How I Handled the Hardest Day of My Life

I was sixteen and on my way home from a week-long summer camp with some of my best friends. Everything about my life seemed perfect, and I couldn’t have been happier. I was laughing, joking around, reminiscing without a care in the world. Then my cell phone rang. It was my sister. “Mom’s in the hospital. The doctor says something is terribly wrong with the baby. They have to do a caesarean section immediately. We’ll pick you up as soon as you get home and take you to the hospital.” Those were the tragic words I heard coming through my phone. Tears immediately began streaming down my face as I realized my baby brother (the one I had been hoping and praying for) had very slim chances of survival. The next few days went by in a blur. Before I knew it, I was holding my dying baby brother in my arms. As I sat there with my family in the cold hospital room, I couldn’t believe what was happening. I tried my best to cherish those final moments and soak up the beauty of his adorable face through my tears. The moment we were all dreading came and little baby Matthew breathed his final breath. He was now in heaven, and I was absolutely heartbroken. I had never experienced anything so painful. Even all these years later, I consider that day to be the hardest of my entire life.

Faced with a Choice

In the days, weeks, and months that followed, I was faced with a choice. I could pour out my heart to God, cling to His promises, and trust in Him for healing. Or I could grow bitter and angry. I knew what I needed to do. Instead of choosing bitterness, I chose to trust in God. I chose to believe that His ways are perfect and that He was using all things (including my brother’s death) for my good and His glory. Though my feelings often told me otherwise, I chose to hold on to promises from God’s Word like this one:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).

Choosing to trust in God during that time was not an easy thing to do. I had so many questions that I knew would probably never get answered. Questions like:

  • “Why did he have to die?”
  • “Why did You allow my mom to get pregnant if You knew he was going to die?”
  • “Why did You answer our prayers by giving us a baby?”
  • “Why does this have to be so painful?”

Despite my questions, feelings of sorrow, and confusion over the whys, I learned three very important truths.

Truth #1: Trusting in God is a choice, not a feeling.

In the wake of Matthew’s death, I learned that I have to choose to trust God despite how I feel. It’s easy to trust in God when life is going the way we want, but when life is hard, trusting in Him is so much more difficult.

I have to choose to trust God despite how I feel.

I’ll admit that I still struggle with this. I have to constantly remind myself to choose to trust in God and His Word despite how I feel. I bet you’ve heard this familiar verse. Would you listen to it carefully again?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Prov. 3:5–6).

God will direct our paths and show us His plan for our lives if we fully and completely trust in Him.

Truth #2: God is always there for me.

Through this situation I learned that God will never leave me. He is always there and will bring peace and comfort if we choose cling to Him. Even though my heart was breaking, God gave me incredible amounts of peace and comfort. I felt so confident that God was working in the situation and that He was very present in my life and my family’s during this time. The Bible says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10). God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will strengthen and help you if you choose to trust in Him.

Truth #3: God will strengthen you for the hard stuff.

The next time you are going through a hard situation, remember that God is sovereign and loves you so much. He desires for you to trust in Him and find peace in His promises. He wants to offer you the strength to make it through those hard times. Let’s talk about it. Are you struggling to trust in God with a hard situation in your life? What have you done in the past to find peace and comfort in God?

About the Author

Bethany Beal

Bethany Beal is the co-founder of GirlDefined Ministries and co-author of several books, including Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity and Identity. She is passionate about spreading the truth of biblical womanhood through writing, speaking, and mentoring women, and you can catch her unpacking exciting and controversial topics every week on her podcast, The Girl Defined Show. Bethany is married to her best friend and husband, David, and they have one son, Davey Jr.