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And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

Pain and suffering are inevitable. As long as we are alive on this earth we will encounter pain. Most people do not like suffering nor do we like pain. There are some that inflict pain because their wounds are so deep they have become numb to the pain and desire to feel again. For others the pain is so intense they cannot find their way to solitude.

More often than not we avoid the things we don’t understand. We run from them or cover them up with a band aid, praying they will never resurface again. Finding a place of refuge and healing is vital to our survival. We will each develop our own coping skills to help us deal with the pain. Many have been taught or have developed ineffective coping skills. These ways of coping lead them down the road of addictions to food, drugs, illicit physical activity, alcohol, abusive relationships, isolation and anxious behaviors, just to name a few.

God robed Himself in flesh so He could identify with our humanity. In our deepest pain, we should cry out to the One who not only desires to help us, but also the One who is also able to bring about the changes in us that might not happen any other way. In this process, we learn that we cannot take responsibility for another, for they must choose for themselves. We can give them the information they need to make an educated choice but in the end it is up to them to choose. We can only take responsibility for how we ourselves respond.

Most of our pain comes from relationships with others as does our greatest joy. Through these “relationship hurts”, God is able to give us a glimpse of His heart and teach us about ourselves and the roots that are buried deep within that need His attention. Through Spirit and Truth we are opened up and God’s healing begins to surface. He goes deep down in those places that no one else can see. What God sees is much deeper and He goes to the root of our pain. What others see is the effects or manifestations of that pain.

It is in those deep places God can bring about change that would not happen any other way.

BY LINDA BROWN

“God sets the solitary in families” (Psalm 68:6, New King James Version).

Have you ever been surrounded by people and yet felt isolated and lonely? A crowd can be a very lonely place. It’s a common problem in our busy.

We all have lonely times in life. Our very mobile society may contribute to this. Many of us no longer live near family and childhood friends. For others, loneliness is caused by death, divorce, broken friendships, a lack of close relationships, limitations as we age, or other life events. In our crazy, rushed world, relationships also suffer because we don’t make time for each other and lose our closeness.

Jesus Understands

Jesus understands our feelings of loneliness. He endured them Himself. Although surrounded by crowds during His years of ministry, He was misunderstood, rejected, and forsaken. One meaning of the word solitary in Psalm 68:8 is “forsaken.” The Lord understands our emotions (Hebrews 4:15). At His darkest hour, one disciple betrayed Him and the others forsook Him. He cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  When we feel all alone and thinks no one cares, the Lord identifies with those feelings.

Lonely often refers to someone who lacks companionship or a connectedness to others. It may include feelings of sadness or unhappiness. How we choose to respond at such times can intensify our feelings. Often our natural inclination is to pull back, hoping someone will reach out to us. What if we reversed the process? What if we reached out to others instead of waiting for them to come to us?

If loneliness is caused by being disconnected, or solitary, how can we reestablish those essential connections? How can we move from “lonely in the crowd” to sustaining relationships? Many see social media as the answer, but it really isn’t. We may have 500 “friends” online, but we can end up lonelier than before. We need real contact, one-on-one encounters, in life.

Relationships Connect Us

Our most important relationship must be with God. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (NKJV). This means devoting time to Him. That’s how relationships grow stronger and deeper. (Also read Psalm 16:11; Isaiah 41:13.) Our relationship with Him leads to another area of connectedness: our place in the body of Christ. If the body is functioning in a healthy manner, we will be there for each other. Ephesians 4:16 expresses it like this:

“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (New Living Translation).

When feelings of loneliness wash over us, God promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8). He’s there for you—all the time. He has also provided a body of believers to love and encourage each other. We are never alone.

Prayer: Thank You, God, for Your faithfulness to me. When I feel lonely, it helps me to remember You experienced the same emotions I now have. You understand what it means to feel forsaken and alone. Yet You promised to always be there for me, and I hold onto that promise. I can never be truly lonely because You are always with me.

 

I am often a recipient of in-house inspiration from my husband, Bill. He’s one of those wonderful men who cares and is kind not only to me but to those he is associated with. He brings flowers and Butterfingers to inspire me!

When you have in-house inspiration it tends to spills over to the world outside your front door. Homes should be safe havens where discouraging words are seldom heard. The word “inspire” means; a) to breathe into; b) to infuse life, etc. When I’ve had the breath knocked out of me, God has given me a companion who infuses life back into me.

“Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church; and gave himself for it;” (Ephesians 5:25 in the King James Version of the Holy Bible).

Prayer:  Lord, I thank You so much for giving me a loving husband. Help me to give back the same in-house inspiration to him that he lovingly gives to me. Bill reminds me of You, Lord, and today I want to say a great big “Thank You” for allowing me to share life with him! Amen.