Originally published Thursday, 18 December 2014.
To the brokenhearted –
I know you're lonely. I know that your heart has shattered into what feels like a thousand pieces. And I too know that you're probably wondering if the pain you feel right now will ever go away. I know this because I've been there. I know what it's like to have someone ripped from your life, one terrible moment. I know how hard it is to believe they're gone. I remember wondering if I was ever going to feel normal again––wondering how long it would take to heal. But now that I'm on the other side and many years have passed between then and now, I'd like to whisper some truth to your broken heart this Christmas, if you'll let me.
I know you may not see Him right now, but God is with you.
I didn’t see Him at the time, but looking back, I now know that God was with me all those years that I struggled with my dad's death. He collected my thousand tears in a bottle. When I felt so alone. When I wrestled with loss and pain and grief. When I struggled to understand. He was there. He was there when this terrible tragedy choked all beauty from my life. And He was even there in my darkness, allowing the anxiety and depression to bring me to my knees years later, so I’d finally be able to receive His love.
Jesus is Immanuel––God with us (Matthew 1:23). He came to bind up the brokenhearted––to heal our hearts (Isaiah 61:1). To comfort all who mourn (Isaiah 61:2). To give us "a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (Isaiah 61:3).
Jesus doesn’t leave us in our pain. He sees every bit of it. He comes down and gets dirty and joins us in it. And then He heals it.
John 16:33 says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). This was Jesus speaking––the only One who allows us to overcome the troubles we face in this world. You see, our hope is found in Jesus, alone. But I know you might be angry with God right now, and I think that's okay. It's okay to be angry, but I would encourage you to work through it. I'd encourage you to be honest with God about your anger in prayer––to bring it to Him along with all your other struggles––to ask Him to help you work through it.
Remember, God is with you.
When you wrestle with loss and pain and grief––
When you struggle to understand––
When all beauty is choked out of your life––
God is with you! He is collecting your thousand tears in a bottle, just as He did mine. He sees you. He sees your pain, and He will heal it.
I pray the fullness of God's blessings upon you today. I pray for His peace, which surpasses all understanding, to hem you in on all sides. I pray for you to know and feel the depth of His love toward you. And I pray for you to be so utterly amazed by what God does in and through this terrible season of your life that what you see knits your heart to His forever.
Love and hugs,
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
- Lamentations 3:22-23
Dedicated to a dear friend of mine