When Everything is Gone, Gone, Gone… What Shall We Do?

I collapsed into bed and confessed, “That was absolutely brutal.”

I felt like every part of my heart – its blood, veins, arteries, capillaries, ventricles, aorta and more – had been forcibly strained through a sieve and then pureed into a mass of agonizingly-painful, emotional pulp.

Oh, my heart hurt.

I was reeling from yet another heart-wrenching story. This week, I have graciously been given the privilege to listen to the cares, worries, struggles, and challenges of dear friends. I am incredibly thankful and humbled by their trust. Indeed, I am gratified that I am available to listen and to love others – just as they are – as they work through their feelings, process their emotions, and debrief their hardships. However, there are times. Yes, there are times when I am rendered helpless by what I hear. The stories and situations are beyond my comprehension and beyond my reach. There are just no easy answers or solutions to life’s great calamities.

Honestly, without knowing and taking comfort in the truth that my God is near to the broken-hearted, I have no idea what I would do.

When every dream is dashed, every resolve is extinguished, every ambition is thwarted, every direction and purpose is waylaid, and when every joy is shattered, even when everything is gone, gone, gone, gone…

I embrace the truth that my God is not gone.

We need to hold on to this truth – and hold on tight – when everything that we knew, when everything that we understood, and when everything that we could do has been removed from our lives, we need to know that our God is ever-present.

Yet, there may be times, when trouble comes hard and fast that we may wonder where our God is in the midst of our disorientation, struggle and loss.

Is He really near?

Is He really speaking into our lives?

Is He really aware of what has just happened?

And if so, what is His response?

Does God care?

Habakkuk, one of the minor prophets, had similar ponderings in an age long ago. His nation was on the brink of disaster and ruin. In fact, Habakkuk prophesized that the Chaldeans would invade Judah and destroy Jerusalem. This vision devastated him. He understood that God would use the ruthless and cruel Chaldeans as an instrument of judgment against his faithless and unrepentant nation of Judah.  Habakkuk called upon his God to show mercy:

Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

New International Version, Habakkuk 3:2

In other words, Habakkuk petitioned for the Lord’s favor and care in the wake of the complete annihilation of every part of his way of life.

Habakkuk realized that all authority, position, leadership, impact, influence, ability, favor, gift, and life itself emanate from God. Does that mean that every blessing and every hardship are offered by the same Holy Hand?

Paul wrote:

For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

New International Version, Romans 11:36

Or said another way:

All things come from God, through God, and return to God. Praise him forever! Yes, it is so!

Worldwide English – New Testament, Romans 11:36

So, yes, everything does come from the Sovereign Hand of God.

How does that sit with you?

And, what happens when every creature comfort in life is removed?

What happens when catastrophe strikes, destruction lays waste, failures descend, status wanes, and dreams never come true?

When all is gone – position, power, leadership, authority, influence, relationship, health, capacity, and every material possession as well – when every possible prospect has failed or never materialized in the first place, is the Lord’s favor gone, too?

Habakkuk provides an answer:

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

New International Version, Habakkuk 3: 2, 17-19

When the Lord is the object of our trust, our hope, our love and our devotion, then it is He who is enough to meet our needs. He will provide the strength and comfort we require when difficulties and challenges descend and we honestly have no idea what to do.

The favor of God still rests upon us.

Habakkuk demonstrated resolute trust in his God to see him through the devastating challenges that awaited in his future, in his hopes, in his dreams, and with his every breath. He understood that his life was hard and about to get even harder.

In some ways this is true for us all. Life is not easy. Yet, could we, like Habakkuk, see our God in all situations? In prosperity and adversity, in victory and defeat, in success and failure, in health and in illness, in joy and in depression, in ability and in inadequacy, in assurance and in shame, and in life and in death?

Could we?

Though I struggle with loneliness and depression,
    and adversity, failure and shame imprison me,
though my body and mind have lost their strength and capacity
    and my frame is weakened and frail,
though I stray from knowing and trusting, you, O God
    and I have no assurance of  tomorrow,
yet I will still rejoice in you, my Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    He enables me to tread on the heights.

Yes, Lord, I will trust You.

Even in times when I feel most helpless and most fearful, in times when my heart seems beyond repair, I will trust you to help me keep going on…. on to the heights of faith, hope, and love with You. I will keep going on despite every failure, every hardship, and every loss. Yes, Lord. I will keep going on with You even as my heart aches for those I love and cherish and there are no easy answers. Yes, Lord. You are our strength, our hope, and the object of our love and devotion. We will keep going on…with You.

Amen.

2 thoughts on “When Everything is Gone, Gone, Gone… What Shall We Do?

  1. Beautiful reminders. Sounds like you are an empath. May He carry you allowing the pulp juice make delicious wine. XX

    1. Thanks, Renee! Our Lord is ever present and ever ready to meet us at our point of need. I appreciate you and your tender, caring, and loving heart! With love, heather

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