Some things we just have to go through by ourselves.
Although we enlist the prayers of other saints and often feel the power of their intercession, we still have to go through it alone. Somehow we must find our own courage to deal with the trials and struggles of life.
Yes…God is with us. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. But when we lie on a sterile table and let the dermatologist shave skin off our mortal bodies, we feel alone in the fear of wondering – is it melanoma? Will he get all the tissue and scrape away that mess of toxic cells?
We go for a mammogram and pray that everything will turn out all right, but basically – we are alone with that brutal machine. Even the radiologist hides behind a safe partition and quietly reads the screen that might change the number of our days while we wait for the verdict – alone.
As parents, we want to change places with our children – but we can’t. We have to wait in surgical emergency rooms, knowing our child is behind that steel door – alone. We can’t help him through the surgery. We can’t will him to live a full life. We can’t take away the nasty tumor that threatens to destroy his very being. He’s alone in that cold room, and we’re alone with the fear.
Like Reverend G when she received her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, we sometimes have to do the hard things alone and hope that God in his mercy will grant us a special measure of his grace to do it courageously.
- Prepare now. When the times are good or at least reasonably half-way good – spend time getting to know God better and stock up on prayer and Bible promises. What we prepare for now, just like exercise, will help us use our spiritual muscles later – when we’re alone.
- Surround yourself with a community. Whether it’s a group of saints who know how to pray in the Spirit or a special cell group that you trust, surround yourself with a community of people who will be there when you wake up from the surgery, when that steel door slams, when the mammogram comes back positive. Build relationships now that will encourage you later.
- Live in gratitude. If you’re not going through a struggle today, then enjoy the sunshine and the dew on the roses. Journal your thoughts and take pictures you can relish when you’re faced with the unbelievable. Make each day a Hallmark expression of gratitude so that your hope won’t turn so quickly to despair. When the tough times come, you’ll be practiced at looking for something good.
Even when you’re feeling alone in the trial, hang on to Psalm 43:5, “Hope in God for I will YET praise Him.”
A day will come when the trial lifts and you can return to peaceful joy. Live in the YET and hang on to hope, especially when you’re feeling alone.
©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1