By Kelly Nickerson
Many of us have been there. A situation forever alters the way we live. We cry out to God for mercy, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. Then the thought enters our minds that maybe God doesn’t care.
Maybe it started on the first day of school when you had no one to sit with at lunch. Or when your first love broke your heart and you realized there wasn’t going to be a “happily ever after.” Maybe you’re waiting now for Mr. Right or for a pregnancy test to be positive. Or you’ve experienced the loss of stability, finances, friendship, or a loved one.
It’s hard in the moment—sometimes for a lot longer than a moment, let’s be honest—to see the future as brighter than the present. Saying good-bye to a dream, to stability, or to love is life-altering.
We know God can do anything, and I think that’s what can make us so angry. He can heal and bless instantaneously, but for reasons we don’t understand, sometimes he doesn’t.
Scripture has a way of speaking light into darkness. The Message paraphrases 2 Corinthians 1:4 this way: “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
As I held my infant son in my arms for the last time, I promised him I would live each day he couldn’t and never let his memory fade. God showed us many miracles during his short life, but there was no denying our loss. I wanted to curl up in a ball and never love again; it hurt too much. Eventually I realized I needed to take the love I had saved for my son and share it with the world. I have made it my mission to walk alongside those who have no hope.
It took the death of my baby to open my eyes to the hurt around me. God used my mother’s heart to show me his heart. The loss of two of my children and my health has been a journey of great heartache, but in my suffering God has taught me about compassion, patience, gratitude, forgiveness, and trust. Most of all he has taught me about being there for others so they don’t have to go through heartache alone.
These aren’t the gifts the world teaches us to look for. When we lose something, we want a replacement. But God’s economy looks much different. When you make the choice to trust him regardless of what happens (even if you wrestle to get there), deep roots take hold, making you stronger with each new tribulation you face. As your faith deepens, you are able to come alongside others and comfort them in their time of need. It helps remind us that this world isn’t about just us; it’s about others.
I have made a choice to believe that my God is good no matter what the world says. Yes, God allowed my heart to be broken. But when our hearts are broken, we have two choices: we can become angry and walk away because he didn’t give us what we wanted, or we can cry, question, vent, and then choose to believe in the hope that he has something more waiting for us.
The Lord has healed my heart from the ache of loss in ways I never could have imagined. He has tamed my bitterness with sweetness through the memories I hold dear. Nothing can replace my losses, but when I look back to the moment I let go and let God take the reins, I see he’s done something greater than I could ever have imagined.
If you are in a place of pain like I was, go ahead, shed some tears. But know, too, that you are loved right where you are. Maybe today you find it hard to hope, and that’s okay. It’s okay to be weary. I will wait with anticipation for you and believe there’s something more.
Kelly Nickerson is a homeschooling mama with two beautiful kids under her wing and four dancing in heaven. She also lives with her amazing husband, who supports her like no other. Kelly is a firecracker prayer warrior who shares honestly about her brokenness, while praising and clinging to the G-d who sustains her. When she isn’t hunting down germs with disinfectant, you can find her writing of her adventures at kellynickerson.com.
Photograph © Kyle Broad, used with permission