and ramblings on everything in between
I find myself asking this question a lot: “How in the heck do people get through something like that?”
I’m sure you’ve wondered this a time or two, as well. You don’t have to search very long to find a grieving friend, a catastrophe that has struck, a life changing event. Life is fragile and we are fragile. And all too often we tend to think that we face tragedies alone.
There are a couple of songs that keep playing on the radio that serve as great reminders that we couldn’t be more wrong.
Matt Redmann has beautifully captured it when he sings,
“Never once did we ever walk alone. Never once did You leave us on our own.”
And Chris Tomlin speaks of it in Whom Shall I Fear,
“I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always by my side.”
Even though I live on a planet that has no reason to stay suspended in the atmosphere, no other counterpart like it that can sustain life, I still sometimes doubt that God is strong enough to see me through my problem, or to see my friend through her tragedy, or to see a community through a horrific disaster. We forget that it makes no sense that we are even here, or even still here after all these years. I get overwhelmed by the evil in the world without realizing that evil has been in the world since the beginning and it has yet to wipe out humanity. The evil in this world has yet to stop God.
The Bible spends a lot of time on this subject, too.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.” – Isaiah 41:10
“Do not be afraid of discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 5:9
“I am here! Don’t be afraid.” John 6:20
Can you see the common theme here?
When I think about dire situations and wonder how someone can bear it, I have to realize that the only way they can do it is with God’s help. They get through it because of Him.
One of my favorite Christian radio hosts often challenges her listeners to replace every last “what if…” scenario in their head (What if my car breaks down on the interstate? What if I find out I have cancer? What if someone breaks into my house in the middle of the night?) with this: What if…God is faithful? What if…God walks with me through it?
It takes a lot of trust. It takes a lot of courage. It takes a lot of determination.
I’ve made the commitment to trust Him, but I still have to remind myself of it over and over again. I think part of me doesn’t let go of the fear of tragedy striking because I’m the one in this party of two who has to endure it. I think, “Yeah, God will give me peace and guidance while I’m going through it, but He’s up there and I’m down here, and I’m the one who has to live through it.” And that’s hard.
But think of the glory that can be given to God when someone makes it through a situation they would never be able to on their own strength. There are many instances in the Bible when God puts people in desperate situations so He can prove that He is there working. Take Gideon for example. The Lord told him in Judges 6, “Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites.” Gideon replied, “But Lord, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The Lord said to him, “I will be with you.”
Later on, the Lord takes away almost all of Gideon’s warriors so the Israelites can not boast that they saved themselves by their own strength. The odds needed to be against them so God could be the reason they made it through.
I don’t want to imply that we’re merely pawns to be played to win a game. I just think that if we give God a chance to shine in our lives, He’ll take it and He’ll run with it.
Clearly, I have to remind myself every day that never once do I ever walk alone, but I’m hoping one of these days it will finally stick so I can completely let go of the fear. And if you’re working on finding this level of trust, I hope it will stick for you, too.