When Love Hurts

Sharon JaynesEnough, Identity in Christ, Living Free 70 Comments

Sometimes life is just plain hard, and we can’t understand what in the world God is doing. God showed me a picture to help me when I don’t understand  the pain of it all. Come sit with me in a hospital room.

“Mommy, Mommy,” Steven cried. “Don’t let them hurt me!”

My son, Steven, was about 3 years old when he contracted a severe case of the flu. His slumped body snuggled listlessly in my lap like an old, worn rag doll.

When I carried him into the medical clinic, the doctor quickly diagnosed dehydration and immediately sent us to the hospital.

My heart ripped apart as the nurses strapped my little boy onto a table and began placing IVs in his tiny arms.

“Mommy, Mommy,” Steven cried. “Make them stop! They’re hurting me.”

“No, honey,” I tried to assure him. “They’re going to make you all better.”

“Mommy, help me!”

Steven cried. I cried. The nurses cried.

I could only imagine what was going through Steven’s little mind. Why are these people hurting me? Why doesn’t Mommy make them stop? She must not love me. She’s not protecting me. If she loved me she wouldn’t let them do this. She must not care about me.

Standing in the corner watching my little boy cry, I wondered if how I was feeling is how God feels when I’m going through a painful situation that’s for my ultimate good. I cry out, “God, why are You letting this happen? Don’t You love me? Don’t You care about what’s happening to me? Why don’t You make it stop?”

It was a picture I would not soon forget. I envisioned God speaking to me in my pain. You don’t understand the reason for the pain. You might think I’ve deserted you, but I will never leave you. You might think I don’t love you, but I love you to the height of heaven and the depth of the sea. You might think I don’t care about what’s happening to you, but I am orchestrating your days and care about every hair on your head. My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. Yes, I do care about you and what is happening to you. In the end, this will make you better.

C.S. Lewis, who watched his beloved wife die of cancer, put it this way: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Because God loves us, He desires our conformity more than our comfort. Allowing troubles, trials, and pain is one of the ways our loving God makes that so. No one likes to be stuck with a sharp needle; but if the needle brings healing or prevents greater suffering in the future, it’s just what we need. Faith in Jesus Christ does not guarantee an easy life, but a perfect eternity.

I don’t know what you are going through today. It could be the toughest time of your life. But I do know that during tough times the devil will tell you that God doesn’t love you, doesn’t care about you, or isn’t going to do anything to help. Don’t listen to him. He is a liar—an opportunist who looks for times of vulnerability to try and get you to question God’s power, provision, and promises.

When we feel like Steven did in that hospital room, that our Heavenly Father is standing in the corner and not doing anything, we can know that He is. Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17 NIV)

No matter what you are going through today, remember this:

God loves you.

God is good.

God wants what’s best for you.

God is always at work on your behalf.

And you can trust Him.

That’s the truth.

Heavenly Father, sometimes life is just hard. I’ll be honest, sometimes I feel like You are standing in the corner watching and not working. However, I know in my heart and mind that is not true. Thank You for the truth that You will never leave me nor forsake me, and that You are always working for my good even when I can’t see it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Can you believe that God has a greater plan in your situation today? If so, leave a comment and we’ll cheer you on!

Ready to replace those lies with truth? Join Sharon in the FREE Mindset-Reset challenge. Today’s devotion was adapted from her book, Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence. It’s time to silence the voices in your head that say you’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough…or just not enough, period. Let’s trade in the self-defeating thoughts for God’s truth that you are an incredible woman of worth who is uniquely fashioned and empowered by God!

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Comments 70

  1. Thank you for your encouragement. This has been one of the most difficult seasons of life. Everything in me wanted to run and not look back. Forget everyone around that has hurt me and just leave. At the beginning of last year when my husband passed away. His words Be still and know that I am God rang through the ears of my heart. So I have stayed and kept the eyes of my heart towards Him. It hasn’t been easy, because everything I physically see seems more than I can handle. So thank you for the confirmation of trust Him even when it hurts. Thank you!

    1. Melinda,
      This devotional was right on time….Keep your eyes on Jesus…Always know that God has his hands on you. He knew where you would be at this very moment….and he’s holding you through it all…Just keep praising Him in the middle of it.
      Praying with you and for you.

    1. Prayers for peace and patience. Thank you for these words of encouragement and reminder of God’s never ending love, goodness, strength and power.

  2. Thank you for the encouraging devotional. A whole lot of times I have indeed felt alone and thought God is not listening and He doesn’t care. But continuous bible study has helped me to know that He cares, He is with me and is concerned even with the smallest details of my life. I am learning to rejoice always and to completely trust in Him.

