We all get knocked down. Last week we talked about why we fall, why bad stuff happens to Christians, and what about when it feels like it’s just us. If you missed it, you can check it out here. Maybe this is the week you’re feeling like you’ve hit bottom. Maybe next week it will be me. So what do we do while we’re there?
We shouldn’t only pray when something is wrong, but it is important to stay close to God then too. It’s okay to tell God we’re upset, to have questions, and to ask for help. When Jesus was crucified, He felt alone, and He told God so.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” – Matthew 27:46
Jesus was quoting from one of the Psalms:
My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning? – Psalms 22:1
Here, David was going through a terrible time. He felt like God had left him and wasn’t helping when he asked. He’d been knocked down and landed in a really low place. Sometimes we go through problems that make it seem like God has just left us behind in the dust. But look at what David said later in the same chapter:
You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard. – Psalms 22:23-24
David says that God is worthy of being praised and feared. Why? Because He didn’t really hide from the people who go through trouble. God heard the whole time. David had to work through questions to get back to this point in his faith, but he got there. And when Jesus quoted from the beginning of the chapter, He didn’t use some hopeless question that hadn’t been answered. He looked to someone else who felt alone but knew that, even though he couldn’t feel God all the time, that He never really left him.
We should pray when we’re sad, happy, when we have nowhere else to turn, and even when we do have somewhere else to turn.
Sometimes it’s our fault when we find ourselves in predicaments. Sometimes it isn’t. When it is, even though it’s not fun at all, we should take some time to think. What really caused the problem? Was it an accident? A chance mistake? Or is there a pattern?
If there’s something we did wrong, it’s a good time to figure out why we were in that position. Maybe I said something rude to a someone at church. It could be that I was having a bad day and something just came out wrong. If so, I need to make sure that I value my church family as much as I should, because it shouldn’t be easy to snap at them.
But what if I feel like there’s resentment behind it? Maybe I think they aren’t doing something they should be and I’m aggravated by it. If I have been fixating on that, frustration can easily turn into resentment, and then it’s not a huge leap to being unkind. If that’s the case, have I talked to them about it? Maybe they didn’t realize there was an issue, or maybe they have a situation we didn’t know about that they could use help for. And, sure, maybe they get upset and don’t want to talk about it. But how they react doesn’t take away from my duty to them.
Point is, if there’s an issue with us, we need to pull it out just like those pesky weeds I’ve been pulling out of my oregano plant this weekend. Otherwise they kill out all the good stuff.
Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil. – Proverbs 4:26-27
We have family for a reason. I’m not strong enough to get through the Christian life alone. Neither are you. No one is. That’s why God set it up for us to help each other. When one person is strong, they can hold up someone else. It’s good for both sides. The person who needs help gets it and learns through experience they can be supported by Christians rather than things or people that would take them away from God. The person who helps gets to do a good deed to a fellow Christian and be involved in helping someone get back on their feet.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2
As a family, we have the opportunity to help each other. But nobody can help me if I don’t let them know what’s wrong. I have a responsibility to let them fulfill part of God’s will. It’s hard sometimes to ask for and accept help, but it’s what we are supposed to do. God set it up that way because He knows us, and he knows that we’re better together.
Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
The thing about family is that you’re always family. In God’s family, even when we mess up, we forgive each other. We pull each other back in. And we move on. Together.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. – Galatians 6:1
We need to trust that our family will still love us and accept us no matter what we go through. On the flip side, when it’s someone else’s turn to be down, we can’t run off and leave them in the dust because we have our fancy shoes on. We’re supposed to get where we’re going together.
Next time we’ll talk about what comes next. In the meantime, how do you deal with those seasons where we end up face down? I’d love to hear from you.
May the Lord bless and keep you,
P.S. The next issue of the newsletter is coming out soon. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up (you can do that right here). I’ll be sharing a downloadable, expanded PDF version of our series on things that hold us back. The newsletter will be coming out about once a month. We’ll recap some blog posts, share interesting information, I’ll update you on the latest news with my writing, and we’ll share our journeys. Hope to see you there!