“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7 (NIV)
We’ve all felt the sting of deep hurts, disappointments and how we thought life would be. But even though I’ve experienced devastation firsthand, sometimes I really struggle with how to help others hold on through the heartbreak.
A few years ago, a dear of friend of mine was going through a divorce. I remember agonizing over how to help … what to say, what not to say. So, I avoided reaching out for fear of saying the wrong thing.
Until one day when a moving truck pulled up to the front of my friend’s house. Sometimes moving signifies something exciting and new. Sometimes … it doesn’t.
This move signified an end. A few hours into the process of emptying her home, the movers carried out her wedding portrait, and called to her, “You want these photographs to go with us, or are you taking those separately?”
“I’ll be taking those separately,” she said, the irony not escaping her.
Separately. That was how she’d be living now. Separate from the way she thought her life would be.
She took the wedding portrait from the mover as a feeling of confusion washed over her. She sat down on the front steps and called me. Through her tears she said, “I don’t know what to do with this portrait. What do you do with the things that have no place anymore? We built a life together and now there’s no more together. There isn’t a place for that in my mind. What am I going to do?”
As soon as I heard her shaky voice, I felt so awful for not calling.
And though I still didn’t know exactly what to say, I knew this was my time to do something.
So I finally said to her, “I’m crying with you. I don’t have answers, but I do have prayers. And I’m going to write out conversations I have with God, so you’ll know He’s not being silent right now. He sees you. He hears you. And through His Truth He will comfort you.”
I pulled out my Bible and poured out the hurt and sadness. “God show me. Show me the right truths. Use my hand to write out some comfort from Your Word for my friend. She’s afraid and needs Your comfort more than ever.”
I put pen to paper and wrote out the verses God revealed to me in conjunction with what I felt Him impressing on my heart.
Me: Lord, I have to tell You it’s a hard thing to watch my friend hurt so much. She begged You to help her marriage, and it feels like You don’t care.
The Lord: Do the words of Job 17:11a express the way you are feeling? “My days have passed, my plans are shattered.” (NIV)
Me: Yes, Lord, and I’m confused. Lord, don’t You see her tears? If seeing her sadness breaks my heart, I know it must break Your heart, too. It’s hard for me to understand why this happened.
The Lord: Recall the beauty of trusting the only One who can see what is and what is to come. Remember my words in Nahum 1:7 … “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”
Me: I do trust You, Lord. But for everything to end like this is so hard. It just seems so pointless.
The Lord: Oh, nothing I allow is pointless. Nothing you go through is pointless. Even in the midst of hurt I will work good. I will work good for her now, and I will work good for her in the future. I still have a grand plan and purpose for her. Proverbs 19:20-21 … “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” (ESV)
Me: I just need to know why she has to go through this.
The Lord: You don’t have to have answers, Lysa. You just need to trust. Isaiah 55:8a, 9 … “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways … As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (NIV)
Me: But what about the desires of her heart, Lord?
The Lord: I am the only one who even knows the full scope of those desires, Lysa. I will give her new desires and help her so those desires come to pass. Just encourage her to trust me and make wise choices. Psalm 37:3-4 … “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV)
After I wrote all this out, I sent it to my friend. My letter didn’t fix her hurt or answer her questions. It didn’t give her a place to put those things that seemed to have no place right now. But it did get her to open up God’s Word and start having conversations with Him for herself. And as she moves on, this was a good first step to take.
Dear Lord, help me connect the truth of Scripture with the very real things I’m facing today. And show me where I can be a light in the darkness for someone else who desperately needs You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.