Finding Hope in God’s Love

I was ghosted.  Completely and totally.  And it hurt.

I can’t say he broke my heart.  I didn’t know him that well.  We’d only been communicating for a month.  There was an hour and a half driving distance between us, and we’d only met a few times.  But I liked him.  And I had hope.

Until I didn’t. Until that hope, like it seems to happen so often, was ripped from my fingers.

Those who love and care for me blamed him. They tried to comfort me with the typical, “He’s a jerk,” (plus other name-calling expletives), “He has issues,” and other excuses for what’s wrong with him. Reasons I should be grateful that he pulled himself out of the picture so quickly.  Even so, I internalized it all. I took the slap of rejection. I let the burn of abandonment further singe my already scarred heart. I strapped the weight of, once again, not being chosen over my bruised shoulders. I stitched a scarlet letter “U” across my chest: Unwanted. Unchosen. Unlovable. Unloved.

I know what you’re thinking: that’s pretty dramatic after what can’t be classified as a break-up since there wasn’t even a relationship. Yup, I agree. But I’ve been wearing that “U” on my chest for years. On good days, I can keep it hidden like Clark Kent wearing his business suit over his Superman uniform. But then something like this happens, and I tear the buttons off my dress shirt only to reveal the large ugly “U.” Instead of being the superhero, I plunge myself into the gore, the fire, and the darkness.

In that darkness cycles the questions: What’s wrong with me? Am I too this? Am I not enough that? Is this my destiny?

Then, the real doozy: God, where are You in all of this?

You see, I’ve heard it all before: Only God can satisfy my yearning and broken heart. If I knew how much God loved me, I wouldn’t feel unwanted, unchosen, unloved, un-fill-in-the-blank.

And that’s when I cry. That’s when I feel my soul shatter into a million little pieces because I want to believe that so badly. I want to believe that God is all that I need, and I want to know His love for me is so great and strong and real. But I don’t. And I feel so lost and alone.

I’ve cried out to God. Why do You have to make this so hard?! If You love me, if You really care for me, tell me! Give me a sign! Show me!

I heard nothing. I saw nothing. There was no sign. There was only silence. My despair deepened.

But after the needed time crying out in silent despair (Yeah, I know, how can crying out be silent despair?  If you’ve been there, you get the paradox.), I began to hear tiny whispers.  There were little flickers of light. Not enough to illuminate anything, but like lightning bugs in a distant hay field on a summer’s night. 

You see, it’s only in my despair, after I’ve fully exposed the ghastly “U” in its horrendous, complete power, that I cry out for what really matters. My sobs begin to silence all the other distracting noises. As the quiet comes, I begin to get pulled out of my own head, saved from my own mind. I begin to hear. I begin to see.

What do I hear and see? I hear small voices of love. I read the words God spoke as a doting Father to His prodigal children thousands of years ago… and my newly humbled and receptive heart can hear Him whisper those same words to me:

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” (Zephaniah 3:17).

I see how I’ve mistaken mere humans and their treatment of me for God. I become more aware of others around me who are desperate for love, much like I am, and how God is asking me to show that love through my humanness. That way maybe, just maybe, they won’t mistake poor treatment from people for God’s feelings toward them also.

This is a love story with God. He is the central character, the hero; and I’m a supporting role.  He is also the author, so I need to stop wrestling for the pen.

Sure, God does big things. He can shout His love from a mountaintop. But I’m learning His approach is typically much more quiet and humble. A gentle whisper (I Kings 19:11-13). A simple servant with “nothing majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him” (Isaiah 53:2). His glory and love would be too overwhelming, too overpowering, and would probably impact my choice to love Him back (Exodus 33:18-23). And isn’t that the foundation of love: a choice to trust?

I wish I could say that I ripped the “U” from my chest.  I haven’t yet. I can still feel it there. But I also hear a quiet, humble, yet glorious God reminding me that He actually has already removed the “U” from my chest and placed it on His own (Isaiah 53:4-5). It’s up to me to believe Him.

 I have hope that, someday, I’ll have the courage to do just that.