Twice, in tremendous agony over lost love, I’ve been tempted to take my own life. On both occasions God stopped me before I acted on those feelings.

The first time, I had a knife to my wrist, when the whisper of God stopped me. Death was not the answer. He would heal my hurt.

The second, I was driving along a country road, sobbing helplessly. I noticed a tree at a curve in the road and contemplated speeding up to hit it full force. Again, the Spirit stopped me, reminding me I had two girls to raise. Plus, what would it say about my proclaimed faith in God if I gave up now? Jesus would hold me through the heart-shredding pain. Even when the thought returned on other trips past that tree, God kept me on the road and gave me the will to live.

Years later, I could relate to the despair portrayed in the movie “Castaway.” Tom Hanks plays a FedEx executive shipwrecked on an island for four years, kept alive only by his wife, Kelly’s, picture and his determination to get back to her. When his will to survive wears thin, he attempts to commit suicide, but even that fails. When he finally makes it back home, we anticipate a happy ending, but he finds out his wife, thinking him dead, has remarried. How can a guy survive so much loss?

His friend asks how he resisted the temptation to kill himself on the island, and how he will recover from this new devastating blow. He says:

“I was gonna die there, totally alone. I was gonna get sick, or get injured or something. The only choice I had, the only thing I could control was when, and how, and where it was going to happen. So… I made a rope and I went up to the summit, to hang myself. I had to test it, you know? Of course. You know me. And the weight of the log, snapped the limb of the tree, so, I couldn’t even kill myself the way I wanted to. I had power over NOTHING. And that’s when…I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope…So that’s what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day…the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I’m back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass… And I’ve lost her all over again. I’m so sad that I don’t have Kelly. But I’m so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”

When we put our trust in God, this is even more true. We never know what is just around the bend, or coming on the next tide. We don’t know what He has planned for us. That is what happened for me. I’m so glad God never let me go, even when my faith was weak. He gave me hope for a better tomorrow. And now I have a life full of love and purpose.

James 4:14 says we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We cannot boastfully plan to get rich, travel the world, and enjoy perfect health. But neither can we predict doom and gloom for the rest of our lives. So, wait for the next wave and see what comes. God might bring just what you need to get off your island of despair. Ask Him what to do where you are right now. And hold on.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Ps. 27:13-14)

Nichole Nordeman’s song, “Hold On” was such a comfort to me in my darkest days after a divorce that threatened to destroy me. I hope it helps you too.