Having two unwanted divorces is not something that most people want on their life resume. Yet that was where I found myself. It seemed like such a waste of precious years of my life. Fortunately, God used those years and I learned how to find hope and purpose when life hurts.
You too can find hope and purpose, regardless of your circumstances.
Where is God when life hurts?
It was never God’s plan for us to have broken hearts, experience pain, or be physically and emotionally exhausted. Likewise, He never intended for us to be puppets that jumped with every pull on our strings. He gave us the opportunity to choose. The problem has always been that people believe to varying degrees that our own ways are better than God’s ways. Thus we choose to believe the lies of the evil one. And with evil in the world comes hurt in various forms.
Don’t get me wrong.
Everything that is painful in our lives is not our fault. Much of it is due to others, directly or indirectly. We live in an imperfect world full of imperfect outcomes that cause us distress.
We can’t blame God for bumps in the road of life. What we can do is count on Him to help us through those rough places. With God’s perspective, we can find hope and purpose when life hurts.
If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” Corrie ten Boom
Does God care or understand when life hurts?
When Jesus looked out over Jerusalem, He uttered these words, “How I longed to gather you like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:17 NIV). Jesus longed to have a meaningful relationship with the people of his day but was rejected. They eventually turned on him and demanded his death. He understands the devastation of rejection, as well as the realities of physical and emotional pain.
Scripture records that Jesus also cried, as well as endured great emotional stress. (John 11:35, Matthew 26:39). Yes, He understands and cares when life hurts.
God wants to heal our spirit, restore our relationship with him, and welcome us someday into a joyous eternity in heaven. That is why Jesus came to live with us and give us peace for today and hope for tomorrow.
When we have peace and hope we will also find our purpose.
My story of finding hope & purpose when life hurts
There is no getting around it. Life has seasons of hurt and disappointment. My divorce caused me to reel back and forth in shock and disbelief.
My first marriage lasted for 18 years, at which time I was abandoned by my husband. I was tossed aside like an old pair of worn-out shoes that had no value. I was devastated. I wanted to leave that little farming town we lived in. With a population of seven thousand, there were two main streets that intersected in the middle of town. It had three stoplights, one nice restaurant, a cafe, pizza parlor, Dairy Queen, and a handful of other fast food establishments. The thoughts of seeing my husband on those streets with another woman were almost more than I could bear.
25 years later my second marriage ended for different reasons, but with devastating personal trauma. According to statistics, divorce is the second most stressful life event that a person can experience, only exceeded by the death of a spouse. (1)
God has plans for us. Plans that will be fulfilling. Plans that bring meaning to life. When we are hurting, we may have trouble grasping these promises. For this reason, we must simply hang onto the truth until we begin to see the bigger plan down the road. God doesn’t give us pain. But He promises to walk with us through our pain and to give us hope for the future. (Isaiah 43:2)
These are the truths that I hang onto:
- God adores and cherishes me, even when others do not. (2)
- God is faithful and will never leave me, even when others have. (3)
- God will never hurt me, even when others will. (4)
- God promises to create something good out of what is devastating if we will let Him. It is our choice. We can let our difficulties make us bitter or better. (5)
Finding purpose when life hurts
Since life has many unplanned twists and turns, why not let God bring meaning to them? Since my two divorces, I have had the opportunity to share the hope I have found in Jesus. This hope allowed me to survive and even thrive in my singleness.
The most amazing purpose has been mind-boggling. God has given to me a ministry of writing. This really is a miracle. I have difficultly reading due to an eye condition, and I did not like any of the language arts when I was in school. I am much like Moses who was not “eloquent of speech.” I have to rely on God fully to write this blog, as well as manage two Facebook groups.
Only God can receive credit. He does not call the equipped but equips the called, giving purpose and meaning to life.
Conclusion: how to find hope and purpose when life hurts
My friend, the following are quotes from people who have gone through deep personal pain. They learned how to have hope and purpose when life hurts.
“What if this isn’t about you — what if it’s about encouraging others through your own trials?” Dr. Michelle Bengstson
“Suffering ceases to be suffering in some way in the moment that it finds a meaning.” Viktor Frankl (Man’s Search for Meaning)
“Sometimes God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” Joni Eareckson Tada
One day we will understand. It may happen tomorrow, or it may not be until we get to heaven. Until then we have to trust that God can see the big picture and is working to turn the ashes of our broken lives into something beautiful. This is God’s gift to those who love and trust Him.
A gift for you
This Scripture card is a reminder that we can find purpose when life hurts. Simply click on the image to download. NO EMAIL REQUIRED.
- (1) https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/blog/when-marriage-ends-the-impact-of-divorce-on-mental-and-behavioral-health/
- (2) Ephesians 5:25, Psalm 34:18, Matthew 10:29-30, Psalm 40:5, Psalm 139:17, Zephania 3:17
- (3) Romans 8:38-39, Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 28:20, Psalm 55:22
- (4) James 1:17, Psalm 23:1-6, I Peter 5:7, Hebrews 4:16
- (5) Romans 8:28, I Corinthians 1:4, Genesis 50:20, Jeremiah 29:11