Have you ever felt completely alone? Maybe you feel that way right now? You could be quarantined or distancing yourself for health purposes. You might be surrounded with people, but you feel isolated. Whatever the case, is that feeling true? Are your feelings the best gauge for reality or are they misleading you?
When I was a preteen, I remember feeling this way. It didn’t matter if I was in a crowd or alone, I felt like I was walking the planet in complete isolation. It was a miserable time and I thought it would never end. Happiness and joy seemed to be hundreds of miles away and yet there wasn’t anything really wrong. I was living under a cloud… a cloud of doubt. For some of you reading this, your first thought is depression or some type of mental health. Maybe it was, but I am not diminishing those who do suffer from that. But for me, it wasn’t mental nearly as much as spiritual. The cloud I lived under for years was doubt about God, His ways, and His promises. To compound this, I was a preacher’s kid. I was supposed to have it all together, but on the inside I was losing it. I can’t tell you how many nights that I either lay wide awake or cried myself to sleep. I never knew if this feeling would ever go away.
Fast-forward to today. How do you feel about life right now? The sun is shining, but is that how you would describe your heart? Do you feel like you are living under a cloud? Do you feel like you are alone? Do you wonder if you are going to make it? Will this feeling ever end? I believe many of us feel this way right now, with all of the information swirling around about this virus. We don’t feel hopeful. It is as if we are holding our breath and waiting for it to get worse. Is this the end? Is this how our story will continue? Will we ever get back to living “normal” life again? The cloud of doubt continues to grow!
Back to my story. My feelings were writing a story, but my feelings were misinterpreting the facts. What I didn’t realize was that there was a spiritual battle surrounding my life. A thief (a stealer as my son calls it) trying to take me down. I had already given my life to Christ. I was saved, plus at an early age I had committed my whole life to Him. Whatever he asked, I would do it. (I have never been perfect at this, I stumble a lot to be clear.) Satan wanted to make me ineffective. He wanted me to sit on the sidelines. He wanted to take me out of the game, long before it ever started. My feelings told me that I was alone in this fight. My feelings were siding with the enemy. My feelings were trying to help wrestle me into submission while easing the internal pain I felt daily. The enemy knew that God wanted to use my life and he has dogged me ever since. I will admit that I almost quit several times, but something kept me going. What was it? My feelings told me I was alone. Turns out, all those tear soaked prayers of comfort and peace had already been answered. What I felt was only a small part of the war that raged around me.
This morning as I was having my time with God, I read this verse. John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” That verse jumped off the page at me. I am not an orphan. I am a son, an heir. I am not alone. The Holy Spirit indwells me. The same way He did while I was living under the cloud of doubt. I was feeling my through the darkness and the Father kept drawing through the fog with His gentle voice. The enemy was lying in wait though, but Jesus was in the “valley of shadow of death” with me. My feelings were screaming that I was alone, but their is no way that was true. The good shepherd was walking with me, protecting me, and carrying me at times. The external pressures of life told me that I could never trust God because I cannot see Him. Yet, He reminded me that I am not orphan left to fend for myself. No, I am a loved son who has had his wounds bandaged, my blind eyes healed, and felt love from a good, good Father. Now as a grown man, I am no longer under that cloud of doubt. The truth is that it really never had anything to do about me. It was only the gracious love of Jesus. He is what it is all about. I am walking with Him and He with me. Jesus has a purpose for me still, no matter what the enemy or my feeling say, no matter how bad this virus gets, or how unsettling the world becomes. I am a warrior, suited up to fight in the army of King Jesus. I don’t have to fear death. Since He rose from the dead, I will rise too. The mission must go on.
So what about you? What are your feelings telling you? Maybe the cloud you feel under is doubt and a weapon of the enemy? Maybe there is a spiritual battle raging around you and the enemy is trying to take you out because he knows the impact you could have for the kingdom. Its time to fix your eyes on King Jesus, suit up in your spiritual armor, and get in the fight to move the kingdom of God forward. Your feelings are screaming for ease/comfort and the enemy want to shut you down, but don’t let them.
Maybe you don’t have a relationship with Jesus. You can call out to Him today. Ephesians 2:8 says “we are saved by grace through faith.” Jesus died in your place for your sins. Because of your sin, you deserve to die. But Jesus loved you so much, He died in your place. If you will receive His death for the payment of your sin (grace), repent (turn away from) of sin, and believe in Him (faith), you will be saved (Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9-10). Jesus wants to enlist you into His army today.
Don’t let this time continue to slip away and continue to stay under the cloud. Rise up to the fight. The battle rages and it will only get more fierce as time goes on. Keep you eyes fixed on Jesus. Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Sounds like a battle cry to me!
Grace and Peace to you as you pursue the prize instead of fear and doubt. In the end we win, as long as you are in Christ.