Dealing With Heartbreak
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Hebrews 4:16
He was gone.
The click on the other end of the phone line as he hung up on me with a brief, mumbled “I’m so sorry,” was like a punch to my stomach. “No, wait! Please don’t!” I cried out, but it was over. I remember falling to my knees, sobbing; the phone slipping from my hand and clattering onto the floor.
Later, as I curled up on my bed in the fetal position, with my mom stroking my hair back from my face and with hiccups shaking my body from all the tears I had shed, my broken heart felt betrayed by God. “Why are you doing this, Lord?”
Seven years have passed since that very pivotal moment in my life. You never forget your first real heartbreak, and even recalling that scene in my story still makes me cringe. I want to wrap my arms around that shattered little girl and tell her everything will be ok. That she still had so much to learn, and that this wouldn’t be the last time she felt like this, but God wasn’t to blame for what had happened. In fact, I would have told her that she should have been praising and worshiping God in the midst of the sorrow because there was a reason for this incident and that there was blessing and joy ahead!
But let’s be honest…we don’t understand that promise when we’re overwhelmed with grief and pain. I certainly didn’t believe it then. And I still have days when circumstances make it hard to believe it now. We have a powerful Enemy who preys on our human thoughts and feelings and is quick to direct our attitudes either toward condemning ourselves, or blaming God when circumstances don’t go according to our plan. And the greatest lesson I needed to learn through that night, and throughout the years that have followed? God is not the Great Punisher in the sky.
God isn’t sitting up in Heaven with a lightning bolt in His hand, waiting to strike if I slip up. He isn’t waiting for me to say or do the wrong thing so that He can yank the rug out from underneath my feet and send me sprawling. No... the God I serve and pledge my life to is merciful, loving and all-powerful, all-knowing, and full of grace! We are chosen, adopted and redeemed through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our sins.
And [God] raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. -Ephesians 2:7-9
We are free from sin’s grip and condemnation on our lives. Through Jesus, we receive mercy and grace.
And yet, how often do you catch yourself with that negative thought in your head and heart, “If only I had/hadn’t_____, then this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe if I had tried harder…maybe if I had been a better person…then I wouldn’t be in this place now, and God wouldn’t be punishing me?"
What if instead you leaned into this perspective: “What did God just save me from?”
I have found in my own life that when I look back on the situations where I thought my world was falling apart, God was actually being very merciful and loving in His sovereignty. He is a good God, and He works all things for His glory. Looking back, I can see His protection and grace in my life so clearly! I can boldly approach Him with confidence and know that His plan and purpose for me is always best — even when I can’t see the outcome.
Worship Him in the midst of sorrow. Praise Him in the confusion. Believe in His promises.
And that thought you had? That mess you made? That sinful choice that led to painful consequences? Nothing is beyond His forgiveness and mercy when we truly give Him control of our lives. No matter what you are walking through, God is giving you the grace you need to overcome and conqueror sin through Jesus (Romans 8:37). God isn’t punishing you. He’s redeeming, strengthening, and preparing you for His very best!