Troubled, Distressed, Perplexed?

As I drifted to sleep last night, I was thinking back on the time in my life where I needed Christian friends so much and did not have one to my name. In church and in the professing Christian arena, it seemed like there was much hurtful going on between believers and I just didn’t fit in. Also some seemed very judgmental and not very loving when speaking of others. That was not what I wanted. I was truly hoping for some kind (and normal) believing friends who had sound doctrine, yet were in awareness of the flesh they still had present with them.

I had asked the Lord to help me find some Christian friends as I navigated the years in the hospital waiting rooms in fear and sadness — anxious to hear what was going on with my now late husband. So many times, so many stays, so many hospitals, feeling so alone. Yet even and most especially in that, there was prayer and there was the Word of God to comfort me (Rom 15:4). And His Word was health to my weary bones and so very sweet to my soul (Pr 16:24 pp). And I was beginning to reacquaint with a friend that like no other.

I never knew what it was like to be one with a husband. To love so deeply and have such a great friend (and now I’ve known this twice). And I definitely didn’t know what it was like to be ripped apart when he went to be with the Lord. But Jesus is man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and He knew what I was going to face. He was the only one who saw me weep at night behind closed doors, who I shared all my fears with (so no one could see or hear and lose hope). 

Back to those friends I longed for. Jesus had to become my friend first, this I truly believe in order to have real friends we must learn how to be a friend. And He too wanted me to have friends to show me the love of Christ. And as I grew to know Him as He truly is, (vs. how some lordship churches malign His character), much began to change for me. Yes, He is a God of justice, but He wants us on the right side. He will give us wisdom and help us when we ask — when we apply ourselves to His wisdom (Pr 22:17-21). (I feel some saying ‘cut to the chase Holly’ right about now). 🙂 I believe He was forming me to be the kind of friend I needed to be to others (and He still is).

So when I began to get back in fellowship with the Lord, my first friends were a group of women in a Christian health group. The site was about health, exercise and diet, and groups could form on the website so I found a Christian one. (This was well before the days of FB). I was so ecstatic to have ‘Christian friends’ that I was oblivious to the fact that it seemed some didn’t like me, and specifically one ‘leader’ in the group. Others seemed to follow her lead. Eventually I began to notice that people weren’t responding back to me, and after some time, I saw they were talking over me to each other. I was so terribly hurt, and tried to find out why. Did I do something wrong I needed to apologize for? Did I say something I had missed. I asked them to please let me know so I could apologize if so. But they just ignored me, they wouldn’t even respond to my emails. The one and only email I got back after multitudes was from the group leader and her words were to ‘Let it Go’.

I was to find out much later, one of the reasons was simply because I started a prayer group separately when they didn’t want prayers posted on the original group. The other may have been her recommendation of Charles Spurgeon. I was to see some of the wrong things he was saying, (even though he had plenty that sounded good) and that didn’t sit well with her.

I was at a loss for such a treatment and rejection. I remember praying and crying out to Him, saying how I had done nothing wrong and yet they hated me. I recall now how it seemed to settle on me all at once, that Jesus truly had never done anything wrong. That He loved others and had never sinned, yet He suffered so much at the hands of His own people. How his own friend betrayed Him to the death with a kiss. He knew far more than I, the deep sorrow and hurt of rejection. And He did it to set this unworthy Barabbas free (Matt 27:15-26).

Lessons Jesus teaches 

So what Jesus teach me in all of this? I thought this out — If I had offended in myself, I never ever knew from that Christian group, because they wouldn’t respond to me or allow me to make it right. There was no reconciliation. And looking back now, it was sad for them, who they were, how they acted. But at that time, I was just hurt. Yet, there were many verses the Lord comforted me with, healed me with over time. Some don’t deal with us justly. Some don’t use mercy. Some don’t know the sincere love of Christ themselves. But we still need to learn to esteem others better than ourselves, with love and humility (Phil 2:2-4), remembering Christ bought them with His blood.

How could I ever be the Christian woman He wanted me to be? Especially as aware as I was becoming of the sin I still had in my flesh (Rom 7). Even in re-learning the Word, seeing it in context, and through His eyes of grace, it seemed like I was I was a snail or a turtle in learning. But I kept moving forward slowly with His help, choosing the good part (Luke 10:38-42). Maybe it even seem as if I stopped some days, but I continued in His Word knowing that was I needed. Laying down beside still waters; trusting and knowing that only His Word could cleanse me, guide me, comfort me, instruct me, give me wisdom (Pr 22:17-21). And yes, many days I still feel like a snail.

Love for the body of Christ

Jesus began to teach me to love and care for His body. To love the unlovely. To have compassion on those who were not kind to me. To try to encourage those who were hurting or slipping. In other words — to feed His sheep (Jn 21:15-17), and in so doing I could show Him my love for Him. I feel like I have greatly failed in that recently. I still need prompted to pray for those who hate me instead of pondering why. I need reminded we have the mind of Christ, yet not get distracted by things of this world (or conformed to this world), but instead to choose the needed thing which will never be taken from me (1 Cor 2:16; Rom 12:2; Luke 10:38-42). And I will do better as I sit there at His feet like Mary, hearing His Word, and taking heed to the Word I’m hearing (Ps 119:9).

