Finding God in Desperate Places: When Hurt, Heartbreak & Hard Times Surround

There are moments in life when the rug gets pulled right out from under you. Moments that take your breath away – whether it is a job layoff, miscarriage, divorce or one of the many relationship troubles that range from betrayal to abandonment.

These desperate moments remind us how little control we have in life. We feel small, vulnerable and unsafe. There are no easy fixes – sometimes just a dark valley ahead that stretches as far as you can see. So if your heart feels a little bruised today or you know someone who is barely hanging on – I hope you can find a little rest in these hope-filled truths.

3 Truths to Remember When Life Knocks You Down

  1. God has a plan forward.

I don’t know what it is. I don’t even know why you specifically are going through this trial. What I do know is that it isn’t over. As Carey Nieuwhof was once told, “Even if you can’t feel it today, the sun will rise again. It will.”

I know you can’t feel it today, but the sun will rise again. It will. -Carey Nieuwhof

The frustrating part of pain is that we can only see a sliver of the big picture. We have no idea how our current circumstances could encourage or give hope to another person down the road. We don’t know how the ends are going to meet at the end of the month. We see dead ends, broken promises and loss. Yet God sees the way forward. He knows His unique path to comfort, provide and protect.

It doesn’t make it easy. It doesn’t take away the heartbreak. It doesn’t erase the questions. It is, however, a reminder that one’s expectations of God are not the same as the promises of God. Yet even though my world is rattled, God is always true to His Word. He has promised me (and you) the grace and mercy we need to get us through those desperate places.

Practical Application: Keep a daily  “top ten” list of what you’re seeing God do or things you are thankful for.

  1. God’s plans are not thwarted by the sins or carelessness of man.

The actions of others can be mind-boggling, thoughtless and downright cruel. Yet over and over, God has proved that He can accomplish His purpose despite the sinful actions of man.

Consider Esau. The older brother who should have received his father’s blessing until he was blindsided and betrayed by own mother and his brother. Consider Joseph. He had a promising life ahead of him…until his brothers sold him into slavery. Both lives forever changed.

Yet their stories don’t end there. Years of struggle and pain follow, but beauty emerges. Jacob, knowing he is about to face Esau for the first time since his betrayal trembles – yet God has been healing Esau and we see Esau run to hug him (Gen. 33:4). Or Joseph, having risen to power from the depths of slavery ends up saving millions of lives – including his brothers. Despite his brothers’ fears, Joseph’s heart has been healed as he reassures them “You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good (Gen. 50:20).”  Regardless of the wrong, God is in the healing business.

Practical Application: Walking the journey of forgiveness and fighting the bitter desire for revenge? Grab a Bible and a journal and spend 15 minutes reading and praying through Romans 12:19-21. Wounded by the church? Check out Ann Graham Lotz’s videoHave You Been Wounded?

  1. God is near to the brokenhearted.

There is a unique intimacy with the Lord that comes with heartbreak. He hears every question, sees every tear and is present every moment. The journey ahead can look dreary and stretch as far as you can see. Don’t lose heart. He has given you some precious promises to cling to along the way-

  • “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”   -Psalm 34:18
  • “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” -Psalm 147:3

Healing is on the horizon. One step at a time.

Practical Application:  Journal. Journal. Journal. Give yourself loads of grace and lots of time. Measure progress not by comparing who you are now to who you once were, but to how far you’ve come since the day of the trauma or heartbreak.


John Piper wisely said “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.” Whatever the hurt – no matter the level of devastation – keep your eyes on the One who sees, knows and heals. He is working in your life and He has not forgotten you.

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