People pass me on the sidewalk or send me a message asking how I am and I don’t really want to say, so I just respond with an “I’m fine” or “I’m well” because they might really wonder about me if I say, “Actually, I need a hug” or “Honestly, I am lonely.” Are we even allowed to say these things in the COVID climate in which we live? I don’t think this is something that is unique to me…at least I hope it’s not!
How do we combat these normal, human feelings that can drag us down spiritually?
I find often in Scripture that the writers of the Word of God expressed their loneliness. They expressed their struggle with the events of their day. Asaph was one of those writers in the Psalms who did this in Psalm 77. I would encourage you to read the whole Psalm and then come back and look at some things here.
In verses 1-9, Asaph identifies a problem:
Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever felt millions of miles away from God?
I believe this is a common valley for Christians, especially us women with all our hormones and emotions. So, what is the answer when we feel millions of miles away from God?
Before I answer that question, picture this–you are hiking in the mountains. As you look at that mountain in the distance, it looks big and amazing, but you know that it is still far away. You can’t appreciate the intricate beauty of it because you’re too far away. What happens as you move closer to it? Does the mountain change position? Does it get closer to you? No, of course, not. You are moving closer to it so your perspective changes. Your perspective of the mountain is massively different standing at the foot of the mountain than standing miles away from it. Why? Because you moved closer to it!
So you feel as if God is “a million” miles away and has left you all alone, right?
Let me say that God NEVER moves away from us! If your perspective of God has changed, it is because you have moved not because He has! Your view of God determines the depth of your faith! If your God is “little,” kind of off in the distance, you will often struggle with the faith you need to help you in tough times. Getting close to God allows you to revel in the awe and majesty of Who He is, and that knowledge and experience will strengthen your faith.
4 promises that give us a right perspective of God:
These promises help us have the right perspective of our God.
Back to Psalm 77
The solution to Asaph’s problem was found in meditating on God’s working in the past for the nation of Israel. In the remainder of the Psalm, Asaph recounts the things God did for the children of Israel, especially during the Exodus. These musings on God’s miraculous work on the behalf of His people gave Asaph hope. This is the pattern we must follow when we find ourselves cold and distant in our relationship with God.
Don’t blame God for the feeling of distance. Remember He hasn’t moved! His love is unconditional, and He has given us His Word to remind us of that! Purposeful meditation on God’s Word and His promises will help us see the “big” God we serve more clearly and with a much better perspective.
God showed His love to the children of Israel by doing many wonders and showing Himself strong in those days of fear for them (Psalm. 77:14-15). And He continues to show His love for you and for me every day of our lives.
It was just a few weeks ago that I was feeling myself slipping into one of those “Pity Party for One” situations. I was driving home and heard these words in a familiar Gospel song that “just happened” to come up on my Spotify playlist–“So no matter what happens in His grand design, I’ll be fine with my Father’s love.” It was like the Lord reached down and wrapped His arms around me and said, “It doesn’t matter how you feel–I’ve got you!”
You can find the complete lyrics to "My Father's Love" here.
The words “NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS” from the text of that song could include:
The list can go on and on. These types of things can make us feel very isolated and as if God has abandoned us.
What is it that will help us through those times?
Remembering that God’s love never fails us. Even when a person’s own parents forsake him, the Lord promises to be a “father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5a). Meditate on God’s love–He loved you before you were even His child (Romans 5:7-8). THAT is the type of boundless love God has for each one of us!
These days of actual isolation and lack of normal physical contact can be hard days, especially for people who live alone. But, I believe with all my heart that in any circumstance, I can choose joy and choose to rest in God’s love for me.
How will you answer the next time someone asks, “How are you?”
You may just shock them to respond with the truth tempered with the right faith perspective, “I am lonely, sad, hurt, grieving, (you fill in the blank for yourself) sometimes, BUT, I’ll be fine because of God’s love for me!”
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