Broken in God’s Right Hand (Feb 2013)

By Matt Dabbs

By Michelle Goff

Have you ever been in a place of pain where you could only take life a moment at a time, maybe an hour at a time, prayerful that you would get to a place of taking a day at a time as so many recommended? I’ve been there. Recently. Deeply and profoundly. But God is faithful and I am at a place now where I can share at least a small part of my story.

No matter what the source of our pain or the context of our hurt, there is a raw place of human emotion that is so overwhelming and so vast it can leave you feeling disconnected from yourself. You are unable to think, to move, to breathe, or function. The emotions are so present, so intense that there is no room in your brain or your being to process anything else – not a thought, or a prayer, or a sound.

In sharing my story, I ask you not to focus on the details of the events surrounding my pain, but instead to reflect on the reality of the human condition and raw emotion that stem from those deep places of hurt that we all have and long for God to heal. I heard a great quote along the way, “Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Time reveals how God heals all wounds.” May His healing in my life bring about the hope of healing in yours as well.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The best part about healing is that God meets us where we are and is okay with finding us wherever we are on our journey. There have been moments where I wasn’t able to pray, wasn’t able to talk; when I felt so alone and dark that no one could penetrate through my shell of self-protection. For me, the shutting down and shell of self-protection came as a result of the unexpected shock and pain of my fiancé calling off our wedding and ending our relationship two and a half months before the wedding.

One morning, two days after that fateful evening, my dad came to my bedside in support and to say a prayer. He had suffered his own recent loss and pain and was hurting with me while still in his own process of healing. As he prayed over me, I was unable to process his words to God on my behalf. I began to physically shake, to emotionally overload, and mentally break-down. I couldn’t handle the prayer. I wanted to know he was praying. I wanted to know others were praying. But I was not in a place to be able to physically hear those prayers.

As he finished his heartfelt words lifted to the Father, it was all I could do to not lash out at him, at God, at anything in an attempt to make the pain go away. Instead, from a strength I didn’t know I had, I told him “Please know I’m not rejecting you. I’m not rejecting God. I want to know you’re praying. I appreciate you’re praying. But I cannot hear those prayers. I just can’t. I’m sorry. I… I…” No more words would come. Even the physical pain at that point was too much. My body was shaking. My voice was shaking. I had nothing left.

A month or so later, as I reflected on that encounter and my apparent rejection of prayer, I realized several important things. God knows my heart. He knows my pain. He knew that my rejection of my dad’s prayer, at that time, was not a rejection of God or of the loving support of family. And God was okay with that too! He was there, meeting me right where I was! God promises to “never leave us nor forsake us” (Isaiah 41:10). So why would He forsake me in a place of pain just because I can’t put my prayers into words or process the prayers of others? Enter Holy Spirit! What a blessing that we have a Comforter that can interpret groans we cannot express.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. ~ Romans 8:26-27

Not only does God promise to not leave us nor forsake us in Isaiah 41, but He paints a picture of embrace through verses 10 and 13. Just three weeks after the breakup, at a ladies retreat I would’ve preferred to skip, I was meditating on Isaiah 41. I noticed the promise in verse 10 that God “will uphold you in [His] righteous right hand.” In verse 13, God takes hold of “your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” His right hand with your right hand. You have to be facing each other for both parties to engage their right hands. What a realization: God, facing me, seeing my pain, taking my hand and holding me in His embrace. Wow. The God of all comfort bathed me with comfort in His loving presence at that moment, meeting me where I was and leading me toward healing.

My process of healing is not over. I thank God for providing many friends and family who have faithfully walked with me and prayed for me in my journey. And as that journey continues, I trust and share with new found hope that I am honored to serve a loving God that never leaves us or forsakes us, even in our deepest moments of pain, loss and sorrow. May you come to know Him in that way as well. May you invite Him to meet you where you are – even if you don’t have the words to voice that invitation.

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1583 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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