Have you ever wondered why so many romantic films are so popular? Unrequited love. Boy meets girl, girl falls in love, and then they part. And girl deals with deep heartache.
At some point in your life, you meet the person who seems perfect for you. You’ve never felt more alive, you’ve never laughed so much with anyone else, no one understands you better, you’re sure this is God’s will for you—but you discover your feelings are not reciprocated.
Or maybe they were reciprocated. You can’t believe the amazing way God has answered your prayers. You’ve picked out the wedding date, your wedding gown, your wedding place, and then the unbelievable happens. That telephone call or text. The words you never thought you’d hear: “I can’t….”
Or, you get married, and your “till death do us part” spouse says, “I want a divorce.” You have children, no income, what are you going to do? Maybe this Valentine’s Day has you watching your marriage falling apart, and you’re not sure how you’re going to make it through another day.
No one is immune to heartbreak. No one. I’m sure many of us wish we were, but the reality is quite the opposite. We have experienced the crushing, gut-wrenching grief of being, as the Psalmist says, brokenhearted. It doesn’t matter who you are or what spiritual credentials you have (or don’t). As human beings living in a fallen world, the pain of heartache and overwhelming distress is inevitable. The loss of a loved one, an unrequited love, a shattered relationship, divorce, heartbreak bursts into your life—often when you least expect it.
So how do you get through this valley? When everyone is celebrating, but you can’t or don’t feel loved.
It’s through prayer, more prayer, and learning to trust in the infinite mercy, love, and grace of God. The Scriptures tell us that God enters every way into our distress. We may not feel it or see him at the time, but he’s there.
The Divine Potter uses whatever material he chooses to mold us into the people he wants us to be. In the burning fire, he is with us, purifying us for the joy that he will infuse into our life. This encouragement might seem far-fetched and doesn’t always help when you’re amid unbearable sorrow, but who is God but the Master of the impossible?
As believers, we make a grievous blunder when we assume that we’re supposed to be the epitome of Christ, the suffering Servant, or with Job say, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord forever.”
While that’s all true, don’t pretend to be strong by suppressing your pain and sorrow. Take it to God or talk to someone you trust. Don’t worry at this moment about making God angry, being a “witness to your neighbor,” or any other advice you may have heard or think you have to follow.
For the moment, the right thing is to allow yourself to grieve. But in the middle of your sorrow, here’s the good news. You will experience God’s tenderness and love for you. Through prayer, over time, the Holy Spirit will guide you to the place of God’s healing. We are loved by a God who protects us and grants us his peace. It’s that beautiful peace, mentioned in both Testaments of the Bible, that mysterious reality, that passes all understanding. It’s the peace (and piece) of heaven granted as a gift to us on earth until the storm clouds and tempests fade away. In time, you’ll begin to feel the first rays of the sun bringing light and warmth into your life again.
It will happen. Pray your way each day through your pain and discover that there isn’t just light at the end of the tunnel, but God’s loving arms that carry you to a brighter, happier place than you are in right now.
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
– Jeremiah 31:3