Balm to my Shattered Heart
Shattered Dreams Testimonial by Joy Klassen
My heart lay strewn in a million pieces. My dream for my little grandson was shattered, and tears fell as I held his lifeless body in my arms. Examining each little finger and toe and sweet little lips, I cried out to God, knowing that only He could somehow make something out of this. It made no sense. Our prayers stormed the throne room, and yet it felt like God had not listened. In the days that followed, the tears flowed, and I wondered about the reason that God collects tears in a bottle. Surely he had enough of mine to fill a small pond.
Grief has no timeline. A year later, having just resigned from my position as a pastor, I found myself looking forward to School of Spiritual Direction class #33. One of the prerequisites for the course was Larry’s book “Shattered Dreams.” I sat and read, my heart resonating with his words on the back cover of the book: “Shattered dreams are never random. They are always a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story. The Holy Spirit uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for God…”. I was intrigued by this book as I picked up my highlighter in my hand. Okay, I had to read it. But what would I find inside?
I had struggled from the time of my grandson’s silent birth and as much, if not more, now, a year later, with wondering why God was so unresponsive in the middle of this brokenness. Where was God, and why didn’t He think Jay should live? Did I even believe that God was faithful? How could I pray with boldness and believing along with those to whom I was a pastor?
And where was God in the middle of the ugliness that came out of my Christian co-workers in response to my grief? My goodness, were we not all Christ-followers, believing in responding in grace and love? I was so done with Christian pat answers and flippant Jesus quotes!
I needed God to speak. My heart was so broken. Our dreams shattered. My resignation gave me time to walk and talk with God and to begin the process of walking in my grief.
The timing of this must-read was God ordained. I needed to figure out what to do with my feelings toward God, whom I had loved with all my heart and served for years. I was confused by what I felt was a non-response toward us.
From the time I opened the cover ‘til the time I closed Shattered Dreams, I had no doubt God knew what was happening in my heart. I also believe that He knew this book would be like a balm to my shattered heart.
The greatest thing about reading the book was about hope! Through the stories of when “both shoes dropped,” I saw that “God’s surprises aren’t always pleasant.” Ouch, that was an understatement!
I think one of the quotes that spoke to my heart the most was the following: “God will never allow suffering to come into our lives that is not necessary to achieve His good purpose. He doesn’t like to see us suffer. He didn’t like to see Jesus suffer either.” (page 44, Shattered Dreams)
Larry’s words spoke deeply, cutting to the depths of my soul. I began to understand what that quote was about, that God the Father knew exactly what suffering was about as He watched His Son go to the cross for us. My heart resonated with the text like a dry sponge, and my soul drank it in.
Then I met the author, the one I think of as a spiritual father. The words Larry penned in this book came to life during the time I studied under him. Larry himself was not void of shattered dreams. But I saw the love for Jesus, and the love for the Trinity, and the HOPE that oozed out of him for the “best that was yet to come,” and my life changed. The book, coupled with the words Larry spoke in person, fell on my heart, and God knew that my healing had begun.
I began to understand the HOPE that we have in Jesus and how my faithfulness, even in the midst of the shattered mess of life, will move me in my relationship with my Beloved LORD. From that, there will be joy as I know Him more and experience the Trinity in my life.
I am so thankful for this book. It has become a book I have shared with many in ministry, as I encounter those feeling like their lives and dreams have shattered and hope is gone.
Dr. Larry Crabb with Joy Klassen, Author of this Blogpost