“‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” Mark 14:36 (NIV)
The only way I could fall asleep was to lie to myself. “If you can just fall asleep, when you wake up you’ll realize this is a nightmare that will soon end.”
But that wasn’t reality. The next morning, I woke up and the devastation was there in an even more heartbreaking way. I reached across the covers and all my fears were confirmed.
My husband was gone.
Death hadn’t taken him. No, the hijacking of our normal was a slow erosion that led to an eventual landslide wiping out everything secure about our relationship.
That awful morning happened nearly three years ago. And I promised myself if I actually survived looking my greatest fears in the face, I would eventually be a voice of help and hope for others thrust into a darkness they never imagined.
So, here I am. I survived. We survived. And we’re determined to turn our battle scars into a battle cry to help others.
Whether you’re reeling from a life altering circumstance or you’re wrestling through something not turning out the way you thought it would, I know what it’s like to say, “It’s not supposed to be this way.” And I feel compelled to tell you three truths you must hear:
1. You are not alone in wanting things to be different and asking God to change your situation.
Did you know even Jesus asked God to change His circumstances and fix what God surely could have fixed in an instant? Listen to these words of Jesus right before he was arrested and eventually crucified:
Mark 14:36. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me….”
I have found such comfort in remembering the humanity of Jesus. Yes, His divinity made him perfect and sinless, but His humanity felt the brutal weight of human hurt. He understands loneliness, betrayal, and being devastated by people He should have been able to trust. He knows what it’s like to be lied to, misunderstood, falsely accused, and rejected. And because I know He’s felt what I feel, I know I can trust Him to lead me through my heartbreak.
2. There is a place to attach our hope but it’s not to our desire for changed circumstances.
Verse 36 doesn’t end with Jesus’ request for things to be different. It ends with the strongest statement of trusting God that I can find in the whole Bible: “… Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
In other words, Jesus had a strong desire for change. But He had an even stronger desire to trust God with it all. This is hard for a girl like me who loves to suggest to God all the ways He could surely fix my circumstances. But God loves me too much to do things my way. His plan is always better even if I can’t understand or see it clearly as it’s unfolding.
3. Though my story took the most unexpected twists and turns through the darkest valleys I’ve ever known, God’s plan was good.
Only God could take a string of really bad circumstances and add them together to make a good I never knew was possible. None of my suggestions to fix things ever worked. The good only came in God’s timing and in unexpected ways.
And though our normal will never look like it used to, it’s been replaced by something better. A deeper awareness of who God is and an unexpected strength that comes with truly trusting Him.
Don’t give up dear friend. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop hoping and believing. But also, don’t believe that your way of getting to the other side of your circumstance is the only way. God has a perfect plan for a path to a renewed joy and a redeemed future that’s probably one you can’t even fathom. Trust Him.
The hijacking is over. I no longer lie to myself. Now the only way I can fall asleep at night is to speak truth. God is here. God is near. God can absolutely be trusted with it all.
Father God, these devastating circumstances have left me so weary. But the truth of Your love leaves me hopeful. I’m trusting in Your plans for me and I’m lifting up these words to You – not my will, but Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
In my newest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, my heart is cracked wide open so that the words, life lessons, hope, and courage I’ve found in the midst of disappointment can help you find unexpected strength for your journey. Order your copy here today.