Last night, I had the random curiosity pop in my head of what teenagers battle with the most. The answers were excruciating. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve already seen my tweet asking my followers the question…
… I’ve gotten nearly 100 responses and wasn’t emotionally prepared for the words and hurt they expressed.
From sexual assault, to breakups, to crippling anxiety, to disheartening depression, porn addictions, hardships with friendships, battling lust or sexual sin, hardships with their job… I heard it all.
I went to bed at a decent time last night – soon after I asked the question – and genuinely did not expect to wake up to the dozens of desperate messages I got. It was wrecking. Traumatizing. A reality check.
I think the most disheartening thing about the messages I received, though, is that as I was praying over them on my way to work this morning, I was totally wrecked by the thought “man, if only they knew how much God just wants them to cling to Him through these trying times” and saw His arms wrap around each and every one.
He is the only answer.
His majesty triumphs every battle.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” 1 Peter 5:8-9
The moment I got into my car this morning to leave for work, I immediately started praying and just thanking God for another day. A lot of the time when I pray I can easily decipher if I’m going to cry or not and this was one of those times where I knew I would. Since I was on my way to work, I was literally battling whether to pray or not because I didn’t want to come into work teary eyed with a red, puffy face, but…
I did anyway.
God wrecked me in a new way this morning and my heart was torn in two for all of these people who are hurting and who feel distant from the most glorious King in all of eternity.
I felt the most unworthy I have in such a long time. I begged God to take away my happiness and somehow split it up to give to these desperate and hurting people. I don’t deserve the endless love and grace He has for me. I was so humbled but burdened at the same time.
It was such a reality check for me – and I hope it is for you too – that there are so many people battling real stuff every day that need our prayers and encouragement.
A lot of the messages I got were from people saying they’re struggling with “feeling” God. First of all, God isnt a feeling. When my mom is home I don’t know she’s home because I “feel” her presence, I know she’s home because I recognize her presence.
Second of all, every one of these messages also said something along the lines of “I’m not praying or reading my Word as much as I should.” What?! Hello?!? God isn’t in the business of long distance relationships. God isn’t in the business of one-sided relationships. God is in the business of meeting us halfway, not all the way. Reading your Word is IMPORTANT!!! Praying is IMPORTANT!!! Nah. It’s not just important. It’s a necessity if you want to continue to have a relationship with the King. You cannot have an active relationship with Him if you are not actively pursuing Him. Just because you’re not listening doesn’t mean He’s not speaking.
As I was driving, I was thinking of all of the messages I received and my heart shattered knowing that some of these people I wouldn’t see in Heaven someday because they chose to let their battle triumph the Victor.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I wholeheartedly believe that in the last days (which we are in) times will get harder, trials will become rougher and many of God’s children will fall away. He is looking for a people who will stand with Him through the trying times and He will choose to lift them up. I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck want to be one of those people. I don’t think there will be an in-between anymore. Either we are all in or we are all out – no middle point.
I think God is allowing a lot of His children to hit rock bottom because He knows that the only way left is up.
So when this time comes for you to hit rock bottom, remember that He is our rock. His arms are long enough to reach you down there. He wont leave you to fend for yourself but the moment you humble yourself and lift your hands is the moment He’ll pick you up. Like a child lifting their hands to be picked up by their parent, God wants to do the same.
“Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3
One of the messages I was sent stood out like no other. She told me that she’s struggling with feeling emotionally lonely and that she feels as if no one cares about her, then proceeded to tell me that she was seeking for friends or just someone to talk to her so she won’t feel lonely.
I just thought “man… What would this world look like if we sought our satisfaction from a KING rather than mere flesh and blood? What would this world look like if we chose to run to the Lord rather than run to the world?” It would sure as heck be a world I would want to live in.
The battles you’re facing are shaping you, not destroying you.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart…” Psalm 91:1-4
“He never leaves us to fend for ourselves in a dark world, but reminds us He is constantly with us, fighting for us, even when we cannot see.”
Be encouraged in that. Jesus is alive and active in you today.