Confession: When life gets too difficult and problems arise one after the other, I don’t always initially turn to the One who can help and heal. Sometimes I’d rather ignore all the pain and heartache because it’s too overwhelming to face.
So what do I do? I fill my schedule to keep myself busy and to keep my mind off the problems in my life. I’ll read book after book and start hobby after hobby. I’ll find some interesting TV show and start binge-watching. Instead of facing my problems and dealing with them, I try to mentally run away.
Essentially I am saying:
Book, rescue me.
Work, fill me up.
Movie, let me escape.
Food, satisfy me.
None of these items are wrong in and of themselves. They only becomes issues when we go to them for escape or for peace and comfort, as if they are the best remedies available.
Where do you run when you’re at the end of your rope?
Where do you run when you’re at the end of your rope? Do you seek solace in your friends, your job, a vacation, food, or romance novels? These aren’t the solution to what our hearts truly need. They won’t solve the problems that arise in our lives for these simple reasons:
They Can’t Erase All Our Fears and Pain
Whenever we look somewhere other than to Jesus to save and comfort us, we are trusting in that object (or person) more than we do in Him. We are putting our trust in something destined to pass away. A book or a movie can’t wipe away our tears or offer sweet encouragement for our downcast souls. They can’t give us the strength to press on, nor can they bring us lasting peace in the chaos of life.
Sure, they provide an escape, but only for a short time. Once the last page is read and the last scene is played, we are hit with reality once more. We may look to our friends to give us all the answers as to why things are the way they are, but they may be just as confused as we are and unable to provide the answers we desperately wish for. Our choice of food to indulge in when we are stressed out often ultimately induces sore stomachs and unwanted extra weight. The bottom line is this: None of the above can truly soothe our pain or obliterate our fears.
They Distract Us from Our Relationship with the Lord
Seeking refuge in books, movies, friends, or food is an attempt to make it out of the valley on our own. We trudge on with our burden growing increasingly heavy upon our shoulders instead of releasing it to the Lord. The longer I ignore the problems in my life instead of bringing them to the Lord in prayer, the more my relationship with Him suffers. When my eyes are glued to something other than Christ, it is easier for sin to nestle into my heart. The result? A lost girl in a messy state, feeling more alone than ever.
When my eyes are glued to something other than Christ, it is easier for sin to nestle into my heart.
In our desperation and confusion, why cling to a book or a movie when we have Jesus as our lifeline?
Hebrews 4:15–16 reminds us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
We don’t have to run away from our life’s issues. We can boldly come to Jesus because He understands. He’s been there. There’s no need to escape or ignore our pain. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). He is always there for us.
Letting that truth sink in gives me a greater determination to continually and primarily come to Him when struggles and sorrows arise in my life. Instead of running away, I can turn to the Lord in my brokenness and desperation, releasing all my fears and struggles and heartache. I can experience a supernatural joy and indescribable peace that no book or movie or hobby could ever give me.
The Best Way to Cope
Time spent in prayer and in God’s Word is the best way to deal with our problems. Jesus is not just another way to try to cope; He is the only way! His Word can shed light into every situation and also promises that when God chooses to leave us in our difficulties, He will carry us through them and even turn them for our good.
Join with me in running to Jesus not after we have exhausted all other means, but first and foremost. Let us chiefly and daily seek His face and find all we need and could ever hope for in Him. For “in [His] presence there is fullness of joy; at [His] right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).