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I have a problem, how do you encourage a friend when life sucks?
She was sitting across the small café table from me, the room was warm and the exposed brick gave the feeling of coziness. The smell of coffee and cinnamon was in the air, the fizzing and spitting from the Expresso machine filled my ears and I could see the steam coming from behind the counter.
I focused on my friend even with the conversations happening in the coffee shop.
The last year had been rough. Anxiety and depression, a miscarriage, a cross-state move and kids who still needed clothes and food every night.
As I listened to her over our caramel lattes, amidst the tears present, I was at a loss for words.
Gaping wounds filled her heart.
This friend was sticking her toe into faith again, though she once went to church, she had left because it hadn’t done anything for her. Now, she was gripping for anything to make sense in her mind about why her life sucks.
When Life Sucks
As I sat there, full of Bible knowledge and passages, an overwhelming feeling of not knowing what to say hit me. I had gone through a trying season also where I’d question God over and over again for the “whys.”
No significant answers came out of my mouth for my friend. I couldn’t tell her to just believe because that would have fallen on deaf ears.
My heart could grasp hold of my faith during my difficult time, but what words of comfort can we offer to those who have only just considered coming to faith?
I didn’t want to give Christian lip service to her or offer her Bible verses. I somehow wanted to break off my faith and give her a piece to plant into one of the wounds.
Somehow, from my throat, words never came. The tears trickled down from my eyes and my ears listened intently on the pain and brokenness. Support was all I could give that day. But I knew Jesus was there with us both.
We get wrapped up in what to say, but many times what matters is what we do.
Where is God when life sucks?
When difficult storms come into our lives, we can feel capsized and be drowning in the circumstance. Heaviness, hopelessness and sadness can feel like great weights that keep pulling us down further into the blackness.
We might start to think God has abandoned us; forgot about us.
Did you know Jesus felt this way too during His life?
Read Matthew 26:36-46
Here Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane and He knows He’s about to suffer. As true man, He will feel what is going to happen to Him, the pain, fear and suffering.
While praying in the Garden, He becomes overwhelmed with His situation. Jesus was filled with grief. Jesus asks God to take this future suffering away, but then recants and is open to fulfilling what God wants Him to do.
Did you notice what God the Father had to say?
Nothing, He was silent, but God was there.
How do I know this? After Jesus called out to God the Father in prayer, He was filled with strength, comfort and He continued on fulfilling what God sent him to do.
Without any words, Jesus felt supported.
Why Silence Doesn’t Mean Absence
A few days later, I shared this story with my friend. She said it brought her comfort knowing Jesus suffered too and in this instance, God was silent.
As Christians, we might have a hard time answering questions about life’s hard circumstances. The storms in our own lives have us clawing for the same answers.
Many times, we pray and reach silence. The takeaway is: We have a God that is there for us, supporting us even when He’s silent.
We keep the faith when we realize, it’s not a feeling but rather an understanding that God is holding us. Our feelings lie to us and are ever changing, but God is unchangeable.
Faith tells us that God has everything under control and is working out the best for us.
Faith believes God is there always, even when life sucks.
As we walk with other Christians, our presence without any words is enough.
I would lie if I said my friend is fine now. She has good days and not-so-good days. She is making positive steps in growing in faith. The seed is planted and I will continue to support her in any way I can.
Without a doubt, she knows God is there at all times.