I haven’t a clue what happened, but I feel like when I hit seventeen, my view of the world turned upside down—and my life with it. I couldn’t believe how painful and cold our world actually was and is.
Everyone is hurting in some way. Everyone.
So many of my friends and family were going through so much. Health problems, financial problems, death, addiction, divorce . . .
I would hear my parents talk about all of the counseling sessions they had lined up. (My father is a pastor.) They would tell me and my siblings, “Please pray for so and so.” It got to the point that when they would ask us to pray again, I would just sit still and almost limp as I added another broken soul to my mental prayer list. It was such a hard time, watching all this take place, and I found that it got even harder when I had to add myself to the list.
Not much has changed. Many around me are enduring trials that seem unbearable, including myself. Some days I cry more than I laugh, I pray more than I do anything else, and it always seems as if I’m on the phone praying with someone as they pour out their broken heart to my own.
I asked my mother one day when I was really sick, in tears, “How do I do it! How do I get through this life? How can I do everything that has to get done when I am hurting so bad, when I am so sick, when I can barely see through the tears?!”
She said, “Do the next thing.”
It’s been a phrase that’s gotten her through depression and gotten my aunt through the death of her son. It’s a phrase that is getting me through this season of physical and mental healing.
Sometimes the only thing we can do is to rise in the morning, get up, and just simply live our lives. We keep living within the circumstances that are present.
Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Sometimes . . . fear does not subside and one must choose to do it afraid.”
Sometimes all we can do is cling to God’s Truth and bear each day as it comes.
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said it this way, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
When life is especially hard, we can stop living, crumble, and give up, or we can cry out of the pain, stand to our feet, and choose to have hope. We can do the next thing, and the next thing is always to choose to trust in the faithfulness of Jesus.
I don’t know why you are struggling.
I don’t know why the money is low.
Or why you’re still lonely.
Or why that person in your life isn’t speaking to you.
But I do know that you can choose, right this very moment, to trust Jesus and keep going, because I know there’s a marvelous ending to your story and to mine.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)