When God redeems heartbreak (or one way to find purpose in suffering)

Originally published Friday, 16 January 2015.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.

Isaiah 43:1-2 (NIV)

As an 8 year-old I would scuff the earth with my black baby doll shoe, glancing at my watch every few minutes, wondering why my mother was late to pick me up from school.

Concerned with whether my mother would even come and pick me up. 

My older brother would tell me that of course she was coming. But even as he spoke the fear would begin to well up in me that she wouldn’t be there. Again. 

My mother wasn’t irresponsible. My mother was ill. She had a heart condition that meant her heart would suddenly start galloping in her chest. 220 beats per minute. 

She would be rushed to hospital, her heart shocked back to a stable rhythm and then given a bed in ICU.

On days like that my father would rush from the hospital to pick us up from school. Just the sight of his car would confirm what we already knew: mom was in hospital again. 

When I was 12 my mother had an operation on her heart which fixed the problem and visits to the hospital no longer featured in the calendar. 

A week ago my family all returned to the hospital where my mother used to lie in ICU. This time we went there to meet my nephew. The first grandchild from my siblings or I. 

My nephew was born in a hospital where I spent much of my childhood wondering if my mother would make it out of ICU.

Last night, my mother and I spoke about how my nephew’s birth made that hospital seem so much less daunting. 

Heartbreak redeemed with new life. 

It never ceases to amaze me how God redeems places and people. (tweet this)

I often don’t see God’s redemption because I’m in the middle of turmoil in my own life. (tweet this)

It would have been so easy to miss the redemption God was bringing in that hospital with my nephew lying in Neo-natal ICU. But God was working even when I didn't expect it.

This morning I read Isaiah 43:1-2 and it struck me that God says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you…when you pass through rivers they will not sweep over you…when you walk through the fire…the flames will not set you ablaze.”

God has promised to redeem me. He has promised to redeem hard times, moments and places, but he never said I wouldn’t have to go through hard things only that he’ll be there with me when I do

Redemption doesn't mean the past is rewritten but that the heartbreak of the past is now threaded with joy. (tweet this)

I’m holding onto that. Praying God will open my eyes to his redemption in every situation: an exchange of heartbreak for his treasures.

Ponder: Ask God to reveal one moment in the past week that he has redeemed that you failed to notice. (I’d love for you to share what God shows you in the comments.)

Prayer: God, open my eyes to your redemption in every moment of my life. 

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- This was orginally published on my site in October 2014. To read more devotionals like this go to ilovedevotionals.com