Heartbreak and Hopelessness: A Way Out

It’s the beginning of the year; you’re hoping for a fresh start, but last year’s heartbreak and hopelessness have crept into today. If this is where you are, consider the following words: He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. -Psalms 107:20

Thank God for his sovereign, gracious will! He sends out his “word” to rescue and heal us. So when we fall into deep trouble or despair or are in danger of destruction somehow, we know the ideal solution rests with him.

The phrase “word of God” in the Bible means more than the various ways we use it today. It’s not only what God speaks to comfort us but also the power to do something about our pain.

God sends his word to accomplish what he intends (Isaiah 55:11). It’s like a missile packed with explosive power, except in this case, not to destroy, but to save us and to annihilate any malevolent force aimed at us.

God’s all-powerful word should fill us with hope because he knows when we need help, initiates the rescue, and redeems us. Finding comfort or deliverance in some other way is futile. But when we’re dragging our bodies through yet another valley, things don’t happen as fast as we want them to. We’re hoping for the advertised, God-guaranteed “24 hours Recovery from Heartbreak Plan,” but God isn’t delivering. During these times, it’s not surprising we revert to ourselves:

“I need to depend on myself from now on.”
“I don’t trust anyone—in heaven or on earth.”
“I leaned on God, but look where it got me.”

This way of thinking is a dead end. A despairing heart has such power over our thoughts that it can carry us off-course like a strong gale that blows our little craft far from our destination. The popular “just follow your heart” is plain, bad advice. The prophet Jeremiah cautioned against the human heart—so desperately corrupt that no one can possibly know it (Jeremiah 17:9). In other words,resorting to “go with your feelings” for guidance or wisdom will not get us where we need to go.

It is not the best time to lean on our feelings or understanding (Proverbs 3:5-7) when we are discouraged and disoriented by what’s happening to us. As pilots trust the aircraft’s instruments to get their passengers safely to their destination, we need God’s word and how he chooses to guide us and correct our course.

Like everything else in this life, the hopeful news is that we are wounded in the presence of God. There’s not a single thing in our existence that falls outside God’s knowledge, providence, and care. Nothing. Ever. Whatever happens that is important and life-shaping occurs under the loving guidance of our Creator, not somewhere in the background.

So this is the guarantee we do have: when we find ourselves in heartbreaking grief, or drifting or being driven away from our God, he will send out his word to comfort, rescue, heal, or whatever else we may need. It may not happen in our timeframe, but it will always be in his perfect time, knowing what is his best for us. Time will teach us that his deliverance is worth the wait. And it’s in our expectant waiting that we’re changed. We can encourage others not to get discouraged, but to “Hope in God” and praise him (Psalm 43:5).

-Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

John I. Snyder
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