So friend, you just broke up. The relationship that you poured into has ended and you’re left reeling. Whether or not you were the one to break it off, the question of “why?” and “what now?” constantly plagues you. Just as soon as you convince yourself you’re doing better, your chest tightens, the tears start to flow, you can barely breathe, and are certain this brokenhearted state will never end. You’re caught in the tension between wanting to go back, to have it how it was when things were so good, and yet desperately wanting to move forward, to get to that place where you’re heart can forget it ever happened. And if you’re anything like me, you’re looking (hoping) to find that silver bullet, the quick fix and cure to mend your broken heart. You’ll talk to anyone and everyone seeking to find a story like yours, but one that has a happy ending to give you hope that yours too might end in beautiful reconciliation and wondrous renewal. But instead, each story and happy ending leaves you more hopeless than before. Well friend, I have good news and I have bad news.
Let’s start with the bad news. There is no shortcut in this journey. Imagine yourself looking out over a wide, rushing river, toes almost touching the bank, but your head swirling around looking for another way to cross. But there is no other way but straight through. No going around, no jumping over, just straight, painstakingly through. It’s going to be hard, you’re going to want to give up, become apathetic and allow yourself to be swept away but the rushing current. It’s going to require perseverance, patience, and great strength to walk through and not look for shortcuts, or worse, simply refuse to walk forward at all and stay where you are at. But the good news, which now that I think about it might not seem like good news, is that Jesus has you exactly where He wants you.
The reality is, when our hearts are broken, the desire to not hurt is powerful. There must be something I can do to ease my heartache! But the hard, painful, simple truth is that our hope must be in Jesus. Always. Every time. Every day. Every hour. There is no better answer. And yet, so often there is no answer that is harder to swallow. Christ does not always make us feel better. When my heart is broken the daily, hourly, minute-ly decision to hope in Christ and listen to His voice is literally a choice, not a feeling. If I waited to “feel like” putting my hope in Christ, I would never do it- at least not when my heart is struggling. My experience with heartache is one that seeks answers from everyone and everything else. If I can just figure this out, then I can put my hope in getting back together with this person. Because if I can put my hope in getting back together, then that will ease my current pain a little. And for al I know my friend, you MIGHT get back together with that person you just broke up with (that is my story) but believe me when I say, it was not because that’s where I placed my hope. It was simply and only because of the work and grace of Christ in my life. You might say, “Well Amy, it’s easy for you to say that NOW because you’re back together with your ex, and everything worked out for you.” That is true, however, the greater and deeper truth is that no matter the “ending” of the story, our lasting hope cannot be in any human relationship, but in trusting Christ and walking through the path He has you on. Because if I had rejected the work Jesus was doing in my life during the painful season and rebelled against the path He had put me on, my story would’ve not turned out the same. And I don’t mean simply relationally, I mean I would’ve missed the sanctifying and irreplaceable work Christ did in my heart- and that, dear heart, is of highest value.
The good news is, one day your heart will not hurt as much. The tears will stop falling, and breathing will come easy again. Life will continue and you will survive. The greater question is, who will you be on the other side? Right now you are on the bank of that river looking longingly to the other side, so who will you be when you reach the other side and look back to where you came from? Will this season in your life be wasted? Will you value your own wants and desire more than becoming like Christ? I challenge and encourage you to not look for shortcuts, but to pick up your broken, battered heart and, with Christ’s strength, walk straight on through.