A few days ago, I received this text from a friend who lives out of town:
“I've really been struggling with some things lately. Last week Sunday I went back to my small group class at church after being really hurt by some people in there and was reminded of why I can't go back again. No one cares about me. Then this last week I've tried (for the millionth time) to get a pastor at church to sit down and talk with me and they all blow me off. Literally try to pass me to other people instead of setting up a time. I'm so tired of this that I'm ready to give up on church all together. God's people sure don't do what I remember God calling us to do. I'm just about at the end of my rope with everything in life and cannot get any help from anyone. Then all this medical crap is still going on so I feel bad and can't get anywhere. More questions than answers. Still no paycheck which is hard and depressing. Probably have to go back to work or quit my job at the end of the month and I can't really do either.”
My heart hurt for her. Feeling rejected and overlooked, worried about finances and medical issues, stuck in a dangerous cycle of feeling like “no one neither cares nor understands…” For a woman, is there anything worse?
After reading it, I wanted to ask her a question presented to me many years earlier. Here is a copy of my texted response:
Let me ask you a question....What if there was nobody here to help you in the way you felt like you needed assistance? Similar to how you feel now. What if all you had was Jesus and the written Word?
Would it be enough? For wherever you're at - or whatever your thought processes are... if all you had was Jesus - would He be enough?
The answer to that question has the ability to change your perspective on just about any circumstance.
Why? Because people will always fail each other. Today I was given a big fat "no" by something I was pursuing. But because I have chosen to live with the principle that Jesus is enough, the no wasn't as harsh. I can accept it from the Lord that both the opportunity, and the people involved with it, simply aren't a part of God's plan for my life. Instead of feeling rejected, I can interpret it as God's protection. Even when I look at it and am tempted to think, "but it would be good!"
GOD still reigns supreme over the denials.
He still in charge of your life. He still has good plans and purposes for you to accomplish. There is peace in looking at him and saying, "OK, so now what?"
She replied: "I have the head knowledge and I can tell other people all day long that Jesus is always enough for them. But for some reason I’ve never been able to accept that for myself. I don't know HOW to do that"
That made me stop. What an honest assessment of a person struggling to understand the reality of their faith.
You see, I believe that is the proverbial question in every believer’s mind at some point. HOW do we believe the things we read about in scripture? HOW do we experience what we see other people professing to have for themselves? Is the “peace that passes all understanding” only for a select few? How do I lay hold of that?
I think I found the answer. The only difference between those who wonder if they will ever take hold of it - and those to claim to have it - is this...faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
In more broken down terms - we simply believe it. Not just in our heads, but in our hearts. It is a firm, decisive, intentional choice. We choose God. Our faith isn’t built on the rise and fall of our circumstances or emotional well being. Even the apostles lives give testimony to having a steadfast faith even in the midst of severe adversity. Our choice to believe that God still “has us” regardless of how we may feel is based on a trust that God reigns supreme over every detail. Even in the upsets. We choose belief.
We believe that Philippians 4:19 is true when it says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
We believe Proverbs 18:24 that tells us Jesus is “...a friend that sticks closer than a brother.”
We believe Psalm 73:26 that says, “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”
So I texted her back:
Believe it. Every time. When the loneliness creeps in. When the dissatisfaction bubbles us. When our own thoughts seek to consume us - believe it.
The Bible says that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he"(Prov 27:3).
Our thoughts will determine our lives. If all we do is focus on our perceived losses, we will think life is nothing but a loss. So you must refocus on your purpose. And you only know that by reading and meditating on the Word. He will speak to your heart about your work, about your relationships, and your financial situation. He'll speak about what you're supposed to do that day. One day you will recognize the losses you felt - have now turned into gains. (added)
In the end - this thing you're going through - really doesn't involve other people - this is an issue that is between you and God.
Will you/me/we trust him with our futures - or do we continually live here thinking we've just been dropped here?
The downtime you have right now - in my humblest opinion - it's like you're sitting at a banquet table full blessing and are choosing not to eat. Jesus IS enough. He can become your best friend! Your husband! I’m inclined to believe that people would think I'm crazy for as much as I walk around the house talking out loud to the Lord, but I don't care. He's REAL. He's with me here talking with you, when I go to the grocery store, even going out to eat by myself. Which I do a lot.. because I covet my time alone with Him.
This is a journey of faith. Keep going!!! Please keep going! Allow the doors that you feel are shutting - redirect you. God will use all these things to bring out His good purposes in your life.”
I don’t know if anyone reading this is like my friend. I’m thrilled to report that as of our last text messaging, she felt like God was setting her free from the bondage of doubt that the enemy has held her in. I’m completely celebrating that with her!
But the same advice I gave to her - I want to give to you today….BELIEVE. Against any and all human thoughts that seek to to destroy the authority of God in your life. Believe. Refocus on Him. Turn worship music on. Remind yourself of the truth. Meditate on the Word of God. If you think that no one else might never come to your aid - remember - Jesus IS enough.
Love - jp