No doubt, we live in a world of shattered dreams and hurting people. Every one of us has been broken, bruised, or disillusioned in some way. Maybe some of you are at a crossroads in your life right now.  You’re looking for direction. You’re looking for answers and solutions for the heartaches, grief and anxiety you are experiencing.  I have a friend who is struggling with these emotions, and questions if things will ever change in her life. This example only serves to prove that we brush shoulders everyday with people who need to be restored, filled with hope and even persuaded that God really cares about them. 


We all have dreams and aspirations for a happy life, but sometimes those dreams can be crushed in an instant. When tragedy occurs, we cannot rely on our own strength. We need to be surrounded by people who love us, and most of all we need to receive God’s comfort and supernatural peace.  I don’t claim to be a therapist, but I can share with you from the wellspring of my life’s experiences. Maybe you are like me and you’ve had some dreams shattered, or you’ve lost a loved one recently. 


I will never forget the day, a few years back, when John Cary Bittick (who was Monroe County Sheriff at the time) pulled up in our yard. As I looked out the window, I noticed the expression on his face. I instinctively knew that something was terribly wrong. I opened the door, invited him in and asked, “What’s wrong?” Sheriff Bittick took a deep breath and said, “I’m sorry to tell you that your son Bobby was involved in auto accident and he was pronounced deceased at the scene.” I sat down in a chair. My husband stood beside me and held my hand. We were in total shock and disbelief. 


When I regained my composure, I asked Sheriff Bittick questions that many bereaved ask. Questions laced with the words how, when and where did this accident take place?  He shared the report he had with a tender and compassionate heart. When Bittick left, I collapsed in my husband’s arms. I was numb with grief. Tears flowed like rain. My husband and I were both heartbroken.


I’m sharing this experience, because my heart goes out to the residents of Monroe County who have lost a loved one recently. My deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of locals Shirley Treadwell, Debra Ruth Hall and Chris Burkett who lost their lives in a tragic train wreck. Tears also come to my eyes when I think about the bereaved parents and family of 17 year old Caden Swancey. Swancey died in an auto accident this past week. He was a student at Mary Persons High School.  To say that Monroe County is grief-stricken from the shocking tragedies that have occurred in the past few days, would be an understatement.


Is it going to take time to get past the losses we experience in this life?  The answer is yes. But we don’t have to make this journey to healing and restoration alone. Keep leaning on the everlasting arms of Father God.  He understands that you are hurting because of a tragedy or loss you’ve experienced. He understands that you may be struggling with anger, disillusionment and grief. He hears your heart cry when you ask, “Why Lord? Why?”


Grief is different for each person and the grieving process cannot be rushed.  I read somewhere that no one gets over the death of a loved one, they simply learn how to live without them. If you know someone who is grieving, reach out to them with the love of Christ. The Bible encourages us to bear one another’s burdens. Showing your love, care and support can lighten someone’s load, and help ease their pain in a time of adversity and loss.


For those who are grieving, you may be asking yourself, “How will I ever recover from this loss? I wondered the same thing when I was going through a time of deep sorrow. One of the most profound things God has ever impressed upon my heart came in a time of prayer. I was depressed and mourning the loss of my son Bobby. As I poured out my heart to God, these words flooded my soul like warm oil being poured over my head: “My child, I can heal every broken place and fill every empty space in your heart.” Comforting words of assurance from our Creator and Redeemer that I would love for you to claim as your own.


It has been said that sorrow looks back, doubt looks around, but faith looks up!  Even in these troubling times, keep trusting God. When you are anxious, fearful or overcome with grief– look up to God! Many questions may still remain in your mind, but I encourage you to cast all your cares over unto Jesus. Place your worry, anxiety and hurt into the most capable hands in the universe. Last but not least, embrace this reassuring promise: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalms 34:18).  God bless you all.