[ y o u a r e n o t a l o n e ]
One of the most powerful truths you can ever hold onto during times of pain and trial is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Why is that so comforting or important for us to know? Because, if you don’t understand that you have a God that loves you more than you could ever think or imagine, you will see your painful circumstance as direct punishment or a condemning act of God. You see, I know this because I have experienced it. I know what it feels like to question if all the bad happening in your life is a reflection of the way God feels about you. Trust me me when I say that this is NOT OF GOD, and the enemy would love for you to believe it. As long as I’m entertaining the seeds of doubt about whether or not God actually cares about me anymore or if He has moved on to focus on and bless other more “qualified” Christians, then I have in that moment believed that God is no longer for me, that no one could possibly understand what I am feeling and that “I AM ALONE.”
We were never created to go through this life in isolation. Why? Because when you are alone, you are left to your own devices, your thoughts will consume you (and we know that those thoughts aren’t on your side) and you will lose hope. And what happens when that desperate moment of survival kicks in? You what I am talking about. When you know that you absolutely are incapable of going through this trial, that you’re too weak, the pain is too much and that you can no longer keep your head above the water… At that moment, you have a choice. It is in these moments that will determine the course of your life. So what are your choices? Choose your source:
CHOOSING TO COPE.
In order to figure out what happens when we choose coping as our source of relief, we must first define it.
- To manage or suffer through, survive, struggle, endure and live with
- To keep one’s head above water
I can tell you that our natural inclination, even subconsciously, is to chose this source because it is our flesh (or sinful nature) that seeks a quick and easy fix. Our minds work almost strategically to find the most convenient solution to rid us of this pain. Well, here is a secret: pain is a good thing. The situation itself can be a very bad thing, but pain is good because it is only through pain that we are able to grow and break free from our old mindset. Just like a child whose mind is constantly growing, should we be in our walk with the Lord. Coping is not ridding yourself of the pain, it is NUMBING your pain. Meaning it will come back, usually in the form of bitterness, resentment, anger, or insecurity. So this source is no solution. Instead it acts as a false and temporary distraction, only to make your situation worse.
Now, let me give you a few examples of what this may look like:
- seeking attention from a man or woman
- getting high
- getting drunk
- sleeping around
- working harder
- seeking more money
- trying to keep yourself busy
- partying every night
- attempting to improve your appearance
- maybe you have a different way of coping
One thing that makes me so angry about all of this, is that the enemy will entice you with whatever coping mechanism YOUR flesh is most vulnerable to giving in to, in order to simply destroy your life. It is an enticing distraction that will leave you empty, broken and hating yourself. I can promise you that it’s a false hope that leaves you in a pool of regret, no closer to being free from the pain you were trying to escape in the first place. We MUST learn to recognize the enticing distractions that the enemy throws our way in order call his bluff. DO NOT GIVE IN. Do not fear pain, and do not try to manage it: surrender it.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
[ h e b r e w 1 2 : 1 – 2 ]
CHOOSING TO SURRENDER.
So basically, “surrender” is simply an antonym to the word “cope.” It is the exact opposite. Coping will tell you to run from pain, surrender tells you to walk straight through it. Coping is an attempt to control the outcome, surrender is trusting that God lead you where you need to go.
Here is a crazy thought: God is completely willing to remove your happiness for a season in order to save your life. He wants you to receive His best and to not settle for anything less. And unfortunately, we wouldn’t begin to understand what our “best” is if it was packaged and shipped in our names. Thankfully, God is good and He knows better than to give us what we want. And I know very well that people go through some pretty heavy and heart-wrenching trials and I’m not naive in knowing that there are some things too heavy to just say, “welp, God knows what’s best so it’s all good.” No. I know that going through painful trials the right way (by healing and coming out on the other side stronger and closer the Lord) is a process, and will take moment of surrender after moment of surrender. The absolute only way to ensure that you come out of a trial in a way that is pleasing to the Lord is to surrender it to Him. How do we surrender our hurt, fears and mixed emotions to Him?
