When it Hurts like Hell and the World is Crashing Down

by Jackie Riopelle

“Praise Him in the storm.” It’s a phrase I’ve heard many times and it’s something that I’ve said and prayed myself, but it’s not as simple as some make it sound.

I know how hard it is to pray when your heart is aching with pain and your mind is numb. I’ve felt the struggle of trying to worship when everything in you just wants to hide and grieve.

There’s a war that goes on inside because I know who my God is. I know that He is good in all things. I know that He doesn’t abandon me. I know that I can cry out to Him. I know that He is in control. One of the biggest flaws of humanity though is how easily we forget, and I am no exception.

When a baby that was loved and wanted and needed so badly lies dead in his mother’s arms, I forget that God is good. When the man who helped cement my faith jumps off a bridge, I forget that God never abandons us. When the future of people I love is uncertain, I forget that God is in control. When I feel alone and unworthy and broken, I forget that He still wants me to cry out to Him.

I have seen the love and the grace and the mercy of God in ways that are beyond comprehension. I have seen His hand of protection. I’ve heard His voice. I’ve seen His healing. I’ve felt His love. And yet…still I forget.

The fact is, we will always forget. There will always be that war in our hearts and our minds. There will always be that temptation to fall into grief and pain. The enemy will always try to convince us that we are still in bondage. The biggest lie he will try to tell us is that we don’t have a choice about staying there. It’s not true.

When the world is crashing down around me, I can choose to remember that the ground I stand on is solid. When it hurts so much that it feels like my heart is being torn from my chest, I can choose to stand and worship…not in a pretense of being strong and alright…but in brokenness. When I feel alone I can choose to cry out to the God who promised He would never leave me. When doubts fill my mind, I can choose to trust. When things happen and my questions go unanswered, I can choose to remember that His logic is not my logic, and His ways are not my ways, but His ways are good… Even when I don’t understand.

Last month a couple who were strangers to us took us in, they loved and encouraged and poured into us despite their busy schedules. Despite the fact that the wife was eight months pregnant they went out of their way to serve us. Never have I met two people who carry the love and light of Christ as purely as they do. They were so in love with Jesus, with each other, and with their coming baby, Christopher. They were so happy. That was last month.

Last week, Christopher died unexpectedly.

And his parents broke.

How could they not? Their baby is dead. He was so loved and so cherished and so wanted. It’s not fair and it doesn’t make sense. How could a good God allow this to happen? His mom is not ok. She’s not. Her heart is breaking into a hundred thousand pieces and her husband grieves with her. Right now they’re in the worst storm of their life. How can you praise God through something like that?

It’s not even my baby, but when I heard about his death I sure didn’t want to worship. I didn’t want to praise God. I wanted to rage, I wanted to scream out at the heavens, I wanted to demand back the life that He took to Him. I wanted answers. How could anyone believe in God’s goodness at a time like this? How could anyone praise Him in that moment? The enemy screamed into my mind that it was impossible and in my flawed humanity, I forgot that it was a lie.

A few days ago the baby’s mom posted on Facebook. This is a small piece of what she said, “We may not always understand why, but in our hearts is the certainty that God’s will is perfect.”

And I remembered…….That’s how you praise God in the storm.

You break and you cry and you grieve and then you hold onto Him and to His promises with everything you have. You choose to remember that He never stops holding onto you. You don’t have to be ok to worship. You don’t have to have it all together to pray. You just have to be willing to come to God in your brokenness. Even when it hurts like hell, we can choose to praise Him.

Blog is re-posted here by permission.

Born and raised in Massachusetts (not Boston!), Jackie Riopelle is a writer, manager, and a Chick-fil-A enthusiast with a passion for kids, missions, and Jesus. Currently, Jackie is in the beginning stages of a year long missions trip ranging over eleven countries in South America, Europe, and Asia. This trip is unique in that the ministry itinerary is not preset. The team prays as they go out and then they serve however the Lord leads. So far this has included sports ministry, home to home prayer ministry, kids ministry, Bible studies, forging relationships with both believers and non believers and just showing the love of God everywhere they can. Jackie says, “It’s been amazing, terrible, fun, difficult, painful and so so worth it! It’s been absolutely incredible to see what God has done just in these two short months and I can’t wait to see what He does next!”

Here’s what YOU can do……

1) Pray
We came into this journey with the firm belief that prayer is powerful and the more people joined in prayer the better! Please be praying for us for the following:

•  ‎Endurance as we begin to get tired or discouraged
•  ‎Wisdom and clarity as we listen and follow God’s lead
•  ‎For open hearts both in ourselves and in those we come in contact with
•  ‎Provision as most of us are still fundraising

2) Donate
Fundraising is something most people shy away from, but it is definitely one of the ways that God works both in the fundraiser and those that give.
I still have $4,100 left to raise in order to be able to see this mission to it’s completion. If you feel led to donate or to check out what it’s all about, you can access my blog at jackieriopelle.theworldrace.org

3) Tell people about it!
My platform is relatively small at the moment. I would love to be able to share what God is doing with even more people.

Women of the Word has donated to Jackie’s year long missionary journey. We pray for her and we are delighted to share about it here on our blog! WOW’s ministry is inter-generational and we want to encourage young women to step out and do what God has called them to do. Won’t you consider coming alongside Jackie too? Please visit our website to learn more about WOW and join us at an upcoming event soon. The Lord bless you.

Published by

Betsy Roy

Director and President of Women of the Word. Professional Background - Registered Nurse Married to Jim for over 30 years. 3 daughters, 3 grandchildren.