2021 was the hardest year of my life. It was a time when I experienced loss in many ways and felt the stinging pain of loneliness. The number one used phrase written in all my journals was this: I can’t tell anyone. I am alone. No one knew I was hurting because, honestly, I was scared. I was in a place of leadership, and I thought I had no other choice than to be strong and keep going. I forced myself to get out of bed and act normal, but this charade could only last so long.
Eventually, I isolated myself and stayed alone all day if I could. The number of evil thoughts I let fester in my mind was too many to name. I felt like I lost my identity, my sense of worth, my hope; my life felt purposeless.
Think about a time when you felt like you were in a pit with no light and no way of getting out—a time when you felt stuck, desperate, and alone. Maybe that time is now or maybe it was in the past, but I want to encourage you to be honest. It was a step out of my comfort zone to write these words, but I have realized that the enemy wants to keep us in dishonesty, which leads to greater loneliness and disconnection. Separation is the enemy’s goal, but God’s perfect purpose for you is connection and intimacy and true, unconditional love.
I’m sure you have learned many things in this study on lament. I love Psalm 30 because David seems to sum it all up. In verses 1–3, he remembers the truth about who God is and who He has been to him: his Lifter and Healer and Rescuer. In verse 2 specifically, David reveals that he lamented and cried out to God when he was in desperate need. In verses 8–10, David speaks of how he turned to God and trusted Him instead of himself. In verse 11, David describes God’s response to Him, where God turned David’s lament into dancing and removed David’s clothes of mourning and covered David with joy. At last, verse 12 depicts David’s response: forever giving thanks to His Savior, God.
This passage confirms for me that the year of my intense struggle was not wasted. I have learned many things that I hope will comfort you. The first is that God doesn’t wish pain on any of us, but pain is the result of existing in a world corrupted by sin. Pain does not overcome God’s character; God’s character overcomes pain. While God doesn’t want suffering for you, He will never waste it. What the enemy intends to use to harm you and destroy you, God can use for good to grow you, reveal His love for you, and lead you to deeper intimacy with Him.
The second is that God never leaves us alone. He grieves with us in hard times, as His character is a perfect empathizer (Hebrews 4:15). He is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). His eyes never leave us, and He knows our situations intimately.
The third is this: Only when we are honest can we truly praise. When I come to a place where I know I am in desperate need of a Savior, my praise becomes all the louder. When I am honest about my suffering, I realize the extent of God’s grace and love, as He sent Jesus to show me how much He cares for me, is thinking about me, and is actively fighting on my behalf. Don’t you see? Suffering can either be used by the enemy as your demise or by your Father, God, to proclaim your victory—through the cross and Christ’s valuable blood—over a world corrupted by sin.
I challenge you to be honest with yourself about how you are doing. What is the state of your heart, mind, and soul? I challenge you to pour out your heart to God, for He is your refuge and delights in holding your broken heart (Psalm 51:17; 62:8). Finally, I challenge you to take another leap of faith and let trusted people into your situation. I rebuke the lies of the enemy that loneliness, anxiety, depression, and darkness are your only options and your destiny. You were made to exist in connection and be loved just as you are. The body of Christ is a gift to show you just that.
You are not a burden, my friend, but a blessing to show others they are not alone. We can all be broken together.
The last thing I have learned is that we can be struggling and be healing at the same time. There is no such thing as perfection, and there is no timeline for healing. God delights to take every step with you and He will be in the trenches with you as long as it takes, for His love is patient and long-suffering (1 Corinthians 13:4). This is His character, and it will not change depending on your circumstance.
At last, I want to show you why you can praise. Revelation 21:1–4 says this:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more. And I saw the holy city—the new Jerusalem—descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more—or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.”
This earth is not all there is. Jesus is coming back for you, to take you to a better place (John 14:1–3). But take heart, for while you are still on this earth, God Himself will be your Helper, Healer, and Rescuer—just as He was for David. God will not waste your suffering but will use it to conform you into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29), and He will use your testimony to bring others to the realization of His great power and love (Genesis 50:20). Watch and see how He will turn your lament and pain into a dance of praise. He will surely not waste it.
After much time, finally seeking help, and letting people into my situation, and, most of all, encounters with my Healer, Jesus, I have found freedom from many things that used to keep me in bondage. I still struggle sometimes, but that is okay. I am a human, and God knows this (Psalm 103:14). I have known no greater intimacy with God than in my suffering. I have seen God treasure and hold my cries without growing weary. I have seen Him allow my struggle to build a bridge for beautiful connections with others. I have seen Him use my struggles to purify my heart and make me more like Himself. Through this journey, God has shown me parts of His character I would never have seen: He is my Light, Healer, and Reconciler, and has love for me that is incredibly patient. Now, I can tell my story and comfort others with the same comfort that God has given me. This is how God has turned my lament into dancing.
Week 4 Challenge:
Commit to spending dedicated time praising God each day this week. Start with five minutes and add more if you can. Read through a psalm of praise or use your own words. Declaring His praises reminds us of His love for us and His ability to act mightily in our lives.
Week 4 Reading Plan
Week 4 Memory Verse
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