Sometimes there are no good choices, only a choice between something very bad and something even worse. Sometimes the most loving choice you can make involves the certainty that the person you love will misunderstand your actions, will think you have abandoned them, when in fact your motive is to protect them from a greater harm and create a better possibility for them. A possibility is all it is, not a certainty, but you reach for it. Not to do so—that would be the betrayal. You pay the price of releasing someone you love, knowing they will think the worst of you, knowing they will experience your greatest act of faithfulness to them as abandonment because they cannot see the bigger picture behind your actions or perceive the kind of love that will give up what is dearest to it in order to provide for them a chance available no other way.
That kind of relational divide, enduring the cross of being misunderstood by someone who is heart of your heart, dearer to you than your own life, is an excruciating form of dying on behalf of that person’s best and highest interest. It is a wound that does not easily or quickly heal, and I think that for most who have experienced it, it never heals completely. You die twice. The first death is your own heartbreak; the second death is knowing the heartbreak your loved one experiences. And the second death is more agonizing than the first.
But there is this: Paul’s prayer “that I may know [Jesus] and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:10-11 NASB).
The fellowship of his suffering. It is a comfort to think of and a promise to hold onto: that when we pay love’s high cost, we enter into the heart of Jesus, who gave his utmost on behalf of what he loved best—you, me, and those we love. In making that same choice in the way that is allotted to each of us uniquely, we enter into royal fellowship with the King of Love, who is also the Prince of Peace and our great and wise Healer.
If you are one who has had to choose between great pain and greater pain for your loved one and yourself, may the Lord’s love and reassurance rest on you. If you have known what it means to wonder whether you made the right choice, may the peace that comes through entrusting your loved one to him soothe the questions that have no answers in the face of things you could not, and cannot, control. And know that you yourself are greatly loved, more than you can imagine; known and understood better than you know and understand yourself; and blessed and cared for by the One whose opinion of you is far higher than your own, and is the only opinion that matters. His verdict of you, and his word to you, is not “Failure.” It is “Well done!”
Welcome to the fellowship of his suffering, in which you will come to know him in ways you never can otherwise. And look for the power of his resurrection–for there is peace for you at the end of the journey.