Question from a Site Viewer
My life is falling apart. I was a drug addict for 12 years. I lost it all, even my children and my home. Prior to that, I was part of a violent marriage that ended when my husband went to jail for nearly killing me. Jesus healed me from drug addiction five years ago but I cannot seem to get close to Him. It’s like trying to talk to a brick wall. I recently lost my mom. My life went from bad to worse. I have no friends and my sisters could care less about me. My body is weak from all the drug abuse. My car is broken down and I have no money to fix it. This may be a small thing but it feels like the last straw. What can I do to get close to Jesus? I don’t read my Bible because my mind races and I cannot concentrate. But I know Jesus is the only answer. I’m stuck.
Thank you for writing. Your account of your troubles reminds me a little of Job’s statement that we are born for trouble as the sparks fly upward (Job 5:7). Our lives on this earth can sometimes be very trying. Jesus Himself was known as a “man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3). If you read through 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, you will see that the Apostle Paul did not have an easy life. There are many in this world who are strong believers who wonder when they will get their next bite of food, or whether they will even be alive tomorrow. The great prophet Jeremiah describes his own misery in Lamentations 3:1-18.
Life is not easy. Some people have lots of friends and no money. Some people have lots of money and no friends. Some have neither friends nor money, but have family. And some have no family, friends, or money. Whatever lot of life we are in, there are two constants. First, God is always God, the faithful and merciful One. Second, we have the ability to choose to be His servants or to seek to go our own way. This is always our choice.
God does not withhold good from those who seek Him. But what is good is not necessarily an abundance of goods, friends, family, or health. Rather, what is good is that God will provide just what we need to accomplish His will and after our mission on earth is done, He will receive us to our rich reward in glory. Thus, the great prophets of old often suffered greatly. And the martyrs of the church have endured much. When we suffer with grace, we join a long and rich tradition within the church of Christ, going back to the Savior Himself. Read 1 Peter sometime.
So, let me provide you a perspective you might find helpful. First, never focus on what you do not have. Don’t let your mind go there. Rather, every morning, arise and thank God for what He has given you. I can you a partial list (life, the hope of eternal life, the forgiveness of sins, children to love, Jesus, the Bible, the opportunity to serve the King, a warm house, food to eat, clothes, etc.). Seek each day to determine what He wants you to do that day, how you can be a blessing to others, and how you can be a blessing to your God. End each day with a time of prayer and praise, letting God know about your troubles but then thanking Him for His great promises to be with you in all things. He is faithful to us. And try singing to Him through the day. And if you do not feel like singing, then follow Philippians 4:6, bringing your requests before God with thanksgiving.
Second, let God know through prayer your needs, and then leave those needs with Him. See if He does not empower your mind with ways of meeting the needs, or spur others to help meet the needs, or provide some other way to ensure that your needs are met. He has many ways of answering prayer. Cast your cares on Him.
Third, do not let the enemy drive you into a pity party. Refuse to go there. Keep focused on Christ and on others. Praise Christ and pray for others. Become a prayer warrior for those in your family that seem to spurn you. And pray always for your children. And though you do not have great health, a substantial income, or many friends, seek to be a blessing to others. I am sure you do this with your children. Try also to do it with your family, neighbors, and those whom you meet. Give them a smile, a kind word, or a friendly greeting. Though you may be as Lazarus in the account of the rich man and Lazarus that Christ describes in Luke 16:19-31), you can be rich in the things that count most, such as righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
You state that you are unable to read the Bible because your thoughts race. I would encourage you not to let anything drive you away from reading the Word. Satan’s great tactic is to keep you away from that which is food for your soul. Jesus Himself said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Peter tells us to desire the milk of the Word that we may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2). Jesus prays that we would be set apart for God through the Word (John 17:17). It is imperative for your spiritual health that you get into the Word. Even if your thoughts race and you cannot concentrate, take the time to read aloud at least a few verses from the Bible every day.
In fact, I encourage you to do more than this. I encourage you to commit to memorize part of the Word every day. Memorizing, for those who are not used to it, requires a lot of mental effort. One must repeat a passage over and over and over before it will be memorized. But the process of doing this, though painful at first, will over time help reform your mind and cause you to think more and more about Scripture and the God of Scripture. One of the most effective ways of gaining control of one’s mind is to engage in the discipline of memorization. At first, it may take a few days to get even a small verse memorized. But keep reading and repeating the verse day after day until you get it down. Then move to the next verse. Start with simple verses such as Philippians 4:4-7, or perhaps a familiar passage such as Psalm 23. The discipline of this one activity will do more for you than you can imagine. We discipline our minds to win the race. I encourage you to make this a priority in your life.
And, as you seek God, you will find that God will meet you in your needs and provide for you. In fact, you will be able to look back and find that He has provided for you all through your life, even when you were not following Him. He will be faithful. That is who He is. He is on your side as you seek Him.
My prayer is with you that you will experience His peace, you will be engaged in His mission of meeting the needs of your children, and that you will have all of your needs met by Him.
a fellow pilgrim,