May 03 2017

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Life Hurts: What to do when life isn’t what you expected

life hurts

Life Hurts: What to do when life isn’t what you expected

I felt paralyzed. I stared down at my “new normal”—a life I wasn’t expecting, and one that felt hopeless. All I could see was heartache in every direction. I felt trapped and didn’t know how I was going to make it through the rest of the day, let alone the days, weeks, months, and… God, please don’t make this go on like this, I can’t live like this…years. I prayed for change. I longed for it, but I saw no glimmer of hope. Instead, I felt alone and enveloped in darkness. Life hurt.

Having a close relationship with Jesus didn’t protect me from dark days. However, my relationship with him gave me what I needed during those hard years—yes, years—to not only live but thrive long before circumstances changed.

Pure faith comes only from refining

What I didn’t understand during the time of my hardest days was that God never stopped working. My cries for “Do something!” were not unanswered prayers. He was doing something, but I didn’t see it because it wasn’t according to my picture of “good.” I prayed fervently for my plan, yet God had bigger plans. I don’t know how he worked in other people’s lives or orchestrated circumstanced, but I know what he did in my heart through the pain. He was working his perfect good in my heart, my slow-to-learn, stubborn heart. When the Bible speaks of “mountain moving,” that’s a picture of my natural willful, selfish heart facing tectonic shifts. Life hurt, and God never stopped working…on my heart.

Pushed out of my comfort zone, life forced me to look deeper into my faith. The “Yeah, Jesus! Everything’s awesome” faith came easy. I didn’t realize how much I idolized ease until it was threatened. I developed a “sacrifice of praise” kind of faith through my tears. I learned to say in my heartache, “Even so, I will praise you. Even so, you are good. Even so…I trust you, God.”

How did I get from paralyzed to praise?

I didn’t get to praise overnight. I begged and bargained with God for a while. I tried to force my situation to be better. That only made life hurt more. I took many “trips” to the end of me and found God’s invitation to be my Source and Solace, and to hold my hand as he made me new. At times, I didn’t want God to meddle with sinful attitudes I relabeled or justified. Pain pushed me back to him, and I broke. I knew I was broken, but sitting in my brokenness and facing it with God changed me.

I’ll be writing more next week about wrestling with God’s sovereignty and believing in his love for me.

Until then, remember:

  • God never stops working
  • God has bigger, perfect plans…for our hearts.
  • Thriving in the midst of a hurting life is a process, but we can all get there because we are never alone when we walk with God.

Does life hurt for you right now?

Can you relate to my story? Do you need to know there is hope to not only survive but thrive through life’s hurts? I’d love to pray for you. Please send me an email letting me know how I can pray for you. Don’t forget to sign up to receive my recent blog posts via email.

Helpful resources for when life hurts


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