When the doctor said, “She will never regain consciousness,” it felt like a punch in the gut! I never expected to hear those words. That meant life would never be the same. That also meant I would never be the same. I dreaded thinking about how life would change, but I was unaware of how it would change me.

Dreams and aspirations motivate us. They give us focus and fuel to move forward. But what happens when an excruciating loss beyond our control crushes those dreams and aspirations? An unwanted divorce? Losing a child? Losing a spouse? I don’t know which is the hardest. I suppose it is the one you are going through at the time. My most challenging loss has been losing Jasmine. Some losses come after an extended illness. Some come after a shorter illness with little time to prepare. Others come unexpectedly, as in a car accident or worse.

The calamity of a crisis is not a respecter of persons. Everyone is vulnerable. When it happens, it does two things—it reveals our character and shapes our character. One thing that it does not do is leave us unchanged. Suffering a significant loss creates internal upheaval that challenges our priorities and values. Things that seemed so shiny in the past lose their luster. They are no longer as attractive nor as important. Faith in God is dropped into a fiery crucible, tested for authenticity and purity.

How do we react? We can close off our hearts and become imprisoned by bitterness and anger, or we can bring our broken hearts to God and receive His comfort and guidance. There is no shame in identifying with the prophet Habakkuk’s angry complaint, “How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Habakkuk 1:2 NIV). It happens to the most committed believers, but it should not end there; it’s a step in the process toward healing. King David wrote, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV). 

Everyone will experience a crisis. It is inevitable. When it does, there will be so many questions. Why him? Why her? Why me? How can this be? How could this happen? What if . . .? We may never get answers to those questions.

Can God heal broken hearts? Yes, He can.

Can He put the shattered pieces back together? Yes, He can, and that will take time.

But the heart will never be the same. There will be scars, like the scars on Jesus’ hands, reminders of the cruelty He suffered out of love for mankind so others may have eternal life. The scars on our hearts are reminders of our profound loss that felt cruel at the time, but they also remind us to invest in the lives of the ones God has placed in our lives. The pain does not feel like love when we are going through it, but God’s love is at work amid the suffering. An open heart to God restores hope. Move forward.