Through Every Season: Experiencing God through Brokenness

By: Beth Doohan

“The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” (Psalm 34:17-19)

“And when I am weak, unable to speak, still I will call You by name; Shepherd, Savior, Pasture Maker. ‘Hold onto My hand,’ You say. ‘I Am.’” (Nichole Nordeman)

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One of my favorite songs is called “I Am” by Nichole Nordeman. Through beautiful lyrics that demonstrate a close intimacy with the Lord, she recounts her childhood, young adult years, early married life and motherhood. We hear of sorrow and pain, as well as incredible joy and gratitude, and, through it all, that God says, “I Am.” He is her Elbow-Healer, Secret-Keeper, Comforter, Life-Sustainer, Redeemer, Lord and King. Through every season, He is meeting her every need.

My heart has always been touched by this song, but it became even more meaningful after experiencing God as my “I Am” Comforter in midst of tragedy. All my life, I had wanted to be a mother, and in our third year of marriage, my husband and I felt it was time to begin our family. In March of 2016, we were thrilled to discover that we were expecting our first child. The next month was full of anticipation and celebration. Then, on May 1st, I discovered that I was bleeding a little. It took me by great surprise, and when it continued the next day, I called my doctor’s office. After several hours of testing and waiting, they prescribed pelvic rest to see if the bleeding would stop and scheduled a follow-up appointment.

A few days later, I had another blood test and waited over the weekend for the results. During this time of waiting and wondering, I poured my heart out to the Lord, praying for our baby and asking Him to be our Comforter and baby’s Healer. He brought me to Scriptures of encouragement and filled me with His peace. “But You, O Lord, are a shield around me; You are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy mountain… I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side… Victory comes from You, O Lord. May you bless Your people” (Psalm 3:3-4, 6, 8). In these intimate prayers, I sensed God’s presence more deeply than I ever had before. He met me in my sorrow and fear and was my ever-present help and Comforter.

Season of Grief

On Monday, May 9th we learned that our sweet baby was with Jesus. At this news, my heart was devastated. Never before had I grieved so intensely. Never before had I felt so broken. Yet even in this overwhelming sorrow, my God sustained and comforted me. As the weeks went by, I reflected that His comfort and peace to me during my prayers was not a promise that He would fix everything, but that He was our Comforter in midst of tragedy. He was our I Am and would sustain us. God’s heart was hurting, too, because losing our baby was not His desire.

In this broken, fallen world, we must all at times face intense suffering and pain. This is not by God’s design, but because of Satan and the result of sin in this world. Even as Christians redeemed from sin, we must live in a broken world until we face death or Christ returns. That does not mean we are left in the ditch, for God promises that He will be with us and rescue those who call on Him. But it does mean that we will walk through dark valleys, and when we do, God is with us and will be our I Am: Comforter, Father, Protector, Healer, Redeemer, Lord and King.

Call Out, Cry Out

Psalm 107 recounts four groups of people who faced hardship, who cried out to the Lord, and were rescued. The first three accounts are of people who were unbelievers or who turned from their faith and experienced pain and bondage as a result of their sin. Each time they cried out to the Lord, He heard their cry and rescued them. The fourth group of people, however, is different. These people were living in service to the Lord and following His plan for them. In midst of serving Him, they faced a terrible storm that rocked their world. Verses 27-29 say, “They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. ‘Lord, help!’ they cried in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.” This passage demonstrates how those who follow the Lord will face trials, but that the Lord will come to their rescue every time.

Maybe you have experienced deep loss, brokenness, pain or disappointment. Can I encourage you to let your first response to trials and sorrow be to cry out to the Lord? Just as the sailors did in Psalm 107, call out to the Lord in your distress and ask Him for help. Psalm 138:3 says, “As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength.” The Lord wants us to call on Him and longs to be our Comforter and Healer in the midst of trials, just as He was for me when we lost our baby. Psalm 27:8 says, “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with Me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” He hears our prayers and is close to those who call on Him. He knows our pain and suffering, for He also experienced loss and suffering.

After we lost our sweet baby, there was nothing I could do but cry out to the Lord. I urge you to do the same. Bring your hurts, pains, struggles and fears before our loving Father. He will answer and draw near to you. James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” Again in Psalm 34:17-19, we see how the Lord protects and sustains His children as they cry out to Him: “The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”

The Faithful Love of the Lord

Although I have had times of anger, sorrow and confusion in cycles of grief, I have found the Lord to be a completely loving, intimate, trustworthy God. He has met me in my grief as I surrender to Him. And as I reflect on the Nichole Nordeman song “I Am,” I am struck by the truth that the same God who brought me through seasons of sorrow and joy in childhood, young womanhood, and now adulthood, is with me now, and I know He will continue to sustain me. He is the same yesterday, today and forever!

The end of the account in Psalm 107 says, “The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are struck silent. Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord” (verses 42-43). In every season, we see God’s faithfulness at work. He is with us and helps us as we call on Him. All we need do is invite Him into our lives and allow Him to not only take charge as our Lord and Savior, but to minister intimately to the broken and hurting places of our hearts. He is waiting for us in every season of life, drawing us closer to Him through every circumstance.

Come to God today with your hurts, anger, brokenness, and sorrows, and allow His Holy Spirit to be at work in your heart. To heal you and bring you wholeness. He is waiting for you. Jenni’s and my prayers and love go out to each of you, our fellow wholehearted women.  May God bless you in your journey.

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Additional Scriptures to Meditate on:

  • “My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me,’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming’” (Psalm 27:8).
  • “This is what the Lord says: ‘You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land’” (Jeremiah 29:10-14).
  • “My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember You” (Psalm 42:4-6).
  • “I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.Go away, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer. May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame” (Psalm 6:6-10).

***Beth’s Story is continued in the article “Trusting God after Brokenness: Calling Me Higher.” View the article here:***