  3. Yeah I feel like Steven so many times thank you for this it really blessed my heart and open my understanding

    1. We are on a similar journey. It is the worst pain imaginable . Our daughter won’t even say why and has refused all ovetures. I continue to go to God’s promises and stand in them even when my feelings don’t match. God is good and does good. He loves me and delights in me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He will use all of this to conform me to the image of Christ. It is an ongoing heartbreak that I pray will end for you. Praying for you.

      1. I feel your pain and it’s the worst…our daughter took our two grandsons four years ago and left. Haven’t seen them since. We were so close to our grandsons and everyday I look for them and pray I see them some day. The pain is so horrible . I put my hope in Jesus and trust that someday they will come home.

  4. I just woke up to arguing. It’s 1 am and my husband came hone from work and thought he’d talk to our son who has been very distant from us the past few years. He just turned 18 so he says he doesn’t need us anymore. He also said something that felt like a knife in the heart. I don’t believe in God anymore. I never look at my emails at this time but something made me open it. First thing I saw was your message. I hope God has a better plan because I feel hopeless. Thank you for your inspirational words.

  5. I know God is working in my life today for a new apartment just like he did 6 years ago all I have to do is step aside it will happen in his perfect time thank u for all the encouragement

  6. Thank you. The journey with the Lord has been a difficult one the past few years as my grown children have decided to have no relationship with me. I never get to see my grandchildren. It is hard living alone, especially on holidays. The Lord is faithful and is with me always.

    1. I’m in a similar journey. It is the worst pain imaginable . I continue to go to God’s promises and stand in them even when my feelings don’t match. God is good and does good. He loves me and delights in me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He will use all of this to conform me to the image of Christ. Praying for you

    2. God has got your back! Been there done that just hold on! It will get better

      PRAY and love and keep still and quiet

  7. I am going through painful challenges in my marriage since 2015. I had the urge to divorce but remember God hates it and I also considered the fate of my 4 kids . Almost every day my husband will find a quarrel and fight with me. I don’t trust him nor love him anymore. I have become repulsive and defensive. He is verbally abusive , reported me to the police repeatedly, got me detained at the police station, accuses me everywhere to his family , church , work place etc. of planning to kill him and take his property. Later when I asked him his reasons for the accusations he had no reason. The children observed all these and have no regards for him again. He has now started accusing me of brainwashing the children. I advised them to respect him bc he is their father but it’s not easy for them as I perceived. Later it was diagnosed that my husband is having dementia which he doesn’t take his medications bc they are costly and sometimes he denied not sick. Just a summary of my pain.
    I am a Nigerian lady married to a Ghanaian man. My parents refused the marriage initially but gave in after I persisted bc I remember that when I was 9years I heard God telling me I will marry a Ghanaian. His family didn’t accept me but accepted what they gained from me.
    Please, is God in this?
    Thanks madam

    1. Yes, my sister. Be encouraged. God cannot bring you this far, and abandon you. You and the children continue please to pray for him with all sincerity like the first time you guys were dating. Remember he wasn’t like this right ???? With God there is nothing that is impossible to him. Im a nurse, I know the onset of dementia , you really have to have the heart of Christ to stay and care for the person. Accusation is one of the sign??? Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus, you promise that we will be in good health, even our souls will prosper. Lord I humbly ask that you touch my sister’s husband mind by your Holy Spirit which you promised to us that he will bring everything in our remembrance in Jesus name I pray.
      Im an African too from Guinea, living in DC.

  8. Thank you so much!! I have had so much “emotional pain” from a very dysfunctional family to marrying someone I truly thought was a “good man” and to have him divorce me and was sending thousands of dollars out of our country to a young woman. I so needed this!!

  9. God’s perfect timing! My husband lost his job yesterday. He is disabled and this was something he was able to do and it made him feel like he was contributing. God has always provided for us though, but it’s still just hard.

  10. Thanks, Sharon,

    I needed this today. We all need reminding of God’s love especially when we are going through our valley experience.

