My girlfriend just broke up with me, and I’m crushed. Why would God let this happen?

I have been through a couple of tough breakups, and during those times Scripture was a great consolation. God wants us to remember that even when we know nothing about our future, “the Lord is trustworthy in every word, and faithful in every work” (Ps. 145:13, NAB). The Lord’s timing is perfect, and his will is your refuge. His plan will be clear in time, so be still and know that he is God, that he is faithful, and that he knows exactly what he is doing. “The works of the Lord are all good, and he will supply every need in its hour. And no one can say, ‘This is worse than that,’ for all things will prove good in their season. So now sing praise with all your heart and voice, and bless the name of the Lord” (Sir. 39:33–35).

It is natural to feel a painful sense of loss during this time, but in the midst of this suffering, do not lose your peace. In the words of Saint Paul, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16–18). The prophet Nehemiah advises, “Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength” (Neh. 8:10, NAB).

Although rejoicing may be the last thing on your mind right now, God deserves our thanks just as much when times are bad as when everything goes our way. One of the most beautiful forms of praise to God is when we thank him for his providence before we see it unfold. After all, is he less of a good God when we cannot fathom his ways?

Take this time to draw closer to God. As Psalm 62 says, “My soul rests in God alone” (Ps. 62:1, NAB). The more our peace depends on human beings, the more we will realize that another human being can never satisfy us. I sometimes imagine a little throne on top of the human heart, and we get to decide who sits there. We often place people there, and if things go well with them, life is beautiful. When things go wrong, and they do not reciprocate affection or say just the right thing, then we lose our peace. Only God deserves to sit on this throne, and only he can hold it in peace.

This is not to say that once we put him there, nothing affects us. Trusting him does not mean that we will never have feelings of hurt or confusion. It simply means that in the midst of the storm, we remain at peace even when it seems as if Jesus is asleep (see Mark 4:35–41). Now is a good time to make sure that all is in order in your life and that doing God’s will is your number one priority. Sometimes we are so anxious about our relationships with others that we forget that the most important relationship in our lives must be our friendship with God. Pray that you may be single-hearted for the Lord.

Also, know that your suffering is not in vain. When you accept suffering, you can join it to the sufferings of Christ and offer it as a prayer. The apostle Paul said, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church” (Col. 1:24). If you need a suggestion regarding what to offer your sufferings for, I would ask that you offer some of them as a prayer for all of the teens I speak to about chastity.

You can save many souls through your sufferings, although many people do not realize this. As Saint Thérèse of Lisieux said, “Sufferings gladly borne for others convert more people than sermons.”[1] If we understand redemptive suffering, we will be able to find joy in our crosses.

Blessed Mary Teresa of Saint Joseph wrote, “I have but one wish: to suffer as much as possible for this short while. It does not matter what kind of suffering, as long as it is suffering. From my heart I bless and thank all who have caused me to suffer. To suffer for God is the only joy which heaven does not have.”[2]

So suffer well, be still, and trust the Lord. As the saying goes, there are years that ask questions, and there are years that answer.

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[1]. Joe Hanley and Jack Manhire, eds., Classic Quotes of Catholic Spirituality (Chicago: PLS Press), 9.
[2]. Mary Teresa of St. Joseph, Mother Mary Theresa of St. Joseph, Rev. Berchmans Bittle, O.F.M. Cap., trans. (Wauwatosa, Wisc.: Carmelite Convent, 2000), 249.

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