We are understandably careful about who we allow into our personal space. Yet have you ever noticed how pain can show up at our door, bags in hand, and—wholly uninvited—move right in?

Coming to recognize we are in a season of pain can occur quickly or evolve over time. Either way, if we’re not immersing ourselves in the whole counsel of God’s Word we might start believing the declarations of some that “It isn’t God’s will for you to suffer.”  That we just need to pray it away, in faith.

Other voices call out that we are strong and need to power through whatever pain or difficulty is blocking one’s path to ‘living in the moment’ well or ‘living our best life’.

And if we still have pain? They shrug their shoulders and tell us it’s basically our own fault…

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Before we begin to open Scripture on this subject, it is important to know pain is not always our enemy (see James 1:2-4). When it moves in, however, it arrives with a number of bags—not all of which should be unpacked.

Some of the bags pain brings contain falsehoods. These are masterfully opened by the enemy of our souls, who seeks to deposit their contents into our minds.

Others, filled with truth, are available for the opening. They take more effort to seek out and unpack, yet Almighty God lovingly extends them as gifts—priceless and imperishable.

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One of the most fascinating and potentially damaging aspects of pain is its seeming ability to make us feel alone.

My guess is you’ve experienced this.

Whether our pain is physical, emotional, and/or spiritual, we can find ourselves surrounded by people and busy with responsibilities—while still feeling very much alone in it. So real and prevalent is this phenomenon, I’ve dubbed it:

The Lonely Path.

* * *

Here is where our own self love and Satan’s harmful lies often ferment. We appropriately acknowledge our pain and the true heartaches of finding ourselves on the Lonely Path.

But then we may begin to wonder if we really are alone.

When this happens, it means the first bag of lies was opened and we lingered over its contents.

Unless we identify and combat with biblical truth the falsehood that “how we feel is how things are”, we’re going to fall prey to that untruth’s crippling work. And if we’re afraid to admit to a praying friend or family member we feel hurt, angry, or are walking a path of loneliness? The problem will be compounded.

When pain enters our lives, Satan is quick to pull out his most trusted tools of deception in an effort to destroy us. He wants us to operate on feelings rather than truth. And he’ll do everything he can to divert our focus to his bagfuls of trickery rather than Almighty God and the deeply beautiful truths available to us in His Word.

* * *

No matter how we view ourselves, we aren’t failures when we struggle with pain. The path we sometimes travel is a Lonely Path!

Yet—even though we often feel alone—the wonderful truth is the adopted child of God never is alone. In fact, even if we wanted to hide from God, we couldn’t.

The psalmist asks: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). The truth is that no child of God is going to accidentally “lose” God when he or she needs Him, as we see in Matthew 28:20.

And when we’re feeling alone and isolated, we must tenaciously cling to God’s Word. He knows and understands our every thought and struggle!

“Oh LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:1-5)

Should we perhaps read this again?!

It’s wild!

My friend, this means even though you may not feel it, God is always right there with you, compassionately understanding your pain.

While it may seem unthinkable to us, the passage in Psalm 139 also shows God is preparing the way before us (yes, our path is custom made) and has laid His own hand on us. What a wonderful intimacy!

The very God of creation has placed His hand on you, as a believer. On me! We are precious and valuable to God and His love and thoughts for us cannot be measured (see Psalm 139:13-18).

Is it possible, then, that our pain is not an accident or oversight on God’s part? Or perhaps not a form of punishment?

 Simply put: Yes!

 * * *

King David, who wrote the above passage in Psalms under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, experienced both spiritual successes and bitter failures in his life. He admitted God’s intimate involvement in everything about him was overwhelming: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is too high; I cannot attain unto it.” (Psalm 139:6).

Put another way, “This is too much, too wonderful—I can’t take it all in!” (Psalm 139:6, The Message).

* * *

If we skim over the truth of God’s presence being with us and His own hand being lovingly upon us, two things will happen. We’ll miss the wonderful knowledge David wrote about and become beaten and defeated (if we haven’t already arrived at that point).

Walking in the knowledge and belief God loves us and is with us—every step of the way—is how our Lonely Path begins to merge into a more deeply intimate walk with Jesus Christ. No matter the trials or reality of pain, this walk becomes a Path of Victory.

* * *

When you do feel as if you’re on the Lonely Path, please take time to talk it over with God. Jesus said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

God is perfectly comfortable with His Son’s followers saying something along the lines of: “I feel lonely and hurt right now, yet I’m Your child and I believe what You said: that You are with me and will never leave me. I believe You love and care for me because You say You do. Thank you for that and please help me to face every challenge armed with this truth. And please have it change the way I think and act.”

It is critically important for us to not only remember God’s presence, but to allow and to ask Him to help us in our day-to-day struggles.

* * *

When something uninvited has moved into our lives—whether it be pain, fear, frustration, happiness, or even love, there will be bags unpacked.

Which will ones will you reach for?

Habitually unpacking and cherishing truth creates an environment where falsehood cannot thrive.

The team at ETL loves you and wants you to know this!

* * *

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

5 Comments

  • Becky says:

    What a beautiful blog post! Under the photo where the gentleman is looking up, you have a couple of Psalm 139 passages (my favorite chapter in the Bible), between them there is a Matthew 28:29 reference. I’m not sure what passage you intended to use but there is no Matthew 28:29.

    • June says:

      Thank you, friend Becky! As always, you are beautiful, smart, and kind. Thanks for the assist. I’ve made the correction to Matthew 28:20!

  • Beryl says:

    Truth! That is the word that immediately came to my mind while reading this blog. Thank you, June, for sharing the truth of God’s Word, what a Solid Rock!

  • Kacia says:

    Thank you so much Mrs. Strickler. This is truth I needed to hear today; not just for myself but to remember and pass on to friends.

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