  11. Thank you for writing this. I have had a very difficult year. My husband and 2 of our sons bought my in laws farm March a year ago. They were over their heads in work, trying to get the business up and running smooth. Two month later one son’s wife gave birth to their 3rd child 6 weeks prematurely. She was born healthy, but spent some time in the NICU. Our daughter in law struggled with postpartum depression. Our son struggled to be with her, but also needed to be at the farm. By November, he walked away from the business. It put a strain on our relationship with them. And we then had to downsize the business, and we hired part time help. Then our other son having been in a difficult marriage for 14 years, left his wife! I felt like my world was falling apart. I cried out to God daily! My husband and I tried to walk with our son. We definitely made mistakes in trying to help him. Our daughter in law sought Christian counseling, and so did our son. The counselor put 100% of the problem on our son. He never listened to our son’s side of the story. He belittled and screamed at our son in front of his wife. Our son sought help with a second counselor. 10 months later, they are both seeking help, but nowhere near getting back together. They have 2 children. Our son has given his life back to the Lord, and has very good support with a new church, and a wonderful Godly mentor. We continue to pray for restoration in the marriage. In December, my husband and son had to make the decision to sell the cows. They listed the farm for sale in February of this year. That has been a very difficult fir my husband! Then coronavirus hit!! And here we are in June, and the farm hasn’t sold! We haven’t been able to make the bank payments, and have other outstanding debts. It has been so difficult some days to handle. And I feel such a heavy weight of shame. My husband isn’t one to talk openly about his feelings alot, but I know he also struggles with shame of failure. It was refreshing to read your article and know that The Lordvis right beside us through all of this. He has allowed it to all happen for a reason. But some days are still hard!

    1. Oh my Diane, I can only imagine the weight of those struggles. I am praying for you and your family. These are such tough times and to have these other relational issues going on just adds to it. I have seen God work in mighty ways in restoring my brothers family. It looked pretty hopeless and got pretty ugly but is now so much better. It took a long time and things don’t always go beautifully but there is still hope in an amazing God.

    1. Stand strong my sister in Christ. I went through a divorce after 12 years of marriage and couldn’t understand it. As I kept crying out to God, he went to work and drew me closer to Him. We may never know the whys and whats but keep your faith in God. Remember when someone means to harm you God will means it for your good and His glory. God Bless

  12. Thank you for this picture. I have been there as a parent. It’s so important to know and hold onto His truth when life doesn’t make sense.

  13. My dear husband is strong in the Lord, yet has been kicked out of his workplace by a handful of power hungry folks who are out to get anyone in their way especially if you love walking with God. We feel relief in many ways but hurt for those who must still work under such stress and evil. Pray for our wisdom and openness to God’s leadership.

  14. My 11 year old daughter has a feeding tube because of severe malnutrition and that occurred because she has a feeding disorder. It’s a long story how she got there but watching her cry wanting the tube to go away but knowing right now she needs it was really hard.

  15. Its not God but other people and Satan that are causing problems but I believe God uses them to mold us at times. I believe we can have a good life here not just in eternity. A lot of people look at the world and not at the Word.

  16. I’m reading this just as I am starting my day…and oh, how I needed it! I, too, have been standing in the corner of the room watching my precious daughter suffer, helpless to do anything but pray and trust God in just the way you have described. My daughter’s very serious boyfriend ended their relationship three weeks ago and she was devastated. It came out of nowhere but my husband and I know, this was for her good, probably more than we can all understand at this point. This devotional was written just for us, it seems, but you know how God works-He makes things so personal-just one more way we can trust that He loves us with an everlasting, ocean depth, mountain height love! My daughter is 24 years old, has loved the Lord faithfully since she came to know Him personally at age 14. She knows the Lord always plans for her best but this has been the deepest pain she’s ever known(so far). Thank you for sharing this writing with us-I’m forwarding it to my daughter ASAP!

    1. I also forwarded to my daughter immediately. My daughter has served God faithfully all of her life. Since moving away to college , she has started to live a sinful, criminal, and hurtful life with behaviors that I can not imagine. I know some things only come through fasting and praying. Lord, remove ungodly influences out of her life. I am on my 6th day of fasting with no solid foods. I believe the Word of the Lord. My children will be saved. My son will be the mighty man of God. My daughter will live out her destiny. I pray for your daughter and I rejoice that my children will live for God and help out a generation in Jesus Christ might name Amen and Amen.

  17. It’s indeed encouraging, what a good example to illustrate how our heavenly father feels when we are hurting.
    God bless for the great piece.

  18. I am responsible for my son’s school fees for medical school. He’s going into his 3rd year. Banks have turned us down for student line of credit because of my income. We are having difficulties finding scholarships. We are constantly praying and pleading for God to work. Please pray with us for a miracle.

  19. Good word!!!!! God allows pain…to bring change. We all want to stay comfortable…but The Lord brings uncomfortable…..to help us grow and mature and lean in and trust HIM!!!!!!

  20. When I was 9 the Lord took my daddy home to heaven. I didn’t understand and no matter the “spiritual” explanations I didn’t like it. Now many decades later I am thankful because I have a relationship Heavenly Father that is so intimate. I know that God orchestrated my daddy’s death so my mom and my sister and I would draw closer to Jesus. Throughout my life I could trust His hand because of this early experience. Now my husband has cancer and is dying. We accepted it immediately as being from the Lord and have drawn closer to Him because of it. Praise God for His sovereign will.

  21. I believe God does all for our good, but sometimes some trials seem so long. I am going to pray your prayer every day in hope that it will get me through this current trial.

  22. Thank you for the encouragement I truly feel alone most of the time. 2016 was the worst year of my life I lost my only sister in April, my father in August and then my husband in November all of them died unexpectedly. I really wondered why God would allow all of this death to happen to me all at one time. I’m still not sure I just know there must be a awesome plan for my life. I can’t wait to see what it is…Thanks again

  23. A quote from Chuck Swindoll, “Nothing comes into my life that hasn’t first past through my Father’s hands”

  24. Thank you for this amazing, beautifully written, very timely devotion.
    I am suffering with a mystery illness that has completely overwhelmed me. In my heart I know God has not abandoned me and I know His promises to be true.
    But since this all began in March and continues to get worse I have been having a difficult time applying these truths to my situation.
    This is new territory for me to let something knock me down and keep me there.
    I really needed to hear this today and I am grateful my cousin shared this with me.
    Please pray for this truth to sink in and take hold.
    Thank you for all you do.

  25. Thank you Sharon, I really needed to hear this today. I look forward to joining you for the restart. I have been believing a lot of the lies lately feeling Like I can’t do anything right. So why bother trying. I know that in itself is a lie so try not to hang out with that thought too long. Thank you for your encouragement!

  26. This was such an encouragement for me. We often wonder where God is in our times of trial and we just have to reneger God is orchestrating something good for us. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

  27. So, so true, last year it felt like I boarded a ship that was caught in one storm after the next wondering if I would ever feel calm or reach the shore until my brain finally connected the issue, this was a spiritual attack! I had let the devil drag me through a storm that could have been ten times easier if I had just seen it sooner and called to the One who calms the storms.
    He might not have let four people died or He might have, it was their time to go home, but I do know if my eyes weren’t on the storm it’s self, it would have been easier to ride the waves.

  28. Some days I want to give up, give in and forget it all. I feel as if I cannot take one more minute of one more day. My estranged daughter has brought more pain in my life than I have ever experienced. Nothing has ever dropped me to my knees as this has. Sadly, I used to judge others when I’d hear someone say, “my child doesn’t speak to me any longer.” I can attest to the fact that it isn’t always because of the parent(s). I don’t understand this season in my life, the estrangement from my only child, the excruciating mental, physical and spiritual pain. It’s been more than a year now. I don’t know who my daughter is. She used to be a loving, kind, gentle woman of faith. I don’t know my grandchild. I’ve not been blessed with being in her presence since she was born. Some days I can stay calm, enjoy the day and know that God’s working things out for good, in ways I don’t know. And then there are days, like today, that I feel like I’m alone in the wilderness with no way out. I know God is for me, and my husband, but this struggle is real for us both. Every. Single. Day.

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      Hagar felt the same way. Then God came to her and she named Him El Roi, the God who sees me. I pray you will sense his presence!

  29. The reminder that God will never leave or forsake us was sent to me 2 times this morning
    Like a warm blanket on a cold night! Thank you Sharon.

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  30. Thank you for this devotional. It comes at a time when it’s much needed. My husband is recovering from his fourth surgery in 9 months. We are trying to restore our flooded home from two and a half years ago. Our youngest son and his family are seriously struggling. My only sibling , a brother and I are estranged. He has been emotionally and verbally abusive and extremely manipulative and controlling . My father whom I dearly love, passed away early last month. Continually surrendering all of these very difficult & emotional circumstances to God. Trusting his faithfulness, love, mercy and Grace to carry me & my family through these difficulties.” Greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world.”
    ” God is faithful, he will never suffer the righteous to be moved”
    I am hurting at this time! Please pray for me/us.

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  31. This devotional message couldn’t have come at a better time. It brought tears to my eyes.
    I had the most difficult day on Sunday with one of my sons and yet I thought I had already gone through my most difficult days. I know God loves me and is there for me through all difficult times.
    Thank you for the sharing of these messages… it helps to know I am not struggling at times alone.

  32. Sharon, I have been asked questions by my sons that I do not know how to answer. One of them being, why does “He” allow the sexual abuse of children to happen. It actually makes me wonder myself … they say, if “He” is all that, then “He” could stop it.

    1. Post

      Hi Angie. It is difficult to see evil in the world. When God created man, He did something very risky. He gave us free will. The freedom to choose life or death, to follow God or turn out backs on Him, to obey His guidelines that He created for us to have the best life possible or to ignore His guidelines and do quite the opposite. Why is there evil in the world? It began when Adam and Eve made the decision to disobey God and live life their own way…to be their own god. Why is there still evil in the world today? Because the sin that entered the world at the fall runs rampant. God did not create puppets without choice, with strings pulled by a puppet master. He created men and women in the image of Himself with the choice to choose. The evil we see in the world, whether it is murder child abuse, the murder of children through abortion, and a host of other heart wrenching choices are a result of men and women using their God-given gift of choice to choose evil. Hope that helps a bit.

  33. This is exactly what I needed to read at this very moment! Was feeling “unappreciated and not heard” by my adult chldren and husband and beginning to write down my feelings. Then……….my 25 y.o.son came outside to talk with me and we cleared the air, God is soooooo Good, esp.
    when we let Him take the lead! Blessings

  34. Was so blessed & encouraged by this post. With a husband who’s been on kidney dialysis for 8 years, sometimes I find myself asking “Lord, how much more” I’m exhausted and growing weary. It’s so difficult having to watch my husband suffer day after day. And if that’s not enough my Mom has Stage 4 cancer who by the way is doing extremely well, praise God 🙌🏼 I don’t want to complain but it just feels like my strength is wearing thin these days. Trying to keep my own head above water dealing with anxiety & depression isn’t easy when there’s not much time left for myself. But I know my God is good and He is with me. But saying these last few years have been super difficult is an understatement. Still I give all Glory & Honor to my Abba Father.

  35. Thank you for this devotion,
    I know God has been with me and is with me during Good and bad times. In the past four month I have lost my two best friends to cancer, my heart aches every minute of every day….but I know God has and had a plan. I sat with both of them until their last breath, loving them until the end but knowing they both would be with the Lord and out of pain and suffering gave me comfort.
    Life doesn’t always seem fair but I trust , believe, and have great faith in my Lord.
    He strengthens me to go on daily even with the void in my heart and life.
    I pray that others gain strength during this pandemic, during illnesses, death, in joyful and sad times.
    I pray for Gods will and not mine, as he knows what everyone’s future holds.
    Make each day count and look to The Lord with a smile. He loves us!

  36. Thank you very much for this article.
    I’ve read it with tears in my eyes because I really needed to be reminded of God’s love. The past 4 months have been the hardest of all in my life and lately things have been mostly looking up,but sometimes something wrong happens and Iam shaken and it leads me to question if the storm is really over. My faith is being tested and at the very time am trying to heal, forgive and forget the hurt and pain that has been inflicted on me.

  37. Thank you so much for this article. I bless your marriage/beautiful family. I have been standing for over 3 years for my marriage restoration. This has been a difficult journey in my latter years.
    We married in our senior years we both brought bags of unpacked baggage. He was married to a Lady w/2 children. The children are in their 50’s. His late wife’s daughter never wanted her biological or step Dad to re-marry. Her biological Dad is still alive she has severed all connections w/him. When my husband married me she did the same. I never had children. My husband did not want to let go of his step children n grandchildren. He had cancer she turned her back on him. Now that we are separated they have become a family again. It hurts me so much. This morning too I asked the Lord, you see how she is coming between our marriage. You are my Father do you not care ? I am his wife married before the Lord. I have shed so much tears no more to shed.

  38. Thank you so much for that wonderful devotional!

    Your analogy of how you felt with Steven on the hospital table crying out, thinking that you’ve abandoned him, when all you wanted to do was help him, and that that is just how Our Father in Heaven works many times, was exactly what I needed to hear today.

    I have been going thru a very difficult family issue and needed to be reminded that God is in control, He knows what He’s doing and I can trust Him.

    Thank you again!

  39. Thank you for this post. I’ve been walking through a journey with my youngest daughter battling cancer since April and it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not only her cancer but with Vivid and all the restrictions she had to face surgery and treatments with no family by her side. I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve cried and how many times I as why but I know God was always by her side and he has seen every year I cried. I’ll never understand why but I’m so thankful for all the prayers that have helped us make it this far and well will get through it all with God’s live

  40. I don’t remember when last I opened this app but somehow something made me to.
    And looks like the message came at the the right time but God in a way wanted me to see it today.
    Had an unexpected breakup that lead me to commit suicide twice, i lost hope, I gave up, I got depressed, did things I shouldn’t, I questioned God’s existence, but I don’t know how but I tried to get back and seek forgiveness.
    I thank you for reminding me and the reassurances of God’s great love for me and everyone going through hard time.

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