In the past few days, I’ve received cries for help from three different people. All three have a sense of being completely overwhelmed by their circumstances.
One (whose story I shared in a previous post) called because she left a family she’d worked with for 12 years for one that seemed considerably saner, but her new employer let her go after a week. Completely blindsided, she knows she can’t go back – and in this economy, there appears to be no way forward. She’s scared, hurt, angry and confused. “I’ve been crying for a week,” she said. What do you say to such disheartening defeat?
Another emailed me to say his wife finally conceived – naturally, and against all odds – but he wasn’t hired for the job he needs to support them. A business school graduate, he’s been job-hunting for more than a year, working part-time for minimum wage to keep their financial ship from sinking. They got the pregnancy they desperately wanted, but they can’t afford the baby that’s coming. What do you say to someone who’s grateful and resentful all at once?
The third contacted me through an infertility chat room. Her struggle is causing her to have deep doubts about God’s presence and purpose – and whether He cares about her suffering. We’ve never met, and probably never will. What do you offer a stranger who’s lost confidence in God?
Goodness, life is hard.
Here’s the thing: That’s a given. It’s awful, but it’s true. We all suffer – some of us frequently, some intermittently. Some publicly, and some very privately. But, we all struggle through dark days when we wonder whether things can possibly get any worse. Whether anyone cares. Whether God’s forgotten us completely. When those moments come, how do we find any real hope?
I believe we can start with this knowledge (from God Calling):
“All sacrifice and all suffering is redemptive: to teach the individual, or to be used to raise and help others. Nothing is by chance. The divine mind, and its wonder working, is beyond your finite mind to understand. But no detail is forgotten in My plans, which are already perfect.”
In other words, it’s not an accident that you are in the midst of your circumstances. They may help you become the person God intends you to be, or they may prepare you to use your experience and insight to inspire and encourage others. Either way, the fact that you cannot see or imagine how this could possibly be part of any good plan doesn’t mean it isn’t.
If it’s true that there’s some good purpose in your suffering, and you can somehow wrap your mind around it, there’s still the pressing question: How do you make your way through something so hard? So gut-wrenching, stress-inducing, and heartbreaking? How do you find the strength? The courage? The determination? The hope?
“Cling to the robe.”
That’s the mantra that can sustain you. Remember the woman who came to Jesus after suffering for years with incessant bleeding? Seeing him surrounded by an enormous crowd of people, she told herself that if she could only touch the hem of his cloak, she would be healed. And she was. Instantly.
Could it be that way for you? If you cling to Christ, will your circumstances change instantly? Maybe, but not necessarily. Not if there’s a good purpose in them continuing — even one you can’t see or understand.
For all three of the people who cried out for help recently, I see a good purpose in their struggle. Questions of God’s role in what’s happening and the extent of His concern for them are coming to the forefront, battling their emotions for attention, and persistently urging them to seek answers. That’s a good thing. Not a fun one, but a profoundly good one.
Here’s the one thing I know will help them — and you, too: Cling to the robe. If you do, you will be near the only source of strength that never fails, the only source of wisdom that always comprehends, and the only source of hope more powerful than any circumstance.
Life is hard.
Cling to the robe.
Need help finding cause for hope? Read Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples. It includes ten couples’ first-hand accounts of God’s role in their infertility journeys, and how He transformed heartbreaking quests into life-changing good news.