When will it all end?
It’s a question I have been asking myself in the midst of the craziness of the year 2020. I remember reading posts on Facebook at the beginning of this year about the wildfires and the loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, lamenting and asking “Could it get any worse?” Looking back on those posts now, they were a far cry from what came next.
I remember during the opening act of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to shut it all out. There were so many people throwing around their opinions and ideas on what the virus really was, conspiracy theories about where it actually came from, what caused it, and whether it was an attack from China on the world. Answers to these questions that many of us still don’t have and may not ever really know.
I was tired of it. I wanted to shut it all out and retreat into my own little hole and never come out. Many of you I’m sure felt the same. 2020 was literally a worldwide brain-quake.
For several months I did. Two major events, in my personal life, had already hit me straight between the eyes, so when the virus hit and sent the bravest and strongest of us scurrying to our homes, I went into overdrive. I wanted to ignore the news, ignore the world and just retreat.
Let me tell you, retreat doesn’t work. I stopped reading the Word, stopped praying, and stopped communicating with people. I slid into more and more depression and, at times, I felt like there was no reason to keep going.
The more I did that, the more ugly, discontented, and useless I felt. I started to realize I wasn’t representing the name of Jesus like I could be. I was not making use of the time God was giving me at home to glorify His name. There were plenty of things I could have been doing rather than feeling sorry for myself and ingraining misery into my daily life.
So I picked up my Bible again. I started reading, writing and studying. I began to find more and more comfort in the pages of Scripture and began to realize more and more that God was still God, no matter what was going on in the world.
With that lens in view, I started engaging in the world news again, this time with a fresh perspective. I could now see, even in the trouble, God still works. He still does miracles. Rather than spending my time dwelling on the bad like so many were, I started to see the good. The hidden working of God behind the scenes. Because God is always there, you just have to choose to look for Him.
The more time I spent in the word of God, revitalizing myself, the more I had a desire to share these things with others. So I started writing again, this time in a more public way. I launched my own personal blog and began writing my own book. I started releasing articles as often as I could, opening the words of Scripture and sharing truth with other people. And most importantly, sharing the same things I was dealing with alongside each of you.
In the end, it’s not about me. It’s not about how I feel. It’s about how I choose to allow my feelings to drive me. I can let even my depression drive me to encourage others who may be going through the same. And in doing so, my depression turns to joy because I am getting out of my own box and stepping into someone else’s.
Paul talks about this concept when he says that the God of comfort, comforts us so “we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). In other words, we use our trials and the comfort he provides to us in these times to reach out to other people. Once again proving that God always works toward the good.
There are always things we can be doing to be actively harvesting the good we are enabled to receive from God. The access He has given us in Christ Jesus is not limited but by our actions. The more we seek, the more we find.
In that pursuit, here are three tips I would encourage you to consider while walking through the troubles of our present day.
1: Get into the Word of God
There is an overabundance of fresh and revitalizing content found in the pages of scripture. The Bible has been described as “God’s Love Letter” to man, and what better way to spend our down time basking in its pages?
2: Lift your troubles up
God has opened the door for direct contact to those who believe in His name and no trial is too great or too small for us to lay at His holy feet. In fact, I believe He likes to hear the small things even more than the big things because they are the things we are tempted to think He doesn’t care about. So it is a show of faith on our part that we bring this to Him. And if there is one thing God values greatly, it’s faith.
3: Get out of your head
There is no worse thing you can do than to spend your time feeling sorry for yourself and drowning in depression. This will kill you, if not physically then mentally. God doesn’t need you to worry about your problems, He’d rather you focus your attention on others. While it’s difficult, when you’re battling depression or difficult circumstances, stop and think “How could I take this experience and use it to encourage someone else who is struggling?”
A few weeks ago, I saw a meme for a new product called YearQuil. The caption read: “Take this pill and 2020 will be over fast!” While this meme was rather funny and I definitely laughed at it, I also realized: we live in a very broken world. During the time we spend in this world we are going to continue to have trouble. Ultimately we do not look for the end of a particularly bad year for the resolution of our trouble, but rather to the words of Jesus when He said “I have overcome the world.” He is our ultimate hope.
Matthew West released a fantastic song during Covid called “Take Heart” And if you haven’t heard it yet, you simply must give it a listen. The chorus of the song, written as if from God’s perspective goes: “..take heart and take a breath. Let Me lift that heavy weight up off your chest. Take My hand, I know it’s looking dark. But when the world falls all around you, I won’t let you fall apart. So take heart, child, take heart…”
Our God is mighty, our God is able. Renew your hope in Christ daily and Child, take heart.