I know that living with hope in your heart through troubled times isn’t easy. I’m the guy who wrote an entire book about it: When God Breaks Your Heart. Some days I want to give up. There are nights when the ways that this disease has broken my heart make it hard for me to even think about getting up the next morning to face another day. I don’t know all of the pain of your personal life, but I do know some of it. I wrote this book to help you see how God’s love for you can define your life, even when your heart is broken.
Here are five steps I believe will help you along the path of connecting or reconnecting to the One who restored my heart,–Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
1) Let it hurt.
The first mistake most of us make is thinking that if I can just keep it from hurting, it won’t. You probably already know that this is futile. But if you don’t, the time will come when the pain of your tragedy or disappointment will wash over your life and you will feel truly hopeless and alone. Though this is a desperate feeling, it’s the only starting point toward hope.
2) Let your feelings go.
I wasted a lot of time trying to impress everyone with my capacity to control my emotions. What I didn’t know was that time wasn’t the only thing being wasted. All that work to suppress what was going on inside of me was wasting me away. When I finally began admitting and expressing the hurt to myself and those closest to me, it was like a heavy burden lifted from my life. The explosion of feelings might scare you, but it’s better to explode on the outside than on the inside.
3) Let God in.
One of the most serious misconceptions about God is that we need to somehow clean up our life-our questions, doubts, fears, and objections-before including Him in the process. This sure isn’t the picture of God His Son, Jesus Christ, gave us in the Gospels! Jesus loves moving into hopeless situations while they are still messy and confusing. The sooner you invite Jesus into the process, the better. He is always waiting for access to every part of our lives-especially our pain! The New Testament says that He constantly knocks on the door of our heart asking for permission to enter and make everything better.
4) Let God know.
Once you’ve given Jesus access to your life, He will be like any other caring and loving friend-He wants to know what you’re thinking, feeling, wondering, upset about, and, most importantly, what exactly you want Him to do to ease the suffering. This means you need to talk to Him, just like you would any other person. The Bible calls this prayer. I found great comfort in the fact that I knew that Jesus wasn’t shaming me for my questions and fears, He was listening as my loving Shepherd. He wasn’t ashamed of my tears, He was crying as much or more over my pain than I was. And He was waiting for me to tell Him exactly what I wanted Him to do. For me, it was a simple, one-sentence prayer, “Lord, please let me live and serve.” I wasn’t demanding, I was just asking. It’s important for you to know that He wants you to ask.
5) Let God work.
This is probably the most difficult step of all. Once you’ve told Him what you want Him to do, you need to trust in Him-that He has heard your prayer and that He is working on His answer to your prayer. Even if He doesn’t immediately “fix” everything, you can be sure that He is doing something. For some of you, the first answer to your prayer for help will be accepting His free gift of eternal life to all who will believe in Him. For others who have already accepted eternal life, it may be that your friendship with Him will deepen. And then you will see the many ways He is present in your life as He guides you lovingly toward His yes or no answer to your prayer. Then, no matter what the outcome, you have still received the best life any human being can live-a life lived in close friendship with the Son of God.