God made us for relationships—and he made relationships for us. He created us to be connected to him and to live our lives in community with others. Despite the fractures that can occur from differences of opinion or perspective, friendship is truly one of God’s greatest gifts to us.

But this journey of following Jesus means that if we are going to keep our hearts open, soft, sensitive and connected to humanity, then we must realize that we are never going to be bullet-proof when it comes to the unexpected pain and heartache we can experience in fractured friendships.

Every time we’re hurt deeply, we’re faced with the opportunity to let that wound define us and our journey in some capacity—for a season or for the rest of our lives. Maybe we’ve altered our course, scaled back our dreams, or given up on them all together. Maybe we’ve believed something about ourselves—consciously or subconsciously—that may not be true.

Unexpected emotional wounding is so deeply painful because it is…unexpected. It hits when our defenses are down, and our trust levels are up. How critical then to understand that even when people leave us and hurt us, God never leaves us nor forsakes us. He understands what it feels like to be kicked in the gut, to have the wind knocked out of us, and he cares. He promises to be there for us and to help us: “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath” (Psalm 34:18, The Message). Even when people are unfaithful, God is always faithful.

Trusting again is the way God wants all our stories to unfold, because trust is the fuel that keeps us moving forward in faith, embracing all the unexpected adventure that God has planned for us. God created us to do life with people. And in order to fulfill our purpose, we will need to build and nurture relationships, connections that involve people who are very human and could quite possibly hurt us. We have to learn how to guard our hearts, and yet, at the same time, be vulnerable to those we pull in close.

Adapted from Unexpected: Leave Fear Behind, Move Forward in Faith, Embrace the Adventure by Christine Caine. Copyright © 2018 by Christine Caine. Reprinted with permission of Zondervan Publishing. All rights reserved.

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