A Guest Post by Stacy Pardoe
The white winds of winter pounded the westward side of our house as I stared into the monotone grays and ivories of the season.
In five short months, our little family of four had endured more loss than the past decade; it felt like someone had pulled the rug out from under our aching feet.
It was a deep, gut-wrenching kind of loss that left me doubled over behind a locked bathroom door while little fists pound and beg to come in.
And every time hurt just a little worse than the time prior.
It was in the midst of brokenhearted despair that I stumbled upon the words of John the Baptist.
After years of calling God’s people to repent and prepare their hearts for the coming of the Savior of the world, John is put into prison.
From his prison cell, he wants to know if Jesus really is the promised Messiah, and he tells the disciples to approach Jesus and ask this question: “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” (Matthew 11:3 NASB).
John has faithfully preached the coming of Christ for years.
He leapt within his mother’s womb when she came near the pregnant mother of Jesus.
And now, facing a trial that could end in his death, John wants to know if Jesus really is the Messiah.
It’s from this prison cell that I deeply resonate with the humanness of John the Baptist.
He meets a trial he didn’t expect, and he starts to doubt.
I get this man!
When we are struggling with loss, defeat, or confusion, we always have a choice to make.
We can let our hearts stay soft and broken and turn to our Creator for comfort and consolation, or we can take offense and let our hearts become hardened.
In response to John’s question, Jesus tells the disciples, ““Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me” (Matthew 11:4-6 NASB).
It’s the last part of the verse that cut me to the core in our difficult season: Blessed is the one who does not take offense at Me.
Jesus sensed that John was offended over his prison sentence.
In the same sense, I was also crying out in offense, “Look how faithfully I’ve been serving you! Is this how you treat the ones who love and serve you with their whole hearts?”
While it was healthy to pour my heart out to God without holding back, I knew my brokenness over my trial had built an attitude of offense toward Him.While it was healthy to pour my heart out to God without holding back, I knew my brokenness over my trial had built an attitude of offense toward Him.
So, with my broken heart, I stepped into a season of drinking deeply from God’s Word and laying my heart wide open on the altar of praise.
I wanted to understand how I could feel less offended and more blessed.
The Lord led me to several prayers that began to heal my broken heart and restore my wounded soul.
1. Thank God for Being Your Portion
Psalm 73:26 reads, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
We often find ourselves hurrying through trials with our eyes fixated on the light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of rushing through our pain, God wants us to drink deeply from the well of His all-sufficiency.
Instead of turning to other people or other things, God longs for us to turn to Him through prayer and His Word and find that He is our all in all.Instead of rushing through our pain, God wants us to drink deeply from the well of His all-sufficiency.
2. Thank God for Being Your Healer
Time alone will not heal our broken hearts. Our hearts are healed when we open them to Jesus and allow His presence to heal us in creative and intricate ways. This takes time, but it is not time that is doing the healing.
Only Jesus heals (see Psalm 53:4-5), so let’s bring Him our feelings of sadness, loss, and grief and thank Him for being our Healer.
3. Thank God for Being Your Hope
When despair was at its worst in our season of struggle, I wanted nothing more than to put my hope in changing circumstances.
I wanted to fix my eyes on everything I could do to change our painful circumstances and put all of my hope in the possibility of “making all wrongs right.”
God wants something different for his children. He doesn’t want us to put our hope in temporal things or earthly rewards.
Jesus is with us in the darkest valleys, and His presence in those valleys is our hope.Our hope is this: Jesus is with us in the darkest valleys, and His presence in those valleys is our hope.
Let me repeat: Getting out of the valley is not our hope. Jesus being with us is our ultimate hope, even in the darkest valleys.
4. Profess Your Trust in God
When life doesn’t make sense and plans don’t unfold as we hope, it’s tempting to put our trust in our own abilities to make things happen, follow well-planned strategies, and get to the other side of the struggle.
But Psalm 33:4 reads, “For the word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness.”
Let’s remember God is faithful to us. We can trust Him. He works faithfully in our lives, He lights our paths, and He asks us to follow Him.
We can trust Him to use our trials to conform us to the image of Jesus.We can trust God to use our trials to conform us to the image of Jesus.
5. Thank God for Being Your Living Water
The darkest and most brokenhearted seasons have left me parched in every way. It is when our spiritual lamps threaten to lose the flickering flame that we most need to turn to God and be filled.
This begins by acknowledging our emptiness in the midst of our trials and thanking God for the promise Jesus gives in John 7:37-38: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
Let your pain lead you closer.
Even though my heart still aches as I write these words, I know that the deepest valleys of pain can be the greatest opportunities for breakthrough—when we let our pain lead us closer to the heart of our good Father.
So, I hope and pray for those of us who are still brokenhearted.
I hope that we will continue to run to God in prayer, bringing Him our brokenness and trusting that He will restore our souls, bind up our hearts, and change us to look more like Him in the process.
P.S. If you are brokenhearted and in need of prayer, I encourage you to share your requests on the Living by Design Prayer Wall. Sarah and her team would consider it an honor and privilege to pray for you.
Stacey Parode is a lover of the woods, a passionate and imperfect follower of Christ, the mother of two blue-eyed children, the wife of Darrell, and much more. A certified special education teacher, Stacey is on leave from the classroom for a season of chasing frogs and playing in creeks with her little ones. She writes words about her walk of faith in the in-between moments on her blog www.staceypardoe.com. You can also connect with Stacey on Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter.