He has struggled with trying to make sense and make ends meet. Along the way,I've tried to offer him support whenever and however I could. Have you've ever been in a similar place? If so, you know the most well-intentioned support is often not enough.
Last week, my young friend and I had the opportunity to have lunch together. I was glad we went early so the restaurant was fairly quiet. A table off the main aisle and an obtrusive server made it an optimal time for sharing.
My friend talked about leaving a job he fervently believed was within his calling. He told how devastating it was to be told he wasn't good at something he was so passionate about. I've been in that place, too. There's no other way to put it: IT SUCKS!
With distances in time and place, my friend came to realize his critics were unfounded. (So have many others around them.) He also realized that while his passion and skills were focused and true, the environment had become toxic. Sometimes God uses a feather to move us, other times a sledgehammer.
This young man's skills and talents are easily recognizable to those he interacts with. It hasn't been difficult for him to stay busy. But busy is often just paying the bills. He still longs for purpose with passion. Serving with and growing in the gifts God blessed him with.
And life, wherever it takes us, comes with a certain amount of struggles, frustration, rejection . . . Not being fully healed, recent trials had struck the young man deeply. Questioning, longing to understand can plague us, causing us to doubt our place in God's space.
As we talked, I caught fresh glimpses into old pain that was slowly subsiding, and into new, nagging pain. What's the point? Who cares? Why bother?
All I had to offer this precious child of God was that perhaps trials are intended to help us grasp straws of strength. Slick, pliable, easily missed, but when bundled together the straws become bales that can withstand pressure, battering, and the elements surrounding them.
Dear Reader, if you are in a place of hurt and doubting, please try to see and reach for a straw of strength. You are not alone in struggling, and you don't have to stay there. The One who created you is still in control. He promised over and over again to never leave or forsake us. When you don't know where to look, look up. He's handing you a straw of strength, helping you to become more empowered than you ever dreamed.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”