I have been the recipient of much encouragement over the last two weeks. So many of you have gone out of your way to tell me that you have been reading this blog, thanked me for being so transparent and told me that you have been praying for me. I continue to be amazed at the power of transparency and honest disclosure. It releases people who struggle silently to realize they are not alone. Once released, they become encouragers to others. It's a beautiful thing to experience.
Speaking of encouragement, last week we had a couple over for dinner. Before they left they asked if they could pray for me. During that simple time of prayer with gentle hands touching my arms, I was reminded again how much we need each other. They may not know it, but their simple act of kindness left me feeling loved and lifted. Thank you Greg and Shawn.
I give praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles; so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the same comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Cor. 1:3-4
We were never meant to live as Lone Ranger Christians. Suffering alone only prolongs the misery. Living in community and sharing our challenges with one another is truly the pathway to restoration and healing. Bearing one another's burdens helps to lighten our load. Living in isolation only increases the pain. Isolation tends to only make a bad situation worse. It produces feelings of rejection, abandonment and discouragement. It is very easy to become overwhelmed and live with a feeling of futility.
I read somewhere that the Vietcong used isolation to break POWs during the Vietnam War. They would separate a soldier from the rest of the POWs, requiring him to carry the burdens of captivity alone. They knew that isolation would eventually cause many soldiers to become overwhelmed and give up all hope - resulting in mental and physical deterioration.
As painful as isolation can be from friends and family, feeling cut off from God is extremely devastating. Satan will do everything within his power to make us feel isolated from God. He will amplify our weaknesses and failures, then try to convince us that God is disappointed. Even if we don't feel God has outright deserted us, we begin to think He must be tired, impatient or just plain disgusted with us. We convince ourselves God must be viewing us with the same critical eye we view ourselves. Satan knows if we feel abandoned by God we may simply give up altogether.
Today I am thankful to be a part of such a wonderful church family. I have experienced comfort and encouragement from those who have received it themselves. Your support gives me hope and encourages me to rise above.
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