Back to my remembrances of days gone by. To have friends, one much show themselves to be friendly (Pr 18:24), and I was a loner. Please don’t isolate yourselves when you are in difficulties, yet be wise in who you call your friends. There will be some Jonathan’s, and maybe a Barnabas and Paul situation. Or a time for a Peter, Paul, James and Barnabas meeting (Gal 2). There will be some wolves in sheep’s clothing, and believers who bite and devour (Gal 5). But in the end, aren’t we supposed to be doing what we do as unto the Lord anyways especially in those times?

Along the way people will gossip, slander, even malicious prattle. Why they do it only the Lord knows. We can try to deal with it, but you can’t make them do right. To my surprise, some may completely fabricate things or spin it in their favor. Whatever the reason, again, the Lord knows and it’s up to Him if they will not make it right with the ones they’ve harmed. We can only pray and continue to do what the Lord wants us to do in our own lives recognizing our own imperfections. We can examine ourselves and ask the Lord to show us where we can do better. We can try to make right any wrongs we may have caused in the body. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen, so we do our best and try to stay close to the Shepherd so we don’t stray in our own hurt or anger.

Pray for all things

A very dear friend reminded me yesterday, we need to remember to always pray for all things. We’ll forget, but each hurt, each loss, each tear shed in our lives, let it be so that we’ll move closer to the One who is close to the brokenhearted.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7 (see also Pr 3:5-6)

The end to my story is this. I still get betrayed. I still get rejected. I still deal with wolves. I still feel alone or misunderstood.

I still weep through each hurt, each loss, every unkindness — but our loving God stores our tears (Ps 56:8). And as we are hopefully numbering our days in wisdom (Ps 90:12), there will also be the huge blessing of Jonathan’s in our lives. Who also may be the Aaron’s and Hur’s that hold up our arms in battle when we are too tired to hold up our own (Exodus 17:12-14). Some will mentor us like Elijah did for Elisha. Others will do as Jesus asked Peter, and feed His sheep or wash our feet like Jesus (John 21:15-17; John 13:3-17). However, we will likely run across more than one Diotrephes. Some may stay with them, or play the fence. Others may desert us like Demas did Paul for love of the things of this world (2 Tim 4:10). We may be forsaken, but never by Jesus (Heb 13:5).

For every seeming of enemies in our path, the Lord brings these really dear friend into our lives. A faithful friend, a humble believer who is quietly praying for us. One who can admit wrongs, weep with us when we are weeping (Rom 12:15), or sharpen you when you are wrong (Pr 27:17). One that loves you in Christ, who gives you Biblical counsel (Pr 11:14; Pr 15:22). We may be troubled or perplexed by certain happenings, but there is still His end purpose for us that we need to keep in mind.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 2 Cor 4:8-10

And we can rejoice when we are blessed enough to have friends like this:

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Pr 17:17

May we deeply love, sincerely cherish and fervently pray for the friends we have. May He help us have real compassion on the friends who desert us, and love and pray for the enemies who hate us.

And above all, may we put first the friend who laid down His life for us.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Link coming here soon for Bible verses on Friendship

5 Responses to “Troubled, Distressed, Perplexed?

  • Angela
    1 year ago

    Holly,

    I can relate to much of what you have shared.

    Thank you for sharing, these are indeed difficult moments when humans are far away and distress in life is great.

    Angela

    • Angela, thanks for commenting. A lot of different people have experienced suffering in many different ways and it’s not always easy to fix rifts. We should try, but some won’t hear. It hurts when the body of Christ is fractured at all.

  • (From a friend who emailed me this, so I am posting for her)>

    Great article.

    This a.m. I was asking myself… how serious do I take The instructions in Philippians 3-4, and in Ephesians 6?

    We are in a war, but we have everything in Christ. I wonder how often I am actually doing stuff in the flesh, listening to my own reasoning instead of being humble before the Lord.

    I have a auto immune disease where my body attack’s itself, leaving me some days in pain, unable to do things I want to do. It made me think of the body of Christ and how when we have strife or contentions and we feed it, we are fighting against ourselves while we have an enemy waiting to sift us, When you see a line of soldiers they stand fast together and know they are fighting together, but if that line of soldiers started fighting each other they then are vulnerable to getting really hurt.

    Also there are enemies of the cross that are cemented in their unbelief, I am reminded that we are instructed in the word to wipe the dust off our feet after warning ( twice ? ) rather than continuing to strive with them. Time is short, and once it is gone it is gone.

    I want to read and study God’s Word, and take the instructions that are so clear in Philippians and Eph and grow in understanding these things and apply in my life. This is what the Lord is helping me to see right now. I want to be a good steward of the time God gives me,
    And I don’t want to have these clear instructions go in one ear and out the other.

    (End quote).

    Thank you my friend for your input, Holly

  • Debra K Harper
    1 year ago

    AMEN!! We have to keep our eyes on Jesus and do all as unto the Lord! We are never alone! God Bless you Sister and Friend!!

    • Debra, I am so sorry, your comment was sitting there in spam since May 27th. I didn’t even think to check spam, so glad I found it, and thank you for the reminder!

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