Zoom or phone conversations with people who are worried, afraid, and confined are common to me now.
However, one chat with a young woman was heartbreaking. She said, “I’m just so tired of holding on to elusive dreams, and now I’m wondering if my life will ever be what I hoped it would become.”
Maybe you can relate as you’ve held on to a dream for so long that it’s become a nightmare. What once filled you with hope and gave you strength now sucks the marrow right out of your bones. Your dreams, your prayers, and your promises from God seem to mock you and leave you drowning in a cesspool of despair.
Maybe, for a season, you prayed hard and believed, in faith, for great things, but your prayers are only whimpers now, and you can taste bitterness growing in your soul.
“Will I ever get married?”
“Will I ever find a job that I love?”
“Will my spouse ever change?”
“Will my life ever get back to normal, or will I have to live behind a facemask forever?”
You’re tired of the struggle and exhausted from sleepless nights filled with worry. Nothing in you wants to go through another day of wondering and waiting.
You love God, but you’re not sure He’s paying any attention to your life, so you’ve withdrawn to the shadows of hopelessness.
I’ve been there. Like you, I know the agony of waiting. Of course, my story is different from yours, and yours might be darker than mine, but I’ve lived a chunk of my life in the shadow of fear and death too.
So here’s what I’m not going to do:
- I’m not going to give you three steps to find victory over your despair.
- I’m not going to offer some advice about how to make all your dreams come true.
- I’m certainly not going to be another voice that tells you to suck it up!
Yet, there are two things I humbly ask you to consider and remember:
- You are not alone in that valley of darkness (even though you feel like you are).
- You only need to take the next step.
When I look back over a sea of decades, I realize that even in my darkest moments, God was there. Honestly, I didn’t feel Him at times, but He was still there, nonetheless, always present.
I understand telling someone they are not alone can be quite irritating to them when they think they are abandoned. There’s a part of us that wants to blame God for our predicament. So, being told “He is with you” makes us even angrier and more frustrated.
“If God is with me, WHY the heck is this happening?!”
I don’t have any pat answers to offer, but I know He has never left me, and I know I have never been truly alone.
Neither are you.
David sometimes felt alone and abandoned, but he wrote these words of truth in perhaps the best-known Psalm on the planet: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me” Psalm 23:4 (NIV).
So, today, get up and take one step forward. Choose to take one step in the right direction even when you feel desperate and afraid. You might take several steps backward during the process but press on because the alternative is far worse.
“But I’m so tired . . . I don’t think I can face another day of anguish.“
Just face the next minute and the next hour . . . one step at a time.
Marathons are exhausting. (I’ve finished two of them, so I know.) When you hit the wall, every fiber of your being screams at you, ”Stop! Quit! Give up!”
Do you want to know how to finish? You take the next step. You put one foot in front of the other. Through the wind, the rain, the storm, and the pain, you choose to press on one moment at a time.
Trust me; the finish line is coming. One way or the other—in this life or the next—you’ll cross that line and hear those words: “Well done, my child, you stayed the course, and I’m proud of you.”
Hold on or give up? The choice is yours, and without a doubt, you are loved no matter what, but you will never regret pressing on.
May I pray for you?
Father, sometimes in anguish, we pray the prayer of Jesus, “Take this cup from me!” and we’re terrified. Sometimes we feel lost and stuck in the swamp of our struggles. Sometimes we wonder if You care or if You’re there in the shadows of our misery. Help us. Hold us. Somehow, by Your grace, empower us to take the next step even when we are afraid, empty, and weak. We are desperate for You, so we pray in your strong name. Amen!
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)