Hello; me again. After having just come through a couple of the hardest weeks I’ve faced before, I thought I’d just jot down a few thoughts about those dark moments in our lives. Because if they haven’t already, they will come. In our teen years, we face a lot of different trials, and fight a lot of various battles. But even as youth, we do have hard times. And as Christians, we need to know how to properly respond to these. Therefore, this post is more of a reminder to me than anything else. This might seem like a bit of a darker post, rather than a light, upbeat one. I’m not going to apologize for that; these are my honest thoughts, and sometimes we need to hear these reminders over and over again. Sometimes, the most cliché things can bring home a truth that we’ve known in our heads, but not our hearts.
There are days when we are just fed up with life, when we just can’t handle it anymore. I know the dark thoughts that run through our minds in these times – believe me, I’ve had most of them. I know what it’s like to question God, because I’ve done it. It’s in those moments when you’re locked up in your bedroom, when your heart is aching so badly that you can’t even cry. When there are so many lies you’ve hammered into your head, when there’s so much pressure and stress. When you’ve taught yourself that you’re worthless and a failure, and the world is better off without you. That’s when you feel like you want to just quit, when you don’t want to go on. And most of the time, the last thing that we want to hear are those clichés that people offer: “God’s good, He knows what He’s doing.” “There’s always a sunrise after the dark night.” “It won’t last forever.” “Trust in the Lord, He’ll take care of you.” “God’s always there, He’ll never leave you.” Those are not a help. I’d much prefer someone to wrap their arms around me and just let me cry, than to have the “God is good” cliché stuffed down my throat to keep me quiet.
But the worst part of it, if you will, is that they’re true. When I’m in a dark moment, I don’t embrace those things as truths, but the fact remains. The Bible clearly says that He takes care of those who trust in Him – it’s the truth. God is sovereign; He does know what He’s doing. He will never leave us, or forsake us. And that’s what I don’t hold as hope in my heart when I’m struggling.
That fact convicts me about my trust in God. One of the things that gets me is how quickly I’m willing to say that “God is faithful”, when I’m in a good mood, when things are going well for me. When I’ve lost so much and I’m grieving, will I still say that God is faithful? When I don’t want to wake up to another day, will I still have trust that in His sovereign glory, He has a plan for me? As Christians in this day and age, we are so quick to sing about God’s love and His faithfulness, as long as we’re in a good spot in life. As soon as misfortune or tragedy hits, suddenly all this faithfulness and love is out of the picture.
People, this should *not* be how it is! If we say that we trust in Him, that we trust in His faithfulness, in His love, then we should never doubt it in any situation. In good times and bad times, we should always be able to say, without hesitation or doubt, that God is faithful. It doesn’t always look that way. In the moments when He seems so far away, when life brings more pain than joy, when our hearts are heavy and broken – His faithfulness hasn’t changed. He is an unchanging God; His faithfulness is not dependent on ours. Because we are humans, we aren’t faithful to the Lord as we should be. We shouldn’t use this as an excuse, but we have to come to terms with how we actually, truly behave. We cannot honestly call ourselves faithful to God. But regardless of how we treat Him, He treats us with His unconditional love and endless faithfulness.
Again, my honest response in the hard times convicts me of my trust. Obviously, my trust isn’t where it should be, if I’m doubting Him in those moments. (To clarify, “questioning” and “doubting” are two different things. If I question, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I doubt. It’s okay to question God; but it’s not okay to doubt Him.) I think of Job, one of my favorite characters from the Bible who underwent hardships, and serious depression. His response to trials is moving. How many of us would “fall to the ground in worship”? (Job 1:20) He lost everything, and never “charged God with wrongdoing” (v. 22). That’s not my immediate response. And yet, this is what we should strive for. He trusted that the Lord “gave and the Lord has taken away” (v. 21); ultimately, that He was in control. We tend to lose sight of Who is in control when we hit hard times.
I think also of the apostle Paul, who, even before execution, had faith that the Lord would rescue him “from every evil attack, and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.” (2 Tim. 4:18) He had faith and trust even to the end. When he was sentenced to death (can you imagine a harder time in your life than waiting to die?), he never doubted. He truly had trust in the Lord.
I don’t know that I’ll ever have strength like Paul, or be “blameless and upright” like Job. But regardless, I have the obligation as a Christian, who has given my life to Christ, to trust Him with the life that He has given to me and that I have given back to Him. I have to have faith that He is in control, even though it seems cliché. Those cliché truths have lost their meaning with how frequently and flippantly we use them, but they still remain truths. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to have faith in the darkness, but that’s why we are called to live by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7)