He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak (Isaiah 40:29 NCV)
Friend to Friend
I love a great movie! To me, a movie is great when good wins over evil, the right guy gets the right girl, nobody gets hurt and everyone lives happily ever after. A bit naive, I know. But I have decided that there is enough harsh reality ripping through daily life without paying to see more on a movie screen.
With these criteria in mind, I went to see the movie “Seabiscuit.” There I was popcorn in hand, minding my own business and enjoying my brief respite, when his words slammed into my soul, yanking me back to the tenacious essence and interminable power of truth.
“You don’t throw a whole life away just because it’s banged up a little.”
I was done.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the movie, those words linger still because it seemed they were written just for me.
The reality is that we are all “banged up a little.” In “A Farewell to Arms” Ernest Hemingway writes, “The world breaks everyone and many are strong at the broken places.”
We all have hidden scars, fresh wounds, and broken places. The good news is that God is drawn to broken people. In fact, He accomplishes His greatest work through those who are most broken.
“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name” (Isaiah 45:3 NIV).
God has gone before us and in every trial and painful circumstance has buried a treasure or stored rich secrets that can only be found by going through that darkness. The most powerful truths are revealed in the darkest times. In fact, pain intensifies our need for God and can be counted as a blessing.
I struggle with clinical depression. The darkness has been an all too familiar companion for most of my life. Over the years, I tried just about everything to soothe the pain – things like success in ministry, the approval of others, perfectionism, doing good things, food and … you get the idea.
In 1995 my carefully constructed world fell apart and I spent two long years at the bottom of a dark pit of depression. I had no idea how to handle the pain and hurt. I cried out to God. He heard my cry.
“He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak” (Isaiah 40:29 NCV).
I don’t know what your particular pit is.
But I know what you are feeling.
You may be desperately clinging to the broken and mismatched remnants of your life, wondering how you can go on.
Whispers of the enemy creep into your heart, soul, and mind, taunting you with the lie that you are just too dirty and broken for God to love or use.
It seems as if nothing and no one can change that reality, so you might as well give up, throwing your life away.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Hurt may be inevitable, but misery is optional. How we respond to pits and pain is our choice.
We can surrender to the darkness and create an identity that feels at home in a pit, or we can embrace the pain and learn from it.
We can settle for a life defined by pain, or we can harness the power of our pain and use it for good.
We can try to ignore the pain and hope it all goes away, or we can face it and let God heal the broken places.
Those are not just words. They are choices you and I can and must make every single day. God knows. God hears. God will breathe life into the right choices that we make. And today He is asking, “Daughter, what will you do with your pain?”
Father, I don’t understand what You are doing in my life. The darkness is very real and filled with more questions than answers. And I don’t like it! But I love You, Lord, so I choose trust over fear and faith over doubt. Today, I choose You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How has hurt impacted your life? What has been your typical response to hurt? Does that response line up with the truths of Psalm 40:1-3?
More from the Girlfriends
Mary Southerland seemed to have it all until clinical depression brought her world crashing down. Experience Mary’s story of deliverance through her book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, a practical guide designed to help every man, woman, or child who battles depression.
© 2023 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.
Thank you, Mary, for these thoughts. I lost my beloved husband about six months ago, and while God is healing me, it’s so hard to go on without him. Thank you for reminding me of the “treasures of darkness.” My heart aches when I remember the life we had together, but I know that I can rely on my Father to help me.
Thank you, Mary for this great writing.
“You don’t throw a whole life away, just because it’s banged up a little…” is a statement for a whole lot of us!
My Bible study group is studying the book of Colossians. I’m struggling with Col.1: 24, rejoicing in the suffering part. I know I should be mature enough to understand this, but I guess, there is a part of me, that is still not releasing to God. I totally hear what Beverley is saying and you too, Mary.
I pray that I’ll get to the place like Paul, where suffering is an action of trusting totally in God’s decisions. I may not like it, but He is the only one that knows what is better for me.
Blessings to all GIG readers today.
Mary, Thank you for your transparent testimony. It is a powerful thing to minister to those who are going through the same things as you are. You offer such hope and authenticity with your message to a lot of people. God bless you on your journey.
Thank you Mary. Your words are a comfort and reminder for me in this season of my life. There is more pain than I have ever experienced, but I do know the Lord is in control. It’s hard to see when you think things will never change. Especially when it comes to your children & grandchildren, whom do not even know you. 🙁 There has been too much heartache these last two years. My girls are astray. One in an horrible relationship. I pray protection over her and those babies every day.
I have lost my father this last January. I know the pain won’t last forever, but it still is so raw.
Thanks for the words of hope.
Please pray for my girls and my grand babies, because prayer is the only thing I can do right now. I know it is enough, but sometimes it feels like not enough. Ya know?
Thanks again for your words of encouragement. I am gonna try and let them sink in. Much love to you & bless you.
Trust God and stand on his Word. He is able to completely heal anybody that will trust and believe without doubt.
Beverly, I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine the pain you have and are experiencing, but God knows. I pray He comforts you and sustains you in the days ahead. Blessings!
Carol, thank you for your words of encouragement. I think we are all there … at a place where we have to trust God even when it is hard. God bless you, friend, as you stand firm in your faith.
Mardiece, thank you for your kind words. I really believe that God allows us to go through many of the trials in life in order for us to share our experiences with those going through the same thing. We are a family, the family of God. Together, we are stronger. Blessings!
Terra, I am so sorry for the pain you are experiencing. Not being able to be part of your grand children’s lives must be such a heartache. I am praying right now for you, for your children and your grandchildren. Stand firm, friend.
Ms. Q, all I can say is amen, friend! You speak truth and wisdom, a great reminder for us all. Thank you so much! Blessings!