Heartache is everywhere. Sometimes it seems like it’s lurking around the corner and one never knows when it’s going to hit. 2014 was a pretty good year for me and one I can look back on fondly for the most part (health, my brain not a complete mess, great school year for my son, work growth for my husband, new baby girl!). However, I can name several families who were hit by heartache and will feel the effects for a long time to come. Terrible tragic deaths have happened within my community and beyond. Just even hearing about them makes your stomach sink and stirs your heart with sympathy…or anger and frustration. Do you ever feel that way? Angry that something terrible happens and that someone is hurting like they are? Just in the past year I can think of families broken by suicide, murders, sickness, and tragic deaths. Why do these things happen?
As a Christian who does put hope in the fact that God is intimately aware of every single thing that happens in our individual lives, heartache tends to make me feel frustrated with God’s plan and have some doubt. I decided several years ago that I had to make the choice to either believe He is who He says He is, or not. I decided there are way too many examples of His activity in people’s lives and way too much historical evidence to believe otherwise. But, hurting hearts still make me uncertain as to what He’s doing and why. I want to know how someone tragically losing a child or spouse is ultimately better for having experienced it.
Philip Yancey has written a book called, “The Question That Never Goes Away: Why?” that I look forward to reading this year because it, as have other books by Yancey, addresses this ongoing struggle of pain in our world and trusting in a loving God. I do know there won’t be an ultimate answer that we’ve all been looking for because there isn’t one, but what it does do is remind us that everyone is struggling with this, whether that’s through personal experience, witnessing others’ hurts, or living fearful of heartache. I can relate to all three because I still question why my brain works the way it does as I struggle with anxiety, have seen and heard of many others deeply hurting, and worry about what heartache may be around the bend for me.
When heartache interrupts our lives (because most of us are busy trying to live the good life and makes things pleasant; “waiting for the weekend” mentality), it stops us and gives us the brief reality check on the preciousness of life and also serves as a reminder that we are NOT in charge. We do NOT ultimately decide whether we or our loved ones will take their next breath. Scary to consider? Stay with that feeling. If we are that helpless then we don’t also want to be hopeless. That’s where the hope of Christ enters in.