In the past week, I’ve walked with a friend through a miscarriage, listened to a heroin addict explain that he shoots up because his brother was shot in front of him, and sat with a friend confessing sin and sharing how the consequences will affect their life.

Though I’ve not experienced their specific pain, I also feel the brokenness of the world in my bones. The aches in my heart and body remind me that not all is as it should be in this world. Every broken promise and early goodbye leave another scar, another fear to fight.

The world handles this brokenness in a number of ways: denial, self-help, seeking anything to fill the void or heal the wounds. It’s taken me almost a decade of being a Christian to realize that just because I am a believer doesn’t make me immune to doing these same things with more spiritual language.

For example, being so focused on dwelling with Jesus in heaven that I do not share Jesus with this suffering world. Covering guilt and shame with my attempt at good works rather than looking to the finished work of Christ on the cross. Pretending pain isn’t real instead of embracing what it means to be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”

After four years of walking through a hard season, I’ve discovered the emptiness of my pursuits. My best intentions and “solutions” to brokenness in and around me don’t work. But reading the pages of Scripture has given me a better word:

You can love Jesus with your whole heart and still be sad.
You can love Jesus with your whole heart and still lose people and things you love.
You can love Jesus with your whole heart and still make mistakes.
You can love Jesus with your whole heart and still suffer.
You can love Jesus with your whole heart, and it can still be broken. You can still be broken.

But here is the beautiful thing: Jesus died for the broken. He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29). The pain I see in the eyes of those around me is not unseen by Jesus. The same can be said of the aches and scars you carry.

Not one moment in our lives—not one decision, mistake, change, or loss—happens apart from God’s intention. As difficult as this may be to believe when faced with evil or hardship, we need only look to the gospel to know it is true.

When Jesus died, he was a 33-year-old single man who “had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2b). He was despised, rejected, and mocked. His formal ministry started at 30 and took place over 3 years before ending with him being led like a lamb to slaughter. No worldly eyes would look upon such a life as “successful.” How would we treat such a man if he showed up on a seminary campus?

Yet this is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And this was God’s plan all along, prophesied in Isaiah 53:10:

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days.
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

The worst moment in all of history was ordained by God as part of his plan of redemption. This should be comforting to us as we walk through the worst moments of our lives.

God’s Word says, “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Jesus was displayed on the cross—an instrument of torture, shame, and death—only for a moment, but he will reign on his throne in glory for all eternity.

Believer, God’s plan for your life is better than anything you could have expected because what is broken will not only be restored but redeemed. No matter what you lose in this life, if you have Christ, you have gained all. Take heart: we can acknowledge the sadness of the world without forsaking the beauty of the gospel because ours is a gospel for the broken.

How does God's Word impact our prayers?

God invites His children to talk with Him, yet our prayers often become repetitive and stale. How do we have a real conversation with God? How do we come to know Him so that we may pray for His will as our own?

In the Bible, God speaks to us as His children and gives us words for prayer—to praise Him, confess our sins, and request His help in our lives.

We’re giving away a free eBook copy of Praying the Bible, where Donald S. Whitney offers practical insight to help Christians talk to God with the words of Scripture.