Hope for the Disheartened
The weight of the burdens of this world can seem too much to bear at times. The ever-changing dynamics within our relationships and communities can leave us discouraged and disheartened. Events and circumstances can alter life at a moment’s notice, leaving us bewildered and fearful.
Friend, do you find yourself there as well?
As I find myself navigating the twists and turns of life, I continue to rejoice and place my trust in my Heavenly Father, who is teaching me along the way. He continually has shown me that He will stay close to our hearts as our Friend, our Father, and our Shalom.
“God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1 CSB
The book of Job in the Bible is where most of us turn to in times of excruciating pain. Job, a man who lost everything important to him, shows us how to respond in times of adversity. He was a man who suffered greatly yet remained in communion with God. He asked the hard questions of disbelief, discouragement, and despair, wrestled with his circumstances, and God never grew silent or distant.
Relationships are complicated, and Job knows this well. As Job was mourning the loss of everything in his life, his friends seemed not to be good friends at all. Instead, they encouraged him to curse God and die. Likewise, I know that if I were in the darkest days of my life, and a friend told me to get over it and go step in front of a bus, I probably wouldn’t consider them a friend anymore.
However, Job doesn’t shut them out; he prays for them instead.
Job 42:10 CSB says, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and doubled his previous possessions.”
May I encourage you that God, our Friend, will never leave us in the hard places? As we continue to pursue relationships with Him and others, He will show up in mighty ways we never thought possible. We were meant to live this life in community, and that includes our suffering as well. As you walk through the many seasons of your life, so will new friends and old.
And dear one, should you have doubters and nay-sayers whispering in your ear, remember the memorial stones that God has stacked on the shores of your Red Sea. I encourage you to keep a journal of every way God has answered prayer or planted a God dream in the soil of your heart. Keep journaling to Him, and you may find yourself a harvest of written provisions to look back on when the flooding rains come.
“Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:12 CSB
Another important component to suffering well is repentance. Not only is it essential to our relationship with the Father, but it also is essential for our spirit and our heart towards others.
The salvation of Jesus comes when we surrender our lives, desires, and pride to live lives pleasing to Him. It requires humility and courage to admit when we have fallen short and to seek forgiveness. His mercy and grace are accessible if we choose to reach for them.
The Father is so gracious that as we come to Him and seek mercy and forgiveness, He strengthens our hearts to offer the same for those with whom we are in a relationship. Like Job, we can choose to forgive those who have hurt us and intercede on their behalf.
Likewise, when we offend or hurt someone, we should seek forgiveness for our wrongdoing and pursue reconciliation. The beautiful thing about repentance in a relationship is that as it is reciprocated, it produces a heavenly flourishing within our hearts and relationships with others.
Is there anyone you need to forgive? Is there anything you need to ask forgiveness for?
The meaning of the Hebrew word “shalom” actually means to be complete or whole. As we seek Him by remembering His goodness and His Word and pursuing reconciliation with God and others, we can experience His restoration in the painful places of our lives.
He promises to give us beauty for our ashes, His joy for mourning, and praise for heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). The hard things you have walked through will not go unnoticed. They will not be for naught. Instead, he uses the broken places, the painful experiences, and the disappointments in the dry wilderness to produce flourishing life abundantly.
“I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust ate, the young locust, the destroying locust, and the devouring locust—my great army that I sent against you.” Joel 2:25 CSB
He will restore the broken places of your heart, and the desolation of the season you are in will thrive once again.