Living the (Bad) Dream: Hope for the Hurting
Sometimes life feels like a bad dream, the plot absurd, each step an agony.
Like whispers of the wakeful, bright thoughts and spurts of energy flow near and through you once in a while, but dissipate quickly. When they pass, you struggle to take hold, desperate to pull yourself from the slog.
Then you remember.
Heavy and heartless, reality weighs you down again like a lead apron, suffocating any present hope of happiness. Head full of cotton, heartbeat an ache, you feel the sting of pain and look down to find your fingers, grasping nothing, have squeezed in on themselves, biting flesh.
I’ve been there.
In seasons like these, it’s hard to believe circumstances will ever change, that you will ever again experience the peace and joy you once knew, that you could ever again be the person you once were.
Don’t cringe. I’m not going to tell you He will fix everything and take the pain away. He may not.
I just want you to know that He’s there (Prov. 18:24, Rev. 3:20, Matt. 28:20).
And He gets you (Heb. 4:15).
Yes, God sent Jesus to earth to live a sinless life and die a slow, torturous death in your place so you could experience eternal life through Him (2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 6:23), but that’s not all the Father required.
Get this: God required Jesus to be human for a while—fully God at the same time, yes (John 1:1)—but human! Can you imagine? Glory for grunge…33 years of it!
Now, Jesus may not have had the exact thoughts and/or experienced the same doubts you and I have—He did have the benefit of deity, after all—but He did experience all the gross stuff that comes with being one of us—fatigue, hunger, loss, anger, sadness, disappointment, rejection, persecution, isolation, and pain, etc.—in a very real, sometimes intense, way.
So He could be there for you, not just rescue you and be gone, but walk with you in, through, and beyond the muck of being human (Heb. 2:10).
The Enemy wants you to believe you are completely alone, that no one understands you, that God has abandoned you, that you are not loved, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
Before you ever even knew you needed a friend and Savior, God saw you, loved you, and was preparing a friend and Savior for you. Just as He sustained Jesus against a skilled, hateful, relentless Enemy in the wilderness when He was sapped of all strength and ability to reason on His own (Luke 4), God will sustain you, arming you against the temptation to despair and choose your own path by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Now, I’m not going to lie.
Your circumstances may not change, you probably won’t ever experience the kind of peace and joy you once knew, and you definitely won’t ever be the person you were again.
But if you admit your need for a Savior—even in your present circumstances—and accept His rescue through faith, God will give you victory through the struggle and make your obedience count for the Kingdom (Eph. 1:11). Your peace and joy will deepen as your intimate knowledge of God’s power and faithfulness increases, and God will continue to transform you into something better than you were, the very image of His son, your friend and Savior Jesus, until He calls you home, where you will be made perfect (2 Cor. 3:18, Phil. 1:6).
The wait feels like forever when you’re hurting, I know, but this life is just a breath (Jas. 4:14). Hang in there. Keep trusting. Keep obeying, even when the Enemy whispers, your mind plays tricks, and your emotions refuse to fall in line with what you’ve chosen to believe by faith.
Soon—when God says it is time because life is His alone to give and take as Creator—you will stand, fully awake (1 Cor. 13:12), in the very real and lasting brilliance of His glory, bad dream over, this present pain a distant memory (Rev. 21: 4, 23).