June 20-21, 2015
One of my favorite childhood television shows was “Gilligan’s Island,” and Mary Ann was one of my first crushes! The cast had fun adventures with different strangers on the island, while they constructed modern day amenities out of coconuts, bamboo and palm tree leaves. But the most important item they had was really each other. By contrast, in the movie “Castaway,” Tom Hanks was stranded on an island by himself—and went crazy—with only his volleyball friend, Wilson, to talk to.
Do you ever feel as if you are stranded all alone on an island? The other day, I had a very difficult decision to make. The initial thought that came to me was “Wow, I have no help from anyone else. This is all on me, and me alone.” I felt isolation and loneliness, not really sensing anyone around to help me. I was in it by myself and had to bear the burden of getting all the info and making the decision, as well as having the responsibility to bear the consequences of making the wrong decision, all by myself.
Whenever I am in the midst of one of life’s storms, I have an overwhelming feeling of loneliness—no one to help. Like I am on an island all by myself. Unable to ask questions or brainstorm with others. Without anyone to encourage or comfort me. I can’t even see a ship or another island around to provide any hope. I can be standing in the middle of a crowded room yet still feel completely alone. Have you ever felt this way?
We have all experienced loneliness. In fact many people struggling with depression feel as though they are alone most of the time. They often feel no one cares or understands, as though even God is distant and unavailable, punishing us for not pursuing Him. When I was a kid, I often thought He was concerned with more important things in the world than my trivial life and frustrations.
Being a psychiatrist, I have many medical books about healing on my bookshelf, but the most accurate and powerful book about pain is the Holy Bible. When I am feeling alone, I look in the Bible for the truth. Then I try to uncover the issues, distortions or misinterpretations that influence me to believe Satan’s lie that God is not right there with me.
You may feel alone, but the truth, the actual reality, is that God is always with you. Here are just a few of His promises: I am with you (Genesis 28:15). I walk with you (Leviticus 26:12). I am near you (Psalm 34:18). I hold your right hand (Isaiah 41:13). I carry you even into old age (Isaiah 46:4).
You see, Satan has been pounding away at you since your first breaths to trick you into believing that: 1) God doesn’t exist; 2) If He does exist, He’s too busy for you; 3) If He isn’t too busy, then you’re not good enough for Him yet; or 4) God is mean and punitive and has sent you to the corner or dungeon of life indefinitely.
Today, identify what lies you believe when you are under stress, like believing God is not with you. You must identify it or it will continue to influence you. You must practice debunking that lie, because you’ve practiced believing the wrong way so many times and it is ingrained in your brain circuitry. Replace it with the truth so you can be encouraged by reading these scriptures and others like them. Write your favorites down and put them where you see them all the time.
Speak them aloud. Substitute your own name for the word “you.” God says, I am with (your name) … I walk with (your name) … I am near (your name). God is speaking these promises to you, personally. Remember, you are never alone. Jesus is with you. He is with you this moment. He will be with you tonight—and tomorrow. He will be with you through the good times and bad. He will never leave you. The Lighthouse Network resource Within Reach will help you uncover the lies you believe and practice replacing them with truth. Whether you believe the truth that God is with you or you believe Satan’s lies, it’s your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, thank You for Your many promises to be with me—always. Help me to believe Your promises more than I believe my feelings. I pray, Father, for all those within the Stepping Stones community who feel they are alone. Help them dig deep to uncover the lies about You. Reveal Your presence in a powerful way. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who is always with me, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“The LORD is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope.” Psalm 34:18