I find stories of survival to be deeply gripping, compelling and inspiring. I observe them with a sense of awe and wonder. It’s hard to understand how some people can survive unspeakable horror and pain. Recently, my husband and I watched the movie, Unbroken. What a story of endurance. It’s impossible for us to grasp what it was that enabled Olympian Louis Zamperini to get up each morning and keep going? He endured a near-fatal plane crash, spent 47 days lost at sea only to be captured by the Japanese and be tortured at a prisoner-of-war camp.
As we left the theatre, we felt somber. Somehow our troubles paled in comparison. However, as I thought about the movie and the things that were of concern to me, I realized it is really a matter of perspective. Do I need to experience horror, trauma and torture in order to say that I’m going through a hard time? I don’t think so. Difficulties differ from one another. The human soul should never experience unspeakable evils such as Zamperini and others endure, yet, those situations are real and devastatingly going on even today.
Pain is real
Your and my pain may not be horrific, but it is still very real and it hurts! We face illness, death of loved ones, relational conflict, disillusionment, and betrayals. These are often matters of the heart or financial stresses. They bring with them their own measure of a sense of hopelessness and defeat. Every morning, we are faced with the opportunity to allow our difficulties to consume and devastate us. Endurance can get old. There is a heaviness that accompanies the simple act of trying to make it through a day. We have the opportunity to rise above the situation, to allow it to make us better and stronger. We cling to God and allow Him to shape us. He is more than willing to be our strength and comfort.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. …you are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Isaiah 43:2,4
Don’t go through it alone
Jesus has surrounded us with community. There are people who will walk with you and I through our difficulties. This may require us being vulnerable. We may need to ask others to pray with us and for us through a difficult time. God cares about you and your hurt. He wants to carry you through it. There are incredible scriptures to lift your hopes and fears. You may be hurting so much that it is difficult to read. The Psalms offer much comfort. As you read, God wants to make Himself real to you. Take the time to be with Him. If your pain is so overwhelming that you find that difficult to do, share this with a close friend who can pray for you through the darkest moments. The Holy Spirit will intercede for you when your pain is such that you cannot pray. God knows. He loves you deeply and will help you through this time that He has allowed you to walk through.
Equipped to endure
In your darkest hours, when you cannot change your circumstances, you have the ability to change you perspective by looking up to Jesus. He will give you what you need to walk through pain. As you seek Him, He will meet you. He will fulfill His promise, but you need to hang in there. You will become stronger. You will be refined. Then, out of that refining, He will use you to help others. Your story of survival will ultimately be one that gives hope and inspiration to another.
You have all you need.
You can endure.
You have Jesus.