Christmas can be one of the happiest times of the year. However, it can also be one of the hardest times of the year for those who have lost a loved one, or find themselves alone in a new town, or have little money to buy presents because of a recent job loss. No one really embraces heartbreak or suffering. We usually do everything we can to avoid it, and we often complain to God when He doesn’t put an end to it at our first request. But maybe he is allowing the suffering for a really good reason. Maybe He has purpose even when he allows us to experience disappointment or even heartbreak.
I think of several stories from the Bible. Joseph’s story in Genesis, chapters 37-50, is a prime example. Even though Joseph endured great suffering for many years as he wrongly spent time in prison, God had a masterful plan he was executing behind the scenes….a plan that would involve Joseph rising to great power in Egypt and helping his family gain food during a famine in Israel. I also think of the great apostles Peter and Paul. They were beaten and thrown into prison, but God later miraculously freed them from prison and their story inspired many to follow Christ.
The Bible reveals that there is purpose in suffering and heartbreak. Romans 5:3-5 says “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” So, perhaps instead of feeling sorry for ourselves or feeling anger toward God, maybe you and I should choose to trust God even in the midst of heartbreak. Maybe we should ask God to use our suffering to build our character. God won’t waste your heartbreak. He will use it to do something beautiful.