I don’t know about you but I’m feel pretty heart-heavy this week. I can’t really focus on anything. There seems to be so much hopelessness in the air. Let’s face it, life right now is challenging.
I’m currently sitting at the lake. It’s my place, my anchoring place. It’s where I go when I feel out of sorts with the rest of the world. So here I am, listening to the birds and insects chirp and sing. There’s a slight breeze, causing just enough of a ripple that I can hear the water lap on the bank. Occasionally a fish jumps, interrupting the calmness of the water with its chaotic splash. Even the dragonflies wings make a buzzing sound by my ears as they look for a place to light.
Peace typically finds me here. But not today. Instead, my mind can’t escape the pain that threatens to consume everyone. Just in the past month, I’ve had patients bring to me some of the most intense struggles I’ve ever worked with.
Homelessness, poverty, addiction, despair.
Loss of a child, loss of a job, loss of a home, abandonment.
Human trafficking, abuse, rape, suicide, murder.
Covid, death, Afghanistan, betrayal.
This is just in the past month!
I am a bit angry about it all, to be honest. I don’t want to see these people suffering like they are. I don’t want to know they are in a pain I can’t fix. I don’t want them to hurt.
And then God responds, “Neither do I.”
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10
It is so hard to not be afraid or to feel hopeless but God continuously tells us in scripture that He has not forgotten us. We are not without hope or healing. We are not without mercy and grace. When the world tells us that it is only going to get worse and that there is no hope to be found, God tells us that He is the hope. He is the reason we have to be joyful in the face of tribulation.
But still, I throw up my hands in frustration at the state of the world. I don’t want to be like the toddler, throwing a fit when I don’t get my way;I can’t help but wonder when it’ll all finally end. When will the pain and suffering cease? When are you coming back, Jesus? Is it now?
They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.” — Acts 1:11
How easy it would be to focus on the empty sky, just waiting impatiently for Jesus to return. But that’s not our job. Instead, be alert while boldly living the life each is given.
Yes, there is a tremendous amount of pain and sadness in the world. But much of scripture is being relived right before our eyes. And with all of the despair, it is such a comfort to hear God’s word and remember that it still remains true today.
For even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”
The God who has compassion on you says so.
“Afflicted city, storm-battered, unpitied:
I’m about to rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
Lay your foundations with sapphires,
construct your towers with rubies,
Your gates with jewels,
and all your walls with precious stones.
All your children will have God for their teacher—
what a mentor for your children!
You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness,
far from any trouble—nothing to fear!
far from terror—it won’t even come close!
If anyone attacks you,
don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them,
And if any should attack,
nothing will come of it.
I create the blacksmith
who fires up his forge
and makes a weapon designed to kill.
I also create the destroyer—
but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged.
Any accuser who takes you to court
will be dismissed as a liar.
This is what God’s servants can expect.
I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.”
God’s Decree. — Isaiah 54:10-17
I’m thankful for my anchoring place. It helps me to escape the world, instead falling into the Holy Spirit’s unfailing guidance. I may struggle with carrying the pain of others but I will joyfully proclaim His healing for the pain.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Perhaps you’re exhausted with the world and just need a respite. Won’t you allow God’s Word to embrace you, covering you like a blanket? There is nothing you are going through that He doesn’t understand. Praise be to God, He always understands.