- Luke 21:14 – ‘But make up your mind not to worry…’
- John 15:18 – ‘If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.’
- Romans 8:7CJB – ‘The mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to God.’
- Romans 12:2 – ‘… be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’
- 1 Peter 5:8 is so relevant these days! ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’
- Romans 14:13 is a warning to those who would afflict you! ‘Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.’ See also 2 Corinthians 13:11 and Philippians 2:2.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 is so comforting in looking to and trusting God! ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’
I trust that the above helps, comforts you brave soldiers of God’s army, that you’ll know that your ‘… struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’(Ephesians 6:12).
Do read verses 13-18… you will be so comforted recalling God’s helmet (think mind) and breastplate (Think heart). And, as the NLT puts verse 14, ‘stand your ground.’
If I (or Maureen) can help further, do email us! Or seek (and be open with) a local listener… your pastor, loved one, counsellor, friend. Someone you can trust.
A further thought regarding troubled hearts… if you can’t sleep, fearing some dark night ahead. Fanny Crosby’s famous 1868 hymn, Safe in the Arms of Jesus, has these comforting words…
Jesus, my heart’s dear refuge,
Jesus has died for me;
Firm on the Rock of Ages,
Ever my trust shall be.
Here let me wait with patience,
Wait till the night is o’er;
Wait till I see the morning
Break on the golden shore.
Got a question for Dr Robert or Pr Maureen McQuillan? Email either: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com
This is one of several recent articles by yourself and others to encourage and strengthen my heart.