The Long Hard NightBy JaLynn Berglund
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While other children were put to bed with tales of fairies and beanstalks, I was tucked in to stories of whales and floods. God has always been a huge part of my life. I’ve experienced miracles, gone on mission trips, and seen an angel. I have no doubt that God is powerful, real and most importantly, He loves me. I’ve heard Him speak with the wonder of thunder and intensity of fire, but some days (even though I know it’s not true) God feels silent.
It’d been one of those weeks: my worst enemy — the alarm clock, my most missed friend — food. Already tired, my puffy eyes were sobbing out salty despair. “Why?!?” my head echoed the word as if I’d yelled it across a canyon. What had I done to deserve this? The "D" on my paper, my dog dying, and ripping my favorite pair of shoes, I was a barely glued together mess. Now, my boyfriend chose now to break up with me? Even the Ben & Jerry’s “Phish Food” that I was shoveling into my mouth wouldn’t fix this.
He’d been so perfect, with sincere blue eyes and surfer blond hair. Plus he loved children! Obviously, he was the one, and now he was gone. I remember kneeling on the tile floor in the bathroom, goose bumps prickling down my body, the “phish” I’d gulped forcing their way out, like salmon flopping upstream. (Life tip: don’t eat your favorite ice cream if you’re going to sob all night, or else it’s likely to stop being your favorite ice cream.)
I remember it as a long hard night, but what I remember most is praying. Kneeling in front of the toilet, I was also kneeling in front of God. Each tear that fell was a petition, begging God to find a way to get us back together. He didn’t. My ex didn’t suddenly become inspired to want me back. God didn’t even show up with a box of Kleenex (which I desperately needed).
For the next four months, there was a part of me that was angry with God. Every love song on the radio felt like paper cuts under a fingernail. Every time I heard my ex’s name, it was like lime juice poured on the paper cut. Why had God let me be so hurt? Why had God been silent? Where was He?
Two years later, looking back, I’m so glad my ex and I broke up. It taught me to be happy single and empathetic towards others hurting in similar ways. Most importantly, it taught me that God has a bigger plan. Sometimes life will hurt. Sometimes we’ll find ourselves kneeling in front of a toilet, but that’s the perfect time to pray. I learned that God doesn’t always stop the pain, and sometimes He feels far away. But if we keep trusting, someday we will look back and realize: He was there all along. “And after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12).