It doesn’t have to make sense right now. Wherever you’re standing or sitting or crying, you don’t need to make any sense of it. If this place feels hard and awful, that’s okay. There are burdens in this world that are hard and awful. Can’t quite push the Christian catchphrase out? Don’t try. It’s okay to grieve. Sorrowing is necessary. You are allowed to feel.

In fact, it’s necessary. Even healthy. Give yourself permission.

But can I dare you to do something?


Return to your lovely Dwelling Place. Return to your one whole Hope. Return to the truth of His steadfast Love. Return to the only One who can make sense and soul-rest from any of this.

Just return.

When you’re in the midst of hard emotions, God looks on you with compassion not disgust. When you can’t quite see past the sorrow, God just wants you to see Himself.  When you’re sitting in the messy, ugly, middle, God is making beautiful things and doing wonderous works.

So return.

We live in a broken, sin-saturated world. Heartache may not be given by God, but He has the power to turn it into a gift. The pain, I think, will never be the good gift…but maybe the good gift is nearness to God. Maybe the good gift is becoming more like Him. Maybe the good gift is discovering your good God despite all the odds stacked high against you. This is all possible, because our God is powerful. But I’m not God, so I have no authority on the matter.

But I do know He gives good things. I do know He wants to satisfy your soul. I do know that He can make beauty out of weary, wandering, wilderness hearts. I do know He loves you with unquenchable, unrelenting love that you cannot fully understand.

You’ve just got to return.

If you’re standing in a place full of heartache and you’re feeling every tangle of emotion screaming there, you’re not a failure of a Christian. Hard emotions are a part of life in this sin-broken world.

But just always, always return. 

Because in the returning, you will realize God has dealt bountifully with you. God has a heart of love toward you. God is a ready Forgiver. God is your lovely Dwelling Place, the Home of all your joy, the Keeper of your hope. And God is the Giver of your painless, good, eternal Forever.

You can lift your wilderness-worn hands and rejoice. This is not the end. Not even close. Our great God is always worthy of all our praise, and these pain-imprinted hearts can freely sing to the God who makes new songs burst forth from old, devoted Returners

Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed even when I spoke, “I am greatly afflicted.” ~Psalm 116:7-10

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