When’s the last time you felt the earth move beneath your feet? Two years ago, on Valentine’s Day, while still reeling from the devastation of an epic ice storm, I felt it move when a 4.1 earthquake had us huddled beneath doorjambs. It ended quickly with only the crack in the patio a little wider than it had been before but, just as we were beginning to relax, with heat and power restored and the snap, crackle, thud of icy tree limbs hitting the ground had stopped, another quake hit. This one was smaller and we hardly felt it, but we couldn’t help but wonder if something bigger was about to happen.
Life is often like that. Just as you’ve begun to recover from one major shock with all its unwanted change, an aftershock hits with additional circumstances that knock you down and leave you wondering if things could possibly be, or get, any worse. You might feel like you’ll never be able to bounce back from this – but you will. Hang on and remember this too shall pass and better days really are coming.
In the meantime, here are a couple of things you can do that will help make you feel better.
- Get up before dawn and spend time alone with God.
Not time reading the Bible or praying (He already knows all about it) just time sitting still in a dark and quiet place alone with Him, ready to “hear” what He has to say. I once heard it said doing this allows God to pull the plug of life and drain away all the stress. When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me. Jeremiah 29:13
- Read an encouraging word.
I like to re-read the concluding pages of Chuck Swindoll’s book Getting Through The Tough Stuff where he writes, “I want to assure you that you are not alone in the struggle. The One who made you understands you. While He may push you to what seems to be your breaking point, He is never far away. Because He cares, He stays near, even though you can’t see Him. And because He loves you, He will make sure you make it.”
He goes on to tell the story of a man blinded as a teenager in an accident. The man tells Chuck how he was bitter and angry with God for allowing the accident to happen and how he took his anger out on everyone around him. Believing he had no future he would not lift a finger on his own behalf. He let others wait on him, shut himself in his bedroom and refused to come out except for meals. That was until the day his father, in utter exasperation, gave him a lecture and said he was tired of his son feeling sorry for himself. Winter was coming and it was his son’s job to put up the storm windows. His father shouted, “You get those windows up by suppertime tonight, or else!” and slammed the door on his way out.
It made the boy so angry that he resolved to do it. Muttering and cursing to himself, he groped his way out to the garage, found the windows, a stepladder, all the necessary tools and went to work. He thought, “They’ll be sorry when I fall off the ladder and break my neck,” but little by little, groping his way around the house, he got the job done. But the story does not end there.
The man tells Chuck, with eyes misting, how he later discovered that at no time during the day had his father ever been more than four or five feet away from his side.
“Getting through the tough stuff is neither quick nor easy. It’s what makes life seem harsh and unfair, sometimes even impossible. But knowing that we have our Father near can be just enough to keep us on our feet and able to take on whatever tomorrow may include.
“Since it’s always something…the good news is this: He’s always there.”