LOST: WHEN BELIEVERS ARE STRANDED
My favorite television show currently has been the hit ABC series LOST. The show is a science fiction thriller about survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 which crash on a mysterious island. The survivors must work together on the island where things and people are not always what they seem, and danger may be right around the corner at any moment.
The church is also made up of survivors who must work together in this world. Just like the passengers on Oceanic Flight 815, we have also come from all kinds of different backgrounds and life experiences. The thing that we all have in common is that at some point in our lives we made the decision to become followers of Christ. Even as believers, there are times when we struggle and lose our joy. We allow the weights, burdens and the cares of this life to overwhelm us.
Do you feel lost?
There are many lost around us in church every Sunday. When I use the term ďlostĒ Iím not referring to the description that we usually use to describe people who are not believers in Christ. The sad part is when we are lost, we donít think we can share our struggles and pain with other believers. We file into the church building each Sunday with deep wounds which others cannot see. Instead of revealing those wounds, we greet other saints in the foyer, force a smile and say that we are ďfineĒ but we are far from being anywhere close to fine. You may think someone has everything together; when, in reality, they are deeply troubled. Many of us have been around church long enough to know how to put on the right face and cover up how we are really feeling. We smile when we would rather burst into tears. We put on the right face and get through another church service.
Even as mature Saints, sometimes we canít seem to have that joy or experience the peace that we tell others about. There are many reasons we donít open up our true feelings to others:
We are not supposed to show our weaknesses.
We think we are supposed to be perfect.
We honestly donít want to burden others.
We donít think people really understand.
We are supposed to know there is joy in the Lord and peace that He provides but there are times when we hurt so deeply that knowing those truths and feeling them are miles apart. We try to deal with our hidden hurts and struggles alone but we canít survive alone. The devil would have us become a castaway. We are only stronger as individuals when we unite with others and draw from their strengths when we are weak. When others are weak, they can do the same. We are all in this together. (Romans 12:5) We may not always go through the exact same thing at the same time but we ALL go through something. Just because we go through things, we canít think that we are not important or have no ministry. Ministry is more than just standing behind a pulpit or singing behind a microphone. We were all created to have meaning in our lives. Without Godís help, life has no purpose and no meaning. The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without a purpose. (1 Corinthians 15:19)
God has chosen each of us for His purpose even before we were born. (Ephesians 1:11) He purposely intended for you and I to be born. He desires to work His will through us. When we donít do this, we will live frustrated lives and feel lost Ė even in church.
FLASHBACKS DONíT HAVE TO BE SETBACKS
We all have a past. There are some things in our past that we donít like to remember, yet those things have shaped our lives. Too many times we let our past hold us back from something God wants to do with us.
We do not fully understand that God knows our past yet He has still chosen us to do His work. Can we really grasp that? In spite of our faults and stupid things we have done, He still sees worth in us. When we have flashbacks to our past we donít see what God sees. We see the mistakes, sin and ugliness but God sees His purpose and is guiding our destiny. Everything happens for a reason. When God is in it, you know it will work together for His good. (Romans 8:28)
Satan and his demons seek to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) They want to take advantage of our moments of weakness and times when we feel lost. He wants to kidnap us and pull us away from the other survivors. If he can get us away from the comfort and strength of other believers, he has already won part of the battle. He will turn our negative emotions against other believers and even God.
The ďothersĒ have always been liars from the beginning. (John 8:44) They donít offer a better solution. They will only push us further away into our depression and despair. Their objective is one thing and one thing only: to hurt God, not to help us! To the ďothersĒ we are just pawns in their battle with God. However, we are NOT pawns in a game in Godís eyes. We are His children. When we are hurt, He isnít mad at us or disappointed in us when we canít just to get over it. His desire is to heal us and restore us. Heís patient with us and understands what we are going through.
LOST AND FOUND
You donít have to be lost. People around you do care but they donít always know what to do. Even if fellow believers donít understand, there is always one who does. Our Shepherd deeply cares about His sheep. Talk to Him about it and find your way back to Him. Make your move and draw closer to Him.
Trade in your sorrows, your shame and your pain for the joy of the Lord. You may be troubled on every side but you are not distressed. You may be perplexed but not in despair. You may be persecuted but you are not forsaken. You may be cast down but you are not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)