If you’ve ever tried to love someone and they didn’t receive it, this post is for you.
I have experience with this. Sometimes it’s just one conversation with someone and I feel completely shut down. Sometimes I spend years trying to be a friend, and ultimately the person walks away and never returns. These are really hard situations, and I think it would be easy for me to just shrug and say, “Well, it must be for the best,” or “She’ll eventually turn around,” or “God is sovereign.” While these statements may be (or are) true, I think they can keep us from facing the pain of loss. They can also keep us from coming to terms with our faith.
When a person decides your friendship isn’t worth her time anymore, it hurts. If you’re not careful, you’ll miss an opportunity to ask a critical question: How does this circumstance potentially shake my faith and invite doubt to creep in?
There was a time in my life when I lost a friendship that was very dear to me. This woman not only walked away from our friendship, but she also walked away from the Church and the Lord. I wanted to shut down my pain and just “trust the Lord.” But deep down, a storm was brewing. I spent several months white-knuckling my faith, telling everyone that I trusted the Lord’s plan. Only problem was, I didn’t believe a word of it. Why did my friend reject me? Why did she reject the Lord? Why didn’t He do more to intervene? What would happen if she died in the near future – would she go to hell? What was I supposed to do to help her?
These questions flew around in my head like a tornado. I knew I should trust the Lord, but I didn’t. I thought I had to fix something. I thought I must have done something wrong, or else maybe she wouldn’t have walked away.
A moment came when I crashed. In that moment of brokenness, I heard the gentle words of the Lord, saying it was ok for me to be sad. He wanted me to bring my grief and frustration and doubt into His throneroom. He wanted me to stop trying to be strong. He didn’t ask me to suck it up or move on. He allowed me to feel what I was feeling, just like a good counselor would do. And then in that moment (and many more to follow), He turned my heart to remind me of truth. He settled the storm.
This took time. If you’re grieving the loss of a friend, I encourage you to take your thoughts, feelings, and doubts to the Lord. He wants to be your comfort. And don’t be afraid to share with godly friends your frustrations and questions. I promise even the most godly person you know has struggled with doubt and anger. Be willing to be honest and vulnerable.
And finally, pray for wisdom. Just because someone walks away from you doesn’t mean the Lord gives you freedom to walk away as well. He calls us to continually love, even when that love isn’t reciprocated. You may not know how to do that, but He does, and He’ll show you.