I know it’s hard to tell from this blog because I talk about myself here a lot, but I generally dislike