We all just feel overwhelmed and bogged down with life right now, don’t we? Life is hard. It hurts. It’s exhausting. It’s stressful. It’s lonely. It sucks.
Bottom line: It beats us down and wears us out. And some seasons are longer than others. It’s easy to give into the lie that God doesn’t love us, is punishing us for something, or just took off.
My friend, nothing could be further from the truth.
Just this morning I was reading in 2 Corinthians 1. Here are some of the verses from the NIV translation: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ…. [Comfort] produces in you patient endurance.”
I love the line that says, “Just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” We are going to face hard times. God tells you that straight up (got to appreciate His honesty, am I right?). But He also promises His comfort.
Some of you may be thinking, “Hold the phone. I am in the middle of my own personal hell right now and I ain’t experiencing no peace.” (Disclaimer: I am sure you practice better grammar than that). Well, let me ask you this: Do you believe that God loves you…and even likes you?
That’s a simple question…with a really difficult answer for some. I was just talking with a friend who is going through a tough time right now, and she was absolutely convinced God didn’t like her and was out to get her for past mistakes. Oh how that broke my heart. We will have to face the consequences for our decisions…and sometimes those aren’t pleasant. But there are also times when we are in the middle of a “crapstorm” that we didn’t create.
Here’s what Paul says about whatever mess you are in the middle of: “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
The great apostle Paul was suicidal at times. Isn’t that crazy? I mean, check out the verses above…”we despaired of life itself.” Hello. He didn’t want to live because life got so bad. But he gives the answer: “This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”
Tough, terrible, horrible times often reveal the “dead” parts in us: Those things we are still hanging on to to give us meaning, identity and worth apart from Jesus. Those things that when we lose them, we feel like we can’t go on. The good news is, God wants to raise those dead parts to life by giving us His abundant life through Christ Jesus. We have to “set our hope” on Him. We have to believe that He truly does love us more than anything and that God gave up Jesus to get us. We are worth Jesus Christ to God! We have to accept Jesus as our personal Savior (apart from anything good we can or will do) and believe that only through Jesus can we have a personal relationship with God. Then, we have to remind ourselves every day that the same love God showed by trading in Jesus for us, He offers every day. We just have to accept it. You may not feel it at times. But you have to choose to believe it.
God will give you more than you can handle, because He wants to handle it for you.
I love the last few verses in 2 Corinthians 1 in the Message translation: “God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting His yes within us. By His Spirit He has stamped us with His eternal pledge — a sure beginning of what He is destined to complete.”
God affirms you…not your circumstances. He defines you. Not the difficulties you are facing. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, God has stamped you with His “Yes!” And He promises to complete what He has started in you (Philippians 1:6).
Hang in there, friend. Keep reminding yourself of the incredible love of God that He demonstrated for you when He had Jesus Christ die in your place on the cross for your sins (past, present and future). Trust in Him, and not in your own works. Believe that He is your only hope for heaven and that He loves you no matter what you do, what other people say, what circumstances you face or how you feel.