How To Find Hope Despite A Broken Relationship 

How To Find Hope Despite A Broken Relationship  June 7, 2024

The face of a hopeless man
Find Hope
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Sometimes, failure stares me in the face and seems to mock my very existence. In the quiet moments lying in bed long before sunrise, when there is nothing and no one to distract me, I wrestle with a thousand regrets. There are no ruminations of suicide because that would only add failure to failure, but I often pray, “Jesus, You can take me home anytime You want.”  

My dad used to irritate me when he’d say, “There’s no rest for the wicked” (quoting Isaiah 48:22). He suffered enormous emotional and physical distress because of his poor choices. I swore I’d never become like him, but I can remember many sleepless nights. 

Am I wicked? 

Has the Lord abandoned me, along with almost everyone else?  

Since my divorce, I have lost most of my friends and a huge chunk of my family, and very few hold me in high regard anymore. Strolling through my iPhone contact list or Facebook reminds me of my many broken relationships.  

A man left behind
Broken Relationships Hurt
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Discouragement is an enemy that hounds me at every opportunity. 

David, in a season of depression, wrote words that are tattooed on my soul. “I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me.” (Psalm 69:8, 14-15, NIV).  

I find it comforting that this “man after God’s own heart” (I Samuel 13:14, NIV) struggled with deep insecurities and personal misery. Seventy-three of the Psalms are attributed to David, and they are loaded with cries and complaints to God. In Psalm 22, he wrote, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Yes, Jesus quoted this verse from the cross in His moment of despair.) 

David also knew what it was like to live with failure. He wasn’t God’s guy because of His moral purity and stellar character; he was a murderous adulterer who would never win “Father of the Year” awards, either. However, David consistently threw himself at Abba’s feet in heartfelt devotion and confidence in the Lord’s mercy and goodness. 

What David Did Right . . . 

In other words, David consistently chose God, and it was his choice, not his character, that set him apart. When it comes to our relationship with Jesus, it is our choice to follow Him, not our performance, that matters most.  

Yes, of course, obedience and character matter, too, but on our best days, we are far from perfect. David was special because he pressed on and surrendered his heart to Yahweh regardless of his struggles, failures, or circumstances. 

I love Michele Howe’s insight: “Am I choosing to preoccupy myself with myriad of flaws, faults, and weaknesses? Or will I choose to set my heart, mind, and soul on God and know him better?” I can attach my heart to God amidst my struggles or to my past. I choose. 

Am I wicked?  

No! I am redeemed and perfect in God’s sight. (I know; it’s also hard for me to believe.) 

Am I abandoned by Jesus?  

No. Never! 

A Man Sitting On A Bench Alone
You Must Find Hope Despite Broken Relationships Hurt
Image by Franz Bachinger from Pixabay

However, the relational consequences of my choices often persist.  

I am so grateful for Abba’s mercy (i.e., I don’t always get the pain I deserve) and for His grace (i.e., I do get His undeserved blessings).  

That said, being estranged from some of my kids, grandkids, and extended family is excruciating. (Here’s another helpful article about how to navigate social and relational changes due to divorce.) At times, I strive to have hope. I need to believe restoration is possible.  

I wish I could give you “three pain-free steps to healing.” Sorry, I can’t. There is no easy path to rebuilding a broken relationship, but there is a way that starts with a humble, heartfelt prayer. Prayer is the antidote to our depression. It’s why David cried out to the Lord so often. 

My most frequent prayer is from the last verse in the Old Testament: “Jesus, restore the hearts of my children to me and my heart to theirs.” I have whispered those words hundreds of times.  

That very last verse in the Old Testament Scriptures is an odd one. In the context of referring to frolicking, well-fed cows (I’m not kidding) and a reference to the prophet Elijah, Malachi expresses a prophetic promise.  

Malachi Speaks About Hearts . . . 

Here’s what Malachi wrote: “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents . . .” (Malachi 4:4-5, NIV). 

Malachi’s book addresses judgment and God’s desire to renew His covenant with His people. It is also filled with messianic and probable end-time prophecies.  

About 400 years later, in Luke’s gospel, the angel of the Lord appeared to Zachariah and spoke to him about his son, whom we would later know as John the Baptist.  

“And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17, NIV). 

Our relationships are important to God, especially those between family members. 

The Scriptures are full of many examples of tensions between parents and their children. (I wrote about fathers and sons here.) Knowing our human nature and how we tend to be unforgiving and hold grudges, the Lord made something clear to us. He wants to heal the parent-child relationship and restore hearts to wholeness. 

A Depressed Man Sitting in the Dark
How to Find Hope….
Image by Polina Barinova from Pixabay

I have failed my family many times. 

As a man. 

As a son. 

As a brother. 

As a husband. 

As a father. 

A plant emerging and flourishing
Don’t Give Up! A plant emerging and flourishing…
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Yet my Heavenly Father, who knows and sees all—past, present, and future—shouts hope into my heart, “Hold on, Kurt. All is not lost. My specialty is restoration and renewal, and I want to heal your relationships more than you can imagine!” 

And He will. 

He is our hope for restoring broken hearts and damaged relationships, and prayer is our path. At the very least, prayer will alter your heart’s focus from self and your struggles to Him. 

Thankfully, in His time, Abba makes all things beautiful and somehow works all things together for our good. 

So, don’t give up. 

Don’t wallow in despair. 

Do get on your face and cry out to God. 

My grandma used to have a small plaque on her kitchen wall that read, “Prayer changes things.” 

It does. 


You can find out more about Kurt Bubna and his writing on Twitter and Facebook. You can read more about his views and insights, both in his books and on his website.


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