My first good cry after my broken engagement came the day after the Super Bowl, nine months after the relationship ended. I happened to be working in Philadelphia that day. So while the Eagles fans were flying high after their epic win, I was suddenly crestfallen.
The tears slid easily down my smooth, freshly-shaven face. I could taste the salty streams as I let them travel to my quivering lips. It’s not as if I wasn’t sullen or didn’t cry before that day. There were many difficult times prior to that point. But why had it taken me so long for the flood gates to open? I don’t know. On one hand, some people seem to grieve quickly, brush off a loss and move-on. I wish I was like that. Instead, I consider myself a slow feeler on my best days and a veritable brooder on my worst.
It’s been a sloth-like process of letting go. Ugh. Put another way, my heart, beliefs, and feelings are often like a massive freighter that carries transatlantic cargo. These ships move best in one direction. They turn slowly. And when they do, you wait a while. That’s me—a big ocean vessel loaded with emotions. It despises turning. That’s why, over the years, I’ve never spun from one relationship to another. I know how difficult and time consuming it is for me to change course.
I also like to fight God, to get Him to move. It might actually be my favorite pastime. I often start training by punching my pillow in anger over my circumstances. After that, He and I will do many rounds before I throw in the white towel. Can you relate?
In January, I visited Athens, Greece for three weeks to share the gospel with refugees. I met Rafi, and Bilal, Wajid and Ahmed, and Saeed and Seena. I believe God is enough for them. Many times I even prayed His sufficiency over them out loud. I know their most important need is not resettlement in Sweden or Germany but to know the love of Jesus. Of course, I want them to begin a new life in a prosperous nation and I’m happy to do whatever I can to see them enter the United States. At the same time, their eternal place of dwelling, starting here on earth, supersedes anything else. This begins with repentance and faith in Jesus.
As I proclaim to languid sojourners from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq that God is enough for them, do I believe this in my own life? Do you? Is God really enough when we must deal with letting go of a place, possession or person?
God certainly is more than enough, even when life doesn’t make sense for the hundredth or thousandth time. How do I know? First, He is my source and my foundation as a believer. My identity is in Christ, not a spouse. What does that mean? By declaring God as my source I am saying He is my well-being. Practically speaking, I can mentally and physically rest because the Lord is with and within me.
Second, God being enough means I needn’t carry the extra weight of worry and anxiety of how things will work out. As Zig Ziegler said, “Who said it was up to you to solve all your own problems?” It’s a lie that we must keep vying and contending for everything. So in regard to what I’m powerless to change, I won’t. The desires that lie within God’s realm, I will pray for. As I grow another year older next week, I hope to jettison some cargo from my proverbial boat and lighten the load of these entanglements. Maybe I’ll even abandon ship and start living on a speedboat!
Third, I haven’t given up on my dreams, and can only attest my fortitude to the Holy Spirit as I wait for their fulfillment. For all of us, as followers of Christ, we are invited into enduring hope.
As I push my own life-restart button I know many others in Athens are trying to do the same. I think of displaced men like Ahmed who lives with eight other men in a small room and pays $450 a month in rent. It’s extortion. His whole world right now is about waiting. Our circumstances are not the same but we both want to be somewhere different. My goal is to remind myself that the God who has a wonderful plan for my new Persian friend, has one for me, as well.
So, what about you? In what areas do you need to trust God today? Where are your circumstances causing you to cringe? May the Lord meet you exactly there, at the heart of your greatest need. I also pray that you will be able to feel His “enoughness” in your heart. If you need to hit (or re-hit) the reset button in an area of your life that isn’t working, please join me.
Recovering from a broken engagement is more difficult than I could have imagined. I’m not out of the woods yet. Yet, as Graham Cooke notes, when things are difficult, focus on God’s promises and not what His provision will be. I need to stop speculating how things will turn out. I don’t know who I will marry but I know I am called to marriage. I’m letting God sort out the details. Until then and after then, God is more than enough—for me, for you and all my friends abroad who are waiting for their dreams to be fulfilled.