We are not alone in it. Perhaps there is no more soothing medicine for the mind and spirit than knowing that we are loved, cared for and supported, no matter what trial, adversity, obstacle or setback we face. Having someone stand by us or let us cry on their shoulder makes all the difference.
And when I think of all the amazing people in my life who have been there for me, who have made this difference, I would be reticent if I failed to testify of one who has never left my side, never forsaken me and never let me face the dark without sharing his light with me.
As a Christian, I grew up in Oklahoma listening to stories of Christ from the scriptures and from the lives of those around me. And as I grew older in years (hey, not THAT older) I came to see that he was more than just a historical figure or religious "Santa Clause" who granted wishes if you were good enough. No, I learned that he is a promise keeper (2 Peter 3:9), a supporter (Deuteronomy 31:6), a listening ear (Isaiah 1:18), a forgiver (again, Isaiah 1:18) a teammate for life's pursuits (Matt. 11:28-30), a teacher (John 6:63), a correcter (Proverbs 3:11-12), and most of all a best friend (John 15:15).
He is not some absent god who could care less about his people; rather, he couldn't care more (John 15:13). He has been there every step of the way, through all the good and all the bad. He was there on the darkest of nights and stayed with me until morning came. He has cheered my successes, cried through my defeats (spiritual, athletic, academic, etc.), and poured out his love regardless of the outcome. Somewhere along the way I realized that I couldn't earn his love; it was his to freely give and I now know that he always gives it freely.
When I was racing down a bobsled track at 80 mph, he knew where I was. When I was serving as his missionary in Honduras and Belize, over 3,00 miles from home, he knew where I was. And when I stopped attending church for five years, instead of being angry and vengeful he watched over me because he is far wiser than I.
Whether it be standing atop the medal's podium or kneeling in desperate prayer, Christ knows where I am. And I promise that no matter what trials you are facing or burdens you are carrying right now, he knows where you are and will not forsake you (Isaiah 49:13-16). He cares, he cries, he listens and he will carry you when you don't have the strength. So don't give in to despair, don't give up in frustration or anger. Keep trying, keep moving forward, keep the faith and keep hoping.
As Paul boldly taught, Christ is "an high priest of good things to come..." (Hebrews 9:11). Now, I do not know what is weighing down on your heart and shoulders at this time, but I know that he does. And I also know that he knows those "good things to come" that are waiting for you just around the corner. Trust him, lean on him for strength if you need it, and believe in those good things to come.
Will he be there for you? Will he forgive? Will he strengthen? Will he heal? Will he bless? Perhaps I can answer those questions with a story for Jesus' life.
In Mathew 8, we learn that the Lord came down from the mountain where he gave the Sermon the Mount. As he descended, a leper came to him and said, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." (vs. 2). There is a powerful simplicity to this man's faith; he didn't doubt that the Savior could heal him, he just wasn't sure if Jesus would.
Will he heal you from the pains of your divorce or the loss of a job? Will he heal you from the trauma of your past or the sins of the present? Will he calm a troubled heart or lighten the load of whatever is currently on your mind? Will he?
"And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." (vs. 3).
Now, I do not know if he will heal you immediately or use your adversities to teach you over the next ten years or a lifetime, but I do know this: if you ask him if he will help you and heal you (on his timetable), the answer will always be the same:
The only question that remains is the same one posed to the former blind man to whom Jesus restored sight. "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" (John 9:35). The powerful part of this story is that Jesus, whom the blind man had never seen before (his sight was restored when he washed in the Pool of Siloam so Jesus wasn't physically present) was the one asking. Once the man discovered that it was Jesus who had healed him and was now standing with him, he declared, "Lord, I believe." (vs. 38).
Dost thou believe on the Son of God, who you have not seen? Then reach out to him...and be healed.