Hope through Heartbreak

Frustration. The word “frustrate” means; To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire. Let’s face it, frustration can be…well…frustrating. No one likes to be prevented from accomplishing a purpose. None of us want to be prevented from fulfilling a desire. Our desires, our purpose help define who we are and when we cannot achieve them we feel empty, hurt and broken. In short, frustration can break our hearts.

However, broken hearts can go far beyond just experiencing some level of frustration. What about great disappointments? We build up our expectations from one situation or another, maybe it’s a new job or opportunity; maybe it’s a move; maybe it’s something we feel God has called us to, and we dive in believing he has led us this way only to experience some great disappointment; now we are asking God why are we here? We thought we were following you.

What about relationships? We find that person we think is the ONE. We devote our time, our emotions, our very lives to that person for days, weeks, months, years, decades; then the relationship ends. Sometimes tragically in an unexpected death, sometimes violently in the case of abuse or addiction. Maybe we ignored the command not to be in an unequal relationship with an unbeliever, so we got romantically entangled anyway. Perhaps believing that faith didn’t matter, or believing that they would change or convert. Maybe ignored our friend who said that person drank too much, or that we met in a bar, and they turned out to be an alcoholic or addict. Maybe we knew they had a violent temper, but always treated us good, so that could never turn into abuse. Sometimes amicably agreeing we’re just not in love any more, but we are still brokenhearted from the loss.

We don’t like pain, we don’t like broken hearts and often we wonder why God would even allow such pain into our lives if he loves us. But the fact is that God is not as concerned about our comfort as much as he is concerned about our character. And our character is best shaped through the painful circumstances of life. C.S. Lewis once said that “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” God loves us so much that he is willing to allow us to endure the pain of a broken heart in order that we might become more than we currently are.

In my own life, it was abuse, alcoholism, addiction, broken home, walking down a road of atheism, becoming the very evil that had hurt me in the first place, broken relationships, using people, leading me into a road of recovery and seeking after God, finding myself in a relationship but leading us down many dead-end roads, chasing after what I thought might be his will but having terrible discernment, on and on, but God using all of that to lead me into ministry where his impact on my life has planted seeds and born fruit in faith being born and nurtured in others, all for his glory.

I think about the story of Joseph, my namesake, whose brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. Admittedly, it would seem Joseph was a bit of an entitled brat. He was daddy’s favorite. He was given special treatment. He was a tattle-tale. Then God blesses him with some visions of the future, and his brothers are belittled and jealous. But did he really deserve to be thrown in a pit, sold as a slave, marched to Egypt. He humbly does his best to glorify God, he manages his master’s household well, yet is falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison. He again glorifies God and serves the warden well, eventually brought before Pharoah and made second-in-command of all Egypt. Eventually, his brothers, who had sold him, end up in front of him and humbly beg forgiveness, confessing their wrong, and Joseph says this,

‘But Joseph answered them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day. So now, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your little children.” Then he consoled them and spoke kindly to them.’

Genesis 50:19-21

In her song, Thy Will, Hillary Scott sings,

I’m so confused

I know I heard you loud and clear

So, I followed through

Somehow I ended up here

I don’t wanna think

I may never understand

That my broken heart is a part of your plan

When I try to pray

All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

I know you’re good

But this don’t feel good right now

And I know you think

Of things I could never think about

It’s hard to count it all joy

Distracted by the noise

Just trying to make sense

Of all your promises

Sometimes I gotta stop

Remember that you’re God

And I am not

So

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Thy will

I know you see me

I know you hear me, Lord

Your plans are for me

Goodness you have in store

I know you hear me

I know you see me, Lord

Your plans are for me

Good news you have in store

So, thy will be done

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

I know you see me

I know you hear me, Lord

Songwriters: Bernie Herms / Emily Lynn Weisband / Hillary Scott

We’ve tried to be obedient, we’ve tried to follow his lead, and yet somewhere along the way, we ended up somewhere we never expected to be. Now all we can pray is Your will, not mine be done. Please redeem this situation and bring people into a closer relationship with you through my example. Let them learn from both the mistakes and the successes.

There are times we end up in these situations as a result of our own sin, or the sinful behavior of someone else. God gives us clear direction in many, many areas of our lives; including relationships, obedience, purpose, talents, finances, but somehow, we think we know better than God. Those rules don’t apply to us. There won’t be consequences for our negative behavior, our self-willed actions, or bad decisions. We were told not to buy that, or not to borrow that money, or that was a really bad investment idea, but pushed ahead anyway. Then ended up bankrupt and financial trouble, which is the number one stressor on marriages, led us into a divorce. An unplanned pregnancy led to an unwanted child or abortion. Abuse, neglect, all terrible, terrible circumstances; we didn’t ask for and don’t deserve. What about the child that never had any choice and ended up being beaten, abused, raped; how can there be any hope there?

Listen to the words of Hebrews 12:1-13,

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.’

Hebrews 12:1-13

There is hope! God can use any situation and circumstance to bring glory to himself and for our good and the good of multitudes of others. God never wastes a hurt, never delights in our suffering, but instead uses everything in ways that we can never imagine.

Romans 8:28 says, ‘And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,’

His purpose is always to conform us into the image of his Son, Jesus, and bring glory to himself.

James the half-brother of Jesus writes,

‘My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. ‘

James 1:2-4

We can have hope in any situation when we pray for God to bring glory to himself through us. He will use it for good. He will use our example to draw others closer to himself. He will use our suffering to help us learn to be more dependent upon him. And when we turn to him in confession, repentance, and submit to his will; he has promise upon promise he heaps upon us in fulfillment of his good and loving nature.

When we rejoice in him, when we trust in him, when we rely on his strength, when we submit to his will, when we confess our sins, when we turn to him in humility, when we earnestly pray with gratitude for all he has done for us, even through the pain of our current heartache, he blesses us and grows within us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; all the fruit of the Spirit that flowers, blooms, and bears a harvest when we live in accordance with the Indwelling Holy Spirit and not our own self-will. See Galatians chapter five.

Let us come before God in humility and pray turning our heartbreaks over to God.