This past week I had a touching encounter with a friend. We happened to cross paths when she was feeling very blue and soon she blurted out her heart’s burdens to me. I will quote as best as I can:
“I feel like I am running up a down-escalator. I run as hard as I can and sometimes I get ahead. But then I become winded and the steps speed up taking me down with them. In the meantime, all around me people glide up their escalators with ease. Life happens to them: marriage, kids, professional success, social progress, etc. They wave at me as they move forward and I am filled with loneliness, longing, and insecurity as I sink into the hamster race of going nowhere fast. I’d like to get off the down-escalator and be able to see my life moving forward. I want to know what role I should have in my friendships and if I can consider myself a professional. Most of all, I would appreciate having a glimpse of how God views me in His kingdom. Am I being effective? Fruitful? Am I making the most of each day, with the right attitude? How would He like me to improve? Am I as useless as I usually feel?”
I couldn’t offer her much advice right then, though I tried to be as comforting as I could. I’ve been in her shoes more times than I can count. There are days when life just seems to repeat itself and you wonder if it’s Groundhog Day in real life. But I haven’t been able to shake her words from my head and I’ve been praying about them. I believe Jesus has given me some insights and I’d like to share them with you and my friend.
Dear Friend, if you’re reading this please know that the Lord has heard your prayer. You may not be able to see the progress or impact of your life, but others can. The greatest impacts are often so deep in a person’s heart that you can’t see them and it may take a while for them to work their way to the surface. Trust Jesus and His plan for you. Also, embrace rejection because it means you are fellowshiping with Christ in His suffering. The world is watching how you handle your trials and the twists and turns of life. Your life may not be following the traditional cycle of college, career, marriage, and kids because God has a unique purpose for you. Trust Him and savor the adventure.
Most of all, when loneliness and longing overwhelm your soul take that moment to pause and offer heavenward a heartfelt plea for fulfillment. He may not send you a knight in shining armor, but He may open your eyes to another lonely soul, a ministry that must be completed, a child who yearns for a hug, a teen desperate for mentoring, or even to the fact that you need some time to recharge by reading a good book, watching a cute movie, or writing in your journal.
It may sound cliché but it’s true: “When God closes a door, He always opens a window.” I think He occasionally opens a skylight too. God rarely does the expected and the more despairing the situation you find yourself in, the more daring His rescue will be. Know that your life is far from useless and be available for whatever mission He calls you to complete. Choose to think with hope.