A Letter to a Hurting Friend

I love you, dear friend.  My heart aches for you.

I know exactly what you might be feeling right now.

You wake up those first couple of mornings and you either cry, or you feel like crying but can’t get it out.  You think, “Wait, maybe I dreamed it all.  This can’t be MY family.  This is someone else’s nightmare.”  But there’s this lead weight on your chest every time you get out of bed.

As time goes past, you smile and laugh at little things, but you’re still not whole inside.  Every once in a while, you just have to cry again.  Because the enormity of it comes back at you.

You don’t know what to say to her.  If you haven’t already said everything, you don’t know if you even should.  You want to yell at her and lecture her until her head spins around, but, even with the immense horror of it, there’s also this powerful love for her, like she’s suddenly not just your family member, but someone hanging onto the end of a rope, dangling over shark-infested waters.  You love her more.  More than ever.  And you just want to embrace her forever as well.

You feel so helpless you could scream some times.  Throw things.  Break things.  But what would that help?  It would do nothing but give you marks on the wall and broken dishes.  A hoarse throat.

You wish you could shake her upside down so hard that her brain falls out her ears, and you can stuff it back in with it wiped entirely clean.  Like you could start over from five years ago when she seemed  innocent and none of this happened.  And you could whisk her away so that she never met the boy, never started the addiction, never got depressed.  And you think that if you just kept her away from it all, she’d stay the person you know.

But the truth is, she wouldn’t have.  It would have been a different boy, a different addiction, or a different destruction of herself.  Because that sin was in her heart.  No one failed her.  She is a sinner and this is her specific poison.  God, in His infinite sovereignty found the need to bring it out now.  To deal with it, to chisel it out of her and chastise her.  To bring her closer to Him no matter what it takes.

And when you realize that this nastiness was always inside of her, you look at everyone differently.  Is your church full of people who are greatly loved by godly parents, by loving friends, but who are rejecting it all – rejecting their Savior?  And you start to doubt everyone.  And, of course, yourself.  Because if your dear one can sin in this way, anyone can!  No one is safe!  Nothing is secure!  We are all depraved.

And, if you have been thinking and feeling all of this, then, it’s in this moment, when the walls of people around you have fallen down, when what you hold dear flees from you, and when you feel the most helpless and insecure, then that is when God becomes so huge.  He looms in front of you like a shelter.  It is strange how sweet and precious He can become when tragedy has hit its hardest.  But His righteousness shines brighter, His holiness is purer, and His love feels larger than life.  And, if you run to Him, if you abandon the last shreds of your own will, your security, and your tears, by running full tilt at Him and into His arms, you actually, positively, wholeheartedly will find peace and contentment.  Against every odd.  When it seems like your heart should be shattered – you find that His glue, that cleans up the broken glass and fits it back together, is soft.  His love, that flows into all of the crevices of your broken heart, is so sweet it’s indescribable.  No one who hasn’t seen a loved one fall can possibly understand.  No one who hasn’t felt loss gets what I’m talking about.  Many would rather never go through hardship and never experience this oneness with Christ.

I’m praying for you.  Praying you feel that peace that truly does surpass all understanding.

I understand and I’m here for you.

Love you much.

RJ

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