A few (or more) years ago, I ran my first marathon. As the race started, I felt the excitement and nerves launch me into the race. I ran at a steady pace until I hit mile 20. Then everything fell apart. My body hurt. My spirits crashed. My strong cadence turned into a dull shuffle. I then heard someone yell, “You’re almost there!” My spirits soared. I felt a new surge of energy. My pace quickened, and my stride lengthened. Then I saw a sign that read “Four miles until the finish.” Ugh.
Sometimes a painful situation or a diagnosis comes with a timeframe: a chemotherapy regimen that lasts nine weeks, a child stationed overseas for a year. Other struggles come with no expiration date. Many times we deal with pain, grief, or loss, not knowing how long it’s going to last. In Psalm 13, David asks God, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” Amid the pain, we can feel like God has left us. We can feel as if our support system is gone. Yet, by verse 5 of the same psalm, David declares:
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. (Psalm 13:5)
This life we have in Christ will, indeed, last forever. The pain we experience on earth will, most certainly, not last forever.
How can we, like David, turn our focus from our gloom to God’s goodness? Try writing. Here are a few prompts you can use:
Right Now: Write about how you feel right now. What’s influencing your feelings? Write down all that is on your mind. Sometimes the ambiguity of a situation can magnify its pain. Giving clarity to the problem or the pain can take away some of its power over you.
Recall: God has carried you through tough situations in the past. Write about times you can remember when God has shown His steadfast love through a person or event.
Request: Ask God for help. Write down what you need. If there’s a person you can call or a resource you can request, write down a plan to get the help you need.
If you don’t know where to get help or even who to ask, consider one of the resources below. Dialing 211 can help you find resources in your community. As you reach out to God, recalling His faithfulness, and asking for his intervention, remember that you are loved. Your God has not forgotten you. Your Savior, Jesus, who has suffered and died for you, is with you now and will be forever.
National Alliance of Mental Illness
NAMI.org | 1–800–950–6264
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
SAMHSA.gov | 1–800–950–6264
Suicide Prevention Hotline
Text or dial 988
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741
Essential Community Services
Dial 211 to find help in your community