What do you do when heartbreak slams into joy? When your soul cracks open and there just aren’t enough tears? When hurt steals your hope and you want to give up on life? When deep soul lesions make a mockery of your faith? I’ve been there. I wonder if you have too.
I remember the day when my son, Steven, and I sat on the floor in his room playing a card game. That summer was proving to be the best ever. Our golden retriever, Ginger, had just delivered seven adorable puppies, Steven was enjoying his sixth summer of life, and after four years of negative pregnancy tests, God had surprised us with a new life growing inside my womb.
But as Steven and I sat cross-legged on the carpet, I felt a warm, sticky sensation run down my leg. A trip to the bathroom confirmed my greatest fears—I was bleeding. Later that afternoon, the doctor voiced the weighty words, “There is no heartbeat.”
I wish I could tell you I left the doctor’s office quoting Romans 8:28 about how “all things work together for good” (ESV). I wish I could tell you that I calmly accepted the loss of my baby with faith, trusting that even this was somehow part of God’s plan. I wish I could tell you I spent the rest of the day singing “It Is Well with My Soul.” But I didn’t do any of those things.
I went home, crawled in bed, and pulled the covers up over my empty womb and broken heart. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, especially God. And what I did say to him wasn’t very nice.
How could you do this to me? If this is how you treat those you love, then just forget it! You answered my prayer only to take it back! Why me? Why this? Why now?
Job was a man in the Bible who also had a lot of questions for God. In one day, his enemies killed all but a handful of his servants and stole all eleven thousand heads of livestock. Then a strong wind collapsed his son’s house and killed all ten of Job’s children. We read the story of Job already knowing how it is going to end—the Lord not only restored what Job had lost, but “gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).
But can you imagine what it was like to live through it in real time? Job was stuck in a bad story and he saw no end in sight. He had no idea why it was happening. He didn’t know God would give him twice as much as he had before. All he knew was loss, disappointment, and pain. That might be where you are right now, stuck in a story you don’t like. But hang on, God’s pen has not slipped. He’s still in control. There’s more to come.
My favorite line in Job’s story comes at the very end. Job says to God, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5). That is my prayer in every difficult circumstance of life. I don’t want to simply hear about God; I want to see God and have communion with him in the midst of it.
A houseful of children was not how my chapter of infertility and the loss of a child ended, but I can still say it had a good ending. One day, I was reading Song of Songs in the Bible. I read it as if I were the bride and Jesus were my bridegroom. At one point, the bride says to her beloved, “I am a rose of Sharon” (Song of Songs 2:1).
When I looked up Sharon in my Bible dictionary, I found it meant “a fertile valley near Mt. Carmel.” I then realized that even though my medical chart read “infertile,” God had made me fertile in so many other ways.
And I know He can do that for you. Sometimes we have to let go of our plans to take hold of God’s purpose…and it’s always good. Click & Tweet!
Lord, there are some parts of my story that still ache, and perhaps that ache will never go away completely. However, I know that you can use every tear to water the seeds of hope in someone else’s life. I release my pain to You and wait openhanded for Your purpose on how to use my story to help someone else. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is one difficult chapter in your life that you feel God is calling you to share with others? Leave a comment, and at the end of the week I’ll randomly pick three and send you a free bracelet inscribed with This is My Story, This is My Song.
Many times the painful pages of our lives, the ones we’d like to tear out of the narrative, are the very ones that God uses the most. Our pain can become a portal of God’s grace. Our ravaged pages can become God’s redemptive masterpiece. Join me in When You Don’t Like Your Story and learn how your worst chapters can become your greatest victories.