Have you ever felt defeated? Have you ever felt hopeless?
Have you ever walked into a church building and felt like you didn’t belong? You look around and see everyone in their nice clothes with their smiling faces. You think to yourself, “If they ever knew my doubt, they would be so disappointed in me.” And you purse your lips into a fake smile and when someone says, “how are you?” you respond, with a rote and rehearsed, “fine.”
But on the inside, you are hurting. And when you enter the privacy of your home, you place your head into your pillow and cry. You wrestle with doubt and despair and wonder why you are the recipient of so much pain. You have so many unanswered questions and even more unanswered prayers. You feel lost and alone. Perhaps you even blame yourself.
I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to be broken. And it’s okay to not be “fine.”
Entering a church building is not meant to be a facade where you don your mask and play the role of a perfectly self-assured, contented individual for those around you.
On the contrary, it is with our brothers and sisters in Christ where our vulnerabilities and insecurities are not ours alone to bear. It is here, amidst our family, where our burdens should become lighter, being lifted by those who love us.
“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” -Galatians 6:2
The church still loves you when you’re broken.
The church loves you when you’re doubting, when you’re struggling, and when you’re lost. And when you walk into church feeling weary and forsaken, you don’t need to don your mask.
While you are crying, let us cry out to God for you when you are no longer able to form the words. When the load is too heavy and you begin to stumble, allow us the blessing of sharing the weight. When your mind is weary from your mental struggles, let us contend and grapple with you. When the road ahead seems steep and endless, let us climb it with you, arms outstretched to catch you. Because we were never meant to face our burdens alone.
“Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
It’s hard to see God in the midst of trials. When you’re lying in a hospital bed for what seems like the thousandth time, praying for answers and getting none; when you’re staring into the casket of a loved one you will never see again on this side of life; when the job search is relentless and disheartening, and the words of rejection consume you; when temptations and sin seek us at our weakest moments and threaten to overwhelm us. That’s when we realize that our only hope is to cry out to Jesus. And our brothers and sisters in Jesus are there to guide and lift us back to Him when we have lost our way.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
I Corinthians 12:26-27
If you’re hurting or tired, or feeling defeated; if you’re struggling with doubt or consumed by temptation; if you feel lost or hopeless, or forsaken, always remember this…
We’re in this together. You are never alone.