One of the worst things that modern Christianity teaches is that Christians aren’t supposed to struggle with despair and hopelessness. The fact is that life can sometimes get so painful that even those of us who are believers struggle with deep despair. The following passage in Job illustrates this point: Job 10:17-19
17 You bring new witnesses against me and increase your anger toward me; your forces come against me wave upon wave. 18 “Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
I wish I had died before any eye saw me. 19 If only I had never come into being,
or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave!. In this passage Job had just lost his family, his wealth and his health and understandably he just didn’t understand why God allowed him to go on in this state. His pain was so intense that he just couldn’t see that there was still hope. Sometimes in times of darkness we begin to believe that there truly is no light on the horizon and we feel like God has abandoned us. Yet it is in those times that we need to trust in God the most because he is the only hope we have. I once heard a pastor say that “you never will understand that God is all you need until God is all you have”. It is so easy for us to trust God when our lives are going the way we want but so hard when everything seems to be going the wrong way. It is in these times we can believe the lie that God has forgotten us or that he no longer loves us…. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The bible says that “he who God loves he reproves and disciplines” and discipline doesn’t simply mean correcting us when we sin…. It also means training us to become more like Christ. Sometimes the pain we suffer through isn’t because we have done anything wrong it is simply the means that God is using to make us more like him. Often, it is in the times of greatest darkness that we are closest to the light that God is about to bring. He promises never to test us beyond what we can handle but that doesn’t mean he won’t bring us up to the edge of where that point is…
My friends, I hope that in those times of pain you will not believe the lie that despair and heartbreak aren’t normal responses. The scriptures teach there is a time to grieve and in those times it is ok to have feelings of hopelessness as long as you turn those feelings over to God and do not give in to them. But God knows what is on your heart so please don’t try to hide it from him because until you are willing to lay those emotions at his feet you won’t get any better. In my own life I have struggled with chronic severe back pain for the last 8 years which is due to a rare form of arthritis that affects the spine. As much as I want others to think I have it all figured out, in truth there are some days it is really hard for me to trust that God is in control and that he stills loves me. It truly is a struggle for me to realize that in this pain God has a plan and that he is using this for my good and his glory. When I was younger, I used to believe that Christians who struggled with these things were weak but now I see that it is only the Christians who have strong faiths that will admit their needs and struggles to God and others. I regret that I didn’t show grace and compassion to those people who were hurting when I was younger. Maybe it took me having to endure this illness for me to finally show grace, compassion and love to others who hurt. Regardless of the reason God has given me this burden or given you the burden you face the only thing that matters is that we remember that no matter what we face…. he is with us and he loves us. I see all the good things that have come from my own struggle with chronic pain and I know but for this illness I never would have been able to speak into so many peoples lives, and for that I am forever grateful.
One important thing I want you to remember is to always pray for those who are hurting and show compassion and remember that you are never too busy to encourage and show kindness to someone. Make time for those who hurt and never make them feel like they are a burden but a blessing. In truth it is a blessing to get to comfort those who hurt for in doing so we get to be the hands of Christ to another. The scripture teaches also that “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” and that means don’t wait for someone else to come along and help…. Stop what you are doing and encourage them.
In closing, I would encourage you all that life is filled with both trials and joys and not to believe that your trials will always be as hard as they are right now… God is with you in the times of pain and pleasure and he will not push you beyond the point you can take. And remember that God never meant for us to be alone and that is why we have the church so we can divide each others sorrows and multiple each others joys. If you see someone hurting remember the greatest commandment is to “do unto others what you would have them do unto you” so find a way to be there for them. Sometimes when people are hurting they will push you away and they may say things that hurt you but if you really want to be a good friend don’t let them isolate themselves and remember that hurting people hurt others so even if they lash out just be forgiving and gracious. Love others without the expectation of anything in return and in doing so you will find joy and peace. Finally remember that sometimes all of us can lose hope and the thing that brings us back is often the encouragement of those who are in Christ.
About the Author: I am a Birmingham attorney who has been in private practice for over seven years. I have a general practice, so I get the opportunity to help serve people who find themselves in some very difficult circumstances. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it encourages you. I always love getting thoughtful comments, so please email those to me. also our website is www.reidlawalabama.com . Here is link for those of you interested in learning a little more about the firm https://youtu.be/mrXGUfmQ3is .