Thursday, May 26, 2016

Crying Alone in the Dark

Last weekend, while attending a church function, I was reminded just how important it is for us, as Christians, to bear one another's burdens.  A friend and I were standing in the shade discussing the weather, the volleyball game taking place a few feet away, and other mundane things.  Just your basic chit chat.  Soon, however, my dear friend began to pour out her heart to me.

It seems she has been under a lot of stress lately, and I had no idea.  She confessed to a spiritual battle taking place within her heart and mind and to having spells where all she could do is cry.  As I listened, two thoughts came to my mind.  First off, why hadn't I seen this?  How could I have not noticed that one of my dearest friends was in such turmoil?  Second, I thought of how I could totally relate to what she was saying because I had been going through the same thing.  Though many of the circumstances surrounding our spiritual battles were different, some of them were the same.  The more we talked, the more I realized that we had been experiencing the same feelings of frustration, discouragement, and utter fatigue.  And we had both kept it to ourselves thinking no one else would understand or that others would think poorly of us if we admitted our feelings of total despair.

The rest of the weekend, I found myself wondering if my friend and I could have escaped some of the turmoil we had been through if we had only turned to someone for help.  After all, I did feel better after having talked with her and realizing that I wasn't alone.  It helped to talk to someone about my problems, but it also helped to hear that someone else was dealing with the same issues.  It sounds strange, I know, but when she told me some of the things that she had been feeling, a wave of relief swept over me.  I know this woman, and I hold her up as a beautiful example of what a Godly woman should be.  To learn that she had the same feelings I did made me feel like less of a failure.  Again, I know it sounds weird, but I think you understand what I'm saying.

I wonder how many of us go through our days and weeks crying alone in the dark because we fear that no one will understand or that people will judge us if they knew about the spiritual battle taking place deep within our hearts.  Rather than taking the risk of exposing our faults and feelings, we keep them to ourselves and try to bear the burdens alone.  But that's not how it should be.  We need each other!  God designed it that way from the very beginning.  Remember, in the Garden of Eden, after God had created man, He said that it wasn't good for man to be alone.  The Bible reinforces that fact many times, but none makes it clearer to me than Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, which says, Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Today, my friends, I want to make two things clear.  First off, Christians do go through hard times.  They get frustrated and can even suffer from depression.  Knowing Christ does not exempt us from difficult circumstances or a lot of tears.  Life is hard, and while faith in Christ does help us to get through, it doesn't mean that we don't experience times of discouragement and despair.  Just as the psalmist, David.

Secondly, I want to remind you that there is strength and comfort in sharing our burdens with one another.  We don't need to cry alone in the dark or hide our problems from others.  True friends are there for one another in the good times and the bad.  Reach out to them for help, and also pay attention to those around you and see if someone else needs to pour out their heart to you.  Everyone is going through something, so let's make sure we're there for one another.  It's easy to get so caught up in our own problems that we forget that others are hurting too.  I'm reminded of a line from Mark Bishop's song, Can I Pray for You? which says, “Let me be there for you. We’ll divide all your problems by two. And very soon there’ll be three – you and Jesus and me. That’s what friends are supposed to do.”

You don't have to bear your burdens alone.  None of us do!  It's okay to cry, but please, don't cry alone.

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