This episode is a difficult one, mostly because this particular time of my life—unexpectedly living in the middle of a global crisis—has left me feeling incredibly lonely myself. It's hard having everything you've come to know as 'normal' just crumble in front of your eyes.
Just last night I was thinking about how crazy the world feels right now. I keep catching myself trying to make what's happening feel more normal. But the more I've thought about it, the more I realize that I'm just desperately trying to regain control that I never really had to begin with.
No matter how hard I try to cram this new situation and these new circumstances into a box that I call 'normal,' it won't fit. I was reminded of what Paul says in Romans 12:2, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
My problem is that I'm trying to conform myself and my heart into what the world says is good and acceptable and perfect instead of letting God transform my heart to understand what Jesus said when He told the disciples in John 10:10, "I have come that they may have life to the fullest extent possible."
Jesus' entire mission was to show us that there is something greater than this world and this temporary life. He reminds us that in this life we will have trouble, but we can take heart because he has overcome the world.
Friends, if you're walking with Jesus, you can rest knowing that he is somehow orchestrating your life so that you can experience it to the fullest extent possible. Yes, we may be suffering in this moment, but we can rejoice with Paul in Romans 8:18 as he says,"What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later."
Our 'normal' may be gone. But maybe normal was never really there. God wants us to rest in His goodness, His faithfulness. He's the one who leads us and feeds us and cares for us. He doesn't always take us out of the valley of the shadow of death, but He walks beside us through it.
If you feel lonely today, know that you're not alone in that feeling. Even as an introvert, I've been missing fellowship and relationship with my people. That feeling is understandable and it doesn't make you a bad Christian if you're having a hard time dealing with this very stressful and worrisome time.
We don't have to be trapped in that loneliness and worry, though. Jesus provides us a way that leads to rest and life and joy in the midst of every struggle, every pain, and even every global crisis.
I hope this episode can give you some peace and rest this week, friends. Whether you're walking through loneliness or you're struggling because you're surrounded by people and can't find space to be alone, the Stanfords have words of comfort for you that come straight from Scripture.
Loneliness and depression don't have to be the end of the road for you. Like any chronic hurt, these things don't have to define you and they don't have to be a death sentence for your soul and your joy. In fact, as the apostle Paul reminds us, God's power is made perfect in our weakness, and His grace is sufficient for us.