Dad knows the way home

How can we get through unbearable pain?

Dad with child

I remember thinking, “I will never get over this.”

There was no way out. I didn’t care that people told me, “When God closes a door, he opens a window” or any other nice sayings that belonged in threads on a pillow, not something that was actually going to help. There were no windows. Only darkness, pain, and confusion.

I think most of us come to a place where all we can see is the storm. Where joy is a friend we’ll never see again. I talked to a girl yesterday who lost her mother to breast cancer. Her mother was the only family she had. I had coffee with a friend who admitted that she had given up hope of ever getting married after 8 years of prayer and ‘doing everything right’. She was in her mid-thirties and felt it was futile to long for a man. An email came from a girl who experienced an abusive childhood: “It haunts me and has haunted me in my dreams and in every waking moment. I can’t have normal relationships. I never feel balanced.” And then there’s the horrific story I talked about yesterday of the grandmother and two little kids drowning.

Everyone’s story is different, but the pain we all feel at one time or another is universal. Feeling helpless, scared, overwhelmed, angry, and bludgeoned by reality is the place where God comes near.

Our good Dad  scoops us up, holds us close, and whispers, “We’re gonna make it. I love you. Dad knows the way home”.

Your journey will look different than mine. I was never graceful with my pain and did a lot of wallowing and ignoring God. Maybe you handle heartbreak with numbness. Or maybe you stand still in the dark, shaking like a leaf. Most of the time, there isn’t an answer for suffering or a pretty bow that graces your life and make it all ok. Jesus probably isn’t going to bring your loved ones back from the grave, your shattered dreams may still be in pieces, and longing for a relationship, or a baby, or a job may continue.

But I think we all have a choice. We can allow God to come close and hold us, or we can keep him away and cling to our deserves. I deserve a spouse, a baby, a healthy family, a happy life, to outlive my children, healing for my mom. This entitlement numbs our heart and creates bitterness. And bitterness destroys all relationships.

The path to healing, to breathing again, is punctuated with land mines that threaten to trap us; but in the distance, there’s a glistening view that reminds us the storm won’t last forever. We must press on.

When I was in my darkest hour, I finally allowed Dad to come near and show me the way out. It was one of the sweetest memories of my life, a time when I first started calling God “Dad” because He wasn’t confined to the pages of a dusty Bible or way up in the heavens. He was right there with me.

He held me so close and tight and reminded me over and over that “Dad knows the way home.” And I believe He wants to do the same for you.

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10 Responses to “Dad knows the way home”
  1. Greg says:

    “I talked to a girl yesterday who lost her mother to breast cancer. Her mother was the only family she had. I had coffee with a friend who admitted that she had given up hope of ever getting married after eight years of prayer and ‘doing everything right’. She was in her mid-thirties and felt it was futile to long for a man.”

    Having recently lost my mom to breast cancer and having given up on ever finding a spouse, this resonates only too well…

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Oh Greg. I’m terribly sorry for your loss. How devastating. Thanks for sharing with us.

      • Greg says:

        Thank you Ruthie-I grieve for your friend whose only family left was her mom. :( :( I struggle to reconcile the plethora of rosy promises in God’s Word with the devastation of reality bludgeoning us; especially when not all of it is caused by sin. I personally think there’s an awful lot of unbiblical “Christianese” that needs to be eradicated from our minds and hearts.

  2. a says:

    Yeah i had to come to terms that my family is raked with abuse, and i like how you say things dont tie up. Im greiving the loss of a relationship and lifestyle that will never be restored. Theres no solution except that i made a mistake and there are consequences to that mistake. Sin always counts us something, its never free. And then there are times when it isnt sin but either God allowing terrible things to grow us or show us. Either way theres pain all i can as move forward. I like that you are real, life is not disney. Sometimes marriage dont get restored, sometimes friendships end, people die, but I have to believe, that God is sovereign and He knows why. I strive to know Him more so i can have a better understanding if i never get my answer

  3. Mimi says:

    Thanks so much for this article. In a dark place right now and longing for Jesus to come hold me tight and lead me home. God bless you for the encouragement

  4. Stacey Dawn says:

    First, I have to tell you I loved your book, “Real Men Don’t Text.” Fabulous! And I need to add that real Women don’t text either. I caught myself in my last relationship texting and had to stop it!

    Loss is a struggle God has to help me with. I’ve had many losses in life that I’ve been able to come to terms with and have been able to allow Him to heal the holes left in my heart. I do fear what Greg does above of losing my Mom. She’s my bestie and we’ve grown so close over the years.

    She and I both believe that if she gets called Home before me, God will provide and take care of me. I am trusting in that.

  5. mark says:

    Excellent post, Ruthie! I’ve come to realize the important thing in life isn’t seeing where the road is taking me next or what is happening to me now but who I’m with on the trip. Your statement that Dad knows the way home is perfect. Being with Him, and with our committed brothers and sisters in Christ, is what matters. If you can really know and feel He’s with you, where you are doesn’t matter so much. The relationship with Him is what matters.

  6. Meg says:

    Great stuff Ruth! I remember you showing me that Rob Bell video.

  7. Freddie says:

    Ok, so how exactly do you “allow God to come close”? Could someone please explain it clearly to me. I’ve been trying to do just that for years, with no success whatsoever – now *that* is the very thing creating bitterness in me.

  8. Martha says:

    I have to take issue with the thoughts on the “deserves.” For me, it isn’t so much that I feel I deserve the spouse I lost to death, or the children I don’t have…it’s that those are promised to us in God’s Word! Be fruitful and multiply…none shall lack their mate…children are a heritage of The Lord…none shall miscarry or be barren. All in the Bible! Where is the disconnect between what “Dad” promises and what we receive? As for God comforting us…other people can do that for me. God is supposed to be omnipotent. He is supposed to be able to deliver us from our afflictions and give us our promised blessings. When did he go from being the Great Physician to being merely the Great Psychologist?

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