When the Lord Gives and Takes Away

How I was healed of a broken heart last Valentine’s Day…


When I began my walk with the Lord, I really believed and understood that He was kind and good and loving.  I began to share my faith with others and would seemingly always find myself counseling and speaking into other people’s lives about the goodness of God.  I trusted Him wholeheartedly, and when He spoke to me, I listened.  I don’t know how I learned it, but I began to ask Him about everything, even the smallest details of my day.  I also learned quickly that He would always answer me because I simply believed Him, so I would just listen and obey, automatically moving forward in the direction He led me in without hesitation.  Whether it was immediate, or much later, I would always ultimately see why He led me in that decision and experience His blessing from following it.  For many years, I never really had a reason to doubt the goodness of God, or His leading in my life…until a reason came.


The Test

When I began to ask Him about my future and not just my day, He started showing me things that actually kind of shocked me.  What was I asking the Lord about, you ask?  Yeah, I was definitely asking Him about my future husband.  I know…super girly and dramatic, but don’t judge me just yet.  I genuinely wanted to know what the will of the Lord was for my life and I genuinely believe that we can all hear the voice of God.  I wanted to hear His voice and know and just follow.  Basically, I wanted to cut out all the drama of getting my feelings hurt with “going after” guys in my heart that weren’t for me, and let God tell me who to choose.  Simple!


The thing is: when I began to surrender my choice to Him in this area, crazy things started to happen.  The Lord put someone on my heart.  The next thing I know, I’m asking God for a sign…and He gives it!  I’m asking Him for confirmation…and He gives it!  I’m asking Him to give me a prophetic word through someone else or SOMETHING to make sure that I’m really hearing Him right, and He not only speaks this guy’s name to me in the craziest of ways (it’s quite an elaborate story), but He literally causes me to hear/see his name almost everywhere I go after that, every week for an entire summer.  None of this had ever happened to me before!  At first, this really freaked me out, but because I would more often than not hear this person’s name during sermons, stories, and even worship at my church, I knew this was from God and not just some sign from my own imagination or thoughts.  He was endorsing something, and because I was truly seeking Him and not this relationship, I knew that He was speaking to me.


So, I prayed for this person for nine months.  I wanted to make sure that this was from God, and not something that I was cooking up on my own.  Since things weren’t happening right away, I held fast to the confirmations that the Lord had already given me and prayed for this guy until suddenly, one day, God tells me that he is going to ask me out.  It happens that day.  Then, a month later, God tells me that he is going to ask me to be his girlfriend.  It happens that day.  So, here I am.  You can imagine that I was literally in awe of God.  I was freaking out because not only had I had this person on my mind for almost a year, and felt like I was a crazy person because of it, but God had actually fulfilled all of the things that He had spoken to me, and I couldn’t deny it.  I had been given an active part in this story, solely by praying and listening to God.  This was insanity to me, but it was my life, and I was amazed.


You can also imagine that I was completely sure of this relationship.  I had stepped into this, not the day the relationship started, or even the day that he told me he liked me, but nine months before.  I had started this with God, and I was determined to finish it.  Let me tell you that there was not a doubt in my mind that this was it – he was my husband.  You can imagine my utter despair then, when the exact opposite of what I was expecting and believing for happened.  The relationship ended.  I definitely wasn’t going to be the one to end it myself because of all of the confirmations God gave me, but when the other person ends things, you really have no choice in the matter.


I was so confused.  I felt betrayed and embarrassed.  I was devastated and in shock.  I thought, “How could this be happening to me if I was literally led into this by You, God?  Why did You allow me to believe that this person was my husband for so long if he actually wasn’t?  Why did You give me all of those signs and confirmations for nothing?  Why did You allow me to waste my year?”  All of these thoughts were swirling in my head, but this is what I heard in my spirit immediately after it happened:


“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”


Let me be the first to say that I did NOT want to receive these words, which is why I knew it was from God and not from me.  I could not believe how God could give me something as drawn out as this, and be telling me so simply that He was taking it away.  However, as much as I wanted this to be what God had for me, I truly DID want what He had.  I was willing to let go.  In fact, I was unwilling to hold onto this if it wasn’t it.  So, I genuinely spoke those words out loud when I heard them, and I prayed and asked God to heal me.  I am not kidding when I tell you that I was healed in five days from a nine month process.  I’m not going to write about all of the details of that here today, but I do want to share with you what I learned from it, especially because it’s Valentine’s Day, and many of you may be in a situation similar to the one I found myself in over a year ago.


The Lesson

My experience after this was not necessarily easy or pleasant.  There was deep, deep grief in my heart, and I needed the comfort of God.  I knew that this was either going to kill me, or cause me to come alive in God more.  There were only two options.  I had to deal with the nagging question of why God would lead me with full faith into something that wasn’t mine.  Was He actually good?  Was He trying to deceive me?  Why would He allow my heart to be broken when I didn’t do anything to deserve it, but I actually trusted Him through all of it?  I ultimately had to come to the conclusion that if God is not real and present in my pain, then He is not real or present at all.  I realized that, because this relationship was made so clear to me, it was from God, and if God is truly good, He wouldn’t have given this nine month process to me if there wasn’t something good in it.  So, I became a glutton for the goodness of God.  I desperately needed His comfort, and I was not going to go a day without it.


Would you believe that even quicker and clearer than God spoke to lead me into that relationship, He spoke to emotionally lead me out of it, enough that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this guy was not, and would never be, my husband?  I ended up looking up the words that the Lord spoke to me right after the relationship ended – the very words of Job in the Bible, a man acquainted with a loss much greater than mine:


‘“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’” Job 1:21


What blew my mind was not just that he said this immediately after he was in unbearable pain, but also the fact that I had never noticed the next verse:


“In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 1:22


WHOA.  Let’s pick that apart for a second.  First, God Himself gave me what I desired and what I asked for.  Check.  Next, God Himself took it away.  Unfortunate check.  However, am I entitled because of this to charge God with wrongdoing?  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  God showed me that I cannot accuse Him of wrongdoing because He is incapable of doing wrong.


With this on my mind, I began to reason and ask Him: “Why then, did You allow me to believe a lie?”  What I say here may surprise you.  I realized that, in that entire nine month process, even though God gave me so many signs and confirmations of my prayers – more than I even asked for, I was never told by God that this guy was my husband.  You may be saying, “Um, yeah, you basically were,” but no, actually, I wasn’t.  You see, I took the signs that God gave me and I ran with them.  I interpreted them how I wanted to interpret them, and I didn’t really leave a lot of room for any other interpretation like: maybe this person was just a good example of a relatively healthy relationship for a season, or maybe there were lessons that I needed to learn in this that I couldn’t learn any other way?


Looking back, I realized that there were many times that I could have, with a clear mind, seen why this wasn’t going to work out, but I ignored those things by recalling the signs that God had first given me to lead me into the relationship, which were what I really wanted to hear.  I had stopped listening to what He was saying in the moment.  I had to repent for my unforgiveness towards Him in believing that He had led me astray, and praise the Lord that it was His “kindness” that led me to repentance, not His anger or wrath or judgment against me for being angry.  God understood what I was going through, and He understood my pain.  He was not angry with me for feeling the way I felt.  He just wanted to show me that He had a better way, and if I was willing to truly trust Him and let go, He could show me.


Through this I learned that God never, ever deceives us, HOWEVER, God is not afraid of our temporary disillusionment if it leads us into our eternal reward.  Just take a look at the disciples after Jesus died on the cross.  They thought He was dead and gone for three whole days!  However, He was willing to let them think that because He knew how they would ultimately be the most blessed by His raising from the dead.  He not only resurrected Himself and resurrected His disciples as well, but He still resurrects the dead dreams and desires of His children today.


I came to the conclusion that if I couldn’t reconcile this experience according to God’s goodness, how could I ever trust Him again?  I needed to KNOW that He was with me in this because even though I was set free from grieving over the person, I still had to grieve the dream.  In the months after this, God spoke to me, cleared my head, and comforted me like never before.  I heard His voice in deeper ways, and I felt His love and peace like never before in my entire life.  He showed me that I cannot resist Him and His love, no matter how hard I try, and even if I have to experience delays or extra development in my dreams, I still want Him more than whatever it is I’m asking Him for.


Job didn’t earn his beautiful family and all of his earthly goods due to his own efforts.  They were a gift from God.  And Job didn’t lose his beautiful family and all of his earthly goods due to his own failures.  God was still with him and was not only his comfort during this season, but his restoration.  Job didn’t earn everything back to him in double of what he had before due to his own efforts or piety or goodness either.  It was still a gift from God.  You see, we can never earn any of the things that God gives us, but even if He takes them away, we can trust that He knows what He’s doing.  Maybe He just wants to give us more.  🙂


Through this experience, I learned that if I am keeping my hands closed tightly over everything that I have, I will miss being able to embrace the double that He wants to bless me with – not including all of the encouragement of knowing that He is still good and has a purpose even in my most discouraging seasons.  I learned that sometimes healthy relationships don’t end in marriage, while some unhealthy relationships actually do.  Why would I want the latter half to be my story?  Even if I have to wait, or I have to suffer a painful season or two, isn’t receiving what God has for me worth it?


You may not always get why things work out the way they do in your life in this area, but whatever you do, don’t blame God.  He is sovereign and He is good, and He is not going to allow anything to happen in your life that has not first gone through His hands – because He is still holding you.  You see, I can think up a billion stories of how I want my life to turn out, but what I really want is the story that God has for me because I know He loves me!  So, I’m still letting Him choose for me, and I’m not saying that is always the easiest decision, but I know that I will see the lasting fruit of it – it will be my life, and I will be amazed.  🙂


“The blessing of the Lord—it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].” Proverbs 10:22

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