A national poll taken recently says Americans are more depressed, worried, and discouraged than any time they can remember in their life.
When a crisis, a tragedy, or a setback occurs, many don’t know how to get on with their lives, and they don’t know what to do next.” What do you do after you’ve received a significant body blow to your life? What do you do when your life falls apart? How do you find the strength to get up and go on in a tragedy? We all will face tragedies in life, so it’s essential to learn how to deal with them.
There was a man in the Bible who asked that question many years ago. His name was Jeremiah. He went through one of the most horrendous periods of history in his nation. An enemy country came and ravaged his entire nation. They took the whole nation captive. In Jeremiah’s lifetime, he watched enormous atrocities – inhumanities done to his people, his family, and those he loved. And he wrote it all down in two books of the Bible called the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations.
Jeremiah wrote what he lived, and he lived what he wrote. In the middle of a national tragedy, He said, “We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction. Streams of tears flow from my eyes because of the destruction of my people.” Then he says, “I have cried until the tears no longer come. My heart is broken; my spirit poured out as I see what has happened to my people.” How does one keep going? How do you find the strength to go on after a personal tragedy, crisis, or setback? Jeremiah had allowed his focus to be on the national crisis. We can do the same thing. When we do, our faith and hope begin to wane, and discouragement sets in. Let me suggest you get control of your daily news intake and be very selective about who and what you focus on. The best place to start and remain is…
Focus your attention on God.
This is not just some trite instruction. This is the first thing you do. You focus your attention on God. You have to make time to be quiet. Get alone with God, be with Him and just listen to God. Lamentations 3:28-30 (Message) “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions. Wait for hope to appear.”
The number one reason why we don’t hear God talk to us is we’re too busy. You know, on Mother’s Day, when you try to call your mom, they say, “All circuits are busy.” Does God ever get a busy signal from you? When was the last time you sat down and were quiet for 10-15 minutes? You didn’t read anything. You just sat there in quietness. My guess is that many of you have never in your entire life asked the question, “God, is there anything You want to say to me right now?” And you just sat and listened.
I want to challenge you this week. If you want to get the strength to go on, what you need to do is set aside a time every day, a quiet time – 10 minutes, maybe 15 where you go out in your back yard or sit at a table in your favorite chair, get a cup of coffee, a glass of tea, and you sit down and become very still and very quiet. I encourage you to form a habit of this practice. Later you may incorporate reading the Bible or praying but for now, sit still and just listen.