Well, remember that moment when we have a choice to make? We must CHOOSE to reject our coping mechanism, and choose to walk down the harder and life-changing path that leads us to fulfillment and life. We must surrender by:
Start by HUMBLING ourselves before Him, and with a transparent heart, lay it ALL down at His feet. In more basic terms, we must first be honest with ourselves and with God about what exactly we are feeling, most likely in tears, and trust Him with it. Pour out your heart to Him, He cares and He promises to comfort you.
Even when we feel that we are lacking trust in God, by choosing to surrender rather than to cope we ARE walking out the little faith we have. And that is beautiful. We believe that He really is trustworthy and we will follow Him wherever He leads. We are learning to trust God. Trust that He really does want good for you, that He really does desire a blessed life for you, that He really does want you secure in Him, that He really does have a plan for you, and that He really did choose to love you first without you having to prove it first! God desires all these things for us, but He also desires us to trust His timing.
Then, Jesus will take your hand, lift you to your feet and walk WITH you through this storm. The only way to heal and grow is to walk through it, not around it. We embrace the pain, because it is a sign that we are choosing the right path to get through this. They are growing pains. And as we walk, we ask to view everything from God’s perspective. We do this by taking our focus off of the situation (that we won’t really ever understand at this point), and fix our eyes on Jesus. Because I can promise that HE has the foreknowledge and HE alone knows what you need now in order for you to get where you’re going.
We stay in constant communication with God. We know our own weaknesses and we will constantly need to rely on His strength in order to get through. Constantly fall on your knees in prayer when you need to. There is nothing wrong with needing the comfort and closeness of your Savior.
Remember that we have an enemy. And if you are not choosing to physically walk down his path of destruction, then he will try and attack your thought-life. You must constantly strive to renew your mind to the truth. If your thoughts are telling you that you are alone in this, know that God says He will never leave you or forsake you. When your thoughts are telling you that this is too much pain for you to bear, remember it is Christ that gives you just enough strength. Who does God say you are? Fight falsehood with truth from His word. And part of surrendering to Him is knowing you’re not done yet and there is more to your story. That is the HOPE we carry in Christ. We aren’t done. The enemy has no power over my destiny if I am choosing Christ in this life! Yes!
God will reveal parts of our hearts that need to be transformed, and in all diligence and all faith, we apply as He teaches. We look for opportunities to learn and grow. We surround ourselves with encouraging and uplifting people. We get into our Word. We intently listen for His voice during church messages. We are in a season of growth and we are seeking His truth by application.
And no matter what the situation is, however hard it is, if you go through it surrendering it all to the Lord, I know for a fact that you will come out on the other side THANKFUL, because if it wasn’t for this tough season of your life, you wouldn’t be as strong, wise or free as you are going to be. Even in the midst of pain, IT IS POSSIBLE to find genuine joy that comes from the Lord. This will give us our strength. And as we go through these seasons of life, we never go through them in vain as long as we are surrendering it God. Because one day, you will meet someone going through the same situation, and that is the moment to look back and thank God for the opportunity to be used for His glory by being an encouragement to someone in need and to realize there was a purpose beyond what you could see.
Each morning, we choose to give God our best. We ask Him to reveal Himself to us, to transform our hearts and break us free from the chains that have been keeping us from living a free life with Him. We thank Him that we are not alone, for where He is taking us and that we have hope for the future. Jesus died and rose so you wouldn’t have to go through this hard time by yourself. And there are plenty of other Christians out there on their knees praying for God to help them too, and He does. He helps them the same way He helps you. You my friend, are not alone.
Concept to remember:
Coping is an attempt to numb the pain. In order to HEAL we need to surrender it all to the Lord.
And when the harder moments come during this journey of growth and healing, here is a verse I hold onto in times of pain and trial, because I know God is blessing me through the pain:
“3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
[ r o m a n s 5 : 3 – 5 ]
P R A Y I N G F O R Y O U.