You Can't Do This Alone
As the months pass, seasons change. We experience the cycle of summer, fall, winter, and spring. Even with the normal patterns, not every year is the same. Some winters are snowier, and some summers are hotter.
Like the seasons, life is always changing. At one time you are on top of the world, and at another you’ve sunk to the bottom of the sea. Life is both predictable and chaotic. We don’t know when the seasons of life will change, or what they will bring. Sometimes our response to the season is what makes it bearable.Recently I found myself in one of the hardest seasons of my life. My response was to put my nose to the grindstone and try to ‘figure things out’ by myself. I trusted in Jesus to see me through, but I didn’t share what was happening. I realized too late that I need to let others into what I’m going through, and I need a community to walk with me.
Believer, I’m not alone in this. We all need community! We will all face difficult seasons. Maybe you are facing one now. Maybe it will come later. When that season comes, there are a couple things I hope you will believe and do.
Jesus sees you, loves you, and empathizes with you:
1 Peter 5:7, Hebrews 4:14-16
Jesus dwelt among men, was rejected, mocked, and scorned. He even suffered and died. Jesus did not have an easy life! Because of that, we have a God who can empathize with you in your suffering. He bore the full weight of suffering for you. He sees you and loves you, even when you are hurting and feel distant from him.
You’re not Alone:
If you are a follower of Jesus, he says, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). He is with you and will never forsake you, no matter what. If you are a part of his body, you have a family both locally and universally. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection is the bond that brings us together and holds us in community. You are not alone, no matter how alone you may feel.
So what do we do when the season is hard?
Sound the Alarm and Push In:
How do you know when your car has a problem? It lets you know! A dashboard light, or maybe a persistent ding. There’s something that raises an alarm, that says something is wrong under the hood. Without that light or sound, the problem can’t be addressed.
Similarly, we have to alert others to our difficulties. People can’t see what’s going on inside you. Sound the alarm! Let someone know what is happening in your life. It may be hard to let others know what you are going through, but sharing the burden is important. Because of the bond that we have in Jesus, you have a family to which you can turn.
You can’t do it alone, and you aren’t meant to. Push into the family the Lord Jesus has brought together. That is one of the reasons why you have a church family. They are there to walk with you, pray for you, and to share the weight you are carrying.
If you are not going through a tough season now, it is a safe assumption that someone else is. If you are a follower of Jesus in community, here is what you can do to help brothers and sisters who are struggling:
Pray for them and point them to Jesus:
1 Thess. 5:11 & 14-15, Romans 15:1-7, Proverbs 17:17
As the body of Christ, we are called to bear one another's burdens and to pray for each other - so pray! Don’t stop with praying, though; let them know you are praying for them. Point them to Jesus and remind them of Gospel truths. You need it and they need it. We need to be reminded of the Gospel every day.
Let them know you care! It’s as easy as sending a text, asking how someone is doing, or calling them to let them know you are praying. These things go a long way in encouraging each other through hard seasons.
Some people won’t sound the alarm on their own. Reaching out not only shows you care, but gives them an avenue to let you know what is happening and how you can care for them.
This may be an easy task for some, but for others it is a challenge. Regardless, listening to a person and giving them a chance to speak openly about what they are going through is an incredible way to care for the hurting. Listen, listen, and listen some more!
You don’t need to have all the answers:
It is so easy to want to give a helpful response, or even give the answer that will immediately fix things. But, here's the thing: you don’t have all the answers. Fortunately, you don't need to. Praying, reaching out, and listening are some of the best things to do. These acts really do show that you care and that you are there for them. Jesus is the answer and has the answers: let’s help remind people to run to him!
Run to Jesus, who went through the difficulties of this world and suffered and died for you. Run to other followers of Christ and let them walk through this season with you. It is not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
If you are not in a difficult season right now, be a friend to those who are. Be patient and love them during this season. No matter where you find yourself right now, remember the future we have in Christ in which we can rejoice:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1-5)