Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Pain

The Crushed Spirit

A happy heart makes the face cheerful,
but heartache crushes the spirit

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. As Proverbs says, “Heartache crushes the spirit.”

You can almost distract yourself from physical pain. Even in a wheelchair, I’ve devised clever ways to forget about my paralysis. 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 spirit.

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. God is never closer than when your heart is aching.


The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
PSALM 34:18 (NLT)

On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky