Life over the past few years looked pretty different from the norm for most people. Even though it was an experience unlike any other, I kept thinking about how that season reminded me of one I’d walked through before.
A few years ago, I had just graduated college and took a job offer from DaySpring. Living in Arkansas placed me over 400 miles from my friends, and nearly 300 miles from family. While initially I felt a peace about my choice, about 3 months in I began to feel uneasy about how this could be good. My world, once abundant in relationships and activities was feeling empty.
Maybe right now you’re feeling this way too—distant from friends and family you love, living life in a way you never have before, missing normalcy, and feeling loneliness sink in. But my story didn’t end in emptiness; it blossomed into abundance. I believe that with patient endurance, God will do that again for each one of us.
So today, I am reminding myself and you of these truths that I clung to within that season:
We are Loved
Hold tight to this truth—Jesus loves you! Even if we have known this all our lives, for some reason, in seasons like this, we can begin to doubt it. The more trouble hits home, it can feel even harder to believe. Why would a good God let bad things happen? There are many circumstances we will face in our lifetime that will not have a clear answer to that question. Isaiah 55:9 NIV says:
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We aren’t always going to have an answer for why things like this happen the way they do, but we know who has the answers AND He loves us. We can always trust Him and remember His love for us— a love so powerful that it drives out fear. (1 John 4:8 NIV)
Only Jesus Can Give Us the Peace We’re Looking For
Distractions might help for a while—binge-watching tv shows, cooking new recipes, scrolling through social media, and chatting with friends. But if you’re like me, when night falls and bedtime calls, I find myself struggling to sleep unless I take my anxiety to Jesus.
In John 14:27 NLT, Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Nothing the world gives can help our hearts rest. We find serenity in our souls when we lay worries at His feet.
We Don’t Have to Put on a Brave Face
There might be a lot of different feelings we are processing. That’s okay. It’s important to embrace vulnerability in order to stand in strength. Sometimes the biggest act of bravery is admitting our sadness. Bravely sharing the parts of our hearts that aren’t so joyful with God can deepen our relationship with Him, and help us face each morning with hope.
When we look at the Scripture before Jesus went to the cross, we can see His heartache in knowing what He was about to face. In Matthew 26:37 ESV, Jesus actually says to Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, “My soul is sorrowful.” He spent the moments after, praying and sharing this with His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.
While Jesus knew what was to come, we don’t always know. However, we do know that out of the sorrow of Jesus’ story, came the hope we have today. This part of His story lets us know that God cares about our emotions and that it’s okay to admit to God what we feel at this very moment. We don’t have to sweep today’s emotions under the rug just because we know that someday it will all be joyful again.
We Don’t Have to Have it All Figured Out
When things are out of our control, we can feel a great need to reign it all back in. We might find ourselves wracking our brains to try to figure out how to make things better, or easier. Plans and goals, of course, aren’t inherently bad, but when we make them out of a motivation to keep up with others’ or society’s expectations, it can leave us caught in feelings of comparison and failure.
Let’s simply approach each day seeking Him first and doing the next right thing. In case you need this reminder today, here’s how God’s Word puts it (Micah 6:8 The Message): He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, and what God is looking for in us. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, and be compassionate and loyal in your love. And don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously.
He Will Give Us All We Need
It can become especially easy to start asking, “What if?” This often leads to feelings of anxiousness and fear, powered by our imagined understandings of the scarcity in our world. But our Father offers the opposite—a hopeful sense of incredible abundance. Time and time again in Scripture and in our own lives, we have seen Him do more than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). If our God is unchanging, then why would this season be any different? Let’s trust that He will provide our daily bread and choose not to worry about tomorrow as He encourages us to do in Matthew 6:34.
We Can Bring Hope to Others
Who knows what God is doing in the midst of seasons like this? For me, as I acclimated to a new community after moving away, I found both comfort and encouragement in knowing I wasn’t the only one walking through this experience. I found friends in my new town who had just moved to the area, and connected with many friends from college that were feeling the same way about moving to a new place. All of these people were gifts from God to encourage and challenge me to grow.
As Hebrews 10:23-25 says, “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering,” and let’s not neglect to gather together, but “encourage one another”. Let’s choose to live with the perspective that looks for hope in each new morning so that during this season and afterward, we can share a story of God’s faithfulness through it all.