Suffering drives us toward God to pray as we never would otherwise. At first this experience of prayer is usually dry and painful. But if we are not daunted and cling to him, we will often find greater depths of experience and, yes, of divine love and joy than we thought possible. As pastor John Newton wrote to a grieving woman, ‘Above all, keep close to the throne of grace [in prayer]. If we seem to get no good by attempting to draw near him, we may be sure we shall get none by keeping away from him.'”
Tim Keller, Walking With God Through Pain & Suffering
The reality of this statement is weighty and very helpful. The acknowledgement that prayer can be “dry and painful” is incredibly freeing as it reminds a woman who is hurting that she is ok, that her faith is still in tact… even if she doesn’t feel that truth, even if when turning to God feels painful. When this reality goes unaddressed or unsaid women who love God but are experiencing no desire to pray will be confused and disoriented in their faith, asking questions about whether her beliefs are even real; all of which can quickly lead to despair.
And the acknowledgement of “greater depths” of knowing, understanding, and loving God will result when we push through the dryness and the loneliness and the pain is incredibly encouraging and hope-filled. A helpful reminder that there is joy to be had on the other side of this pain.
And lastly, the statement, “we may be sure we shall get none [good] by keeping away from him.” A most helpful reminder that there is no good apart from God. We can try to seek healing and comfort in a million different ways, but all will fall short, all will result in empty efforts. He alone can fully heal our hearts.
VERSES OF HOPE
“Apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
“I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.'” Psalm 16:2
“O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” Psalm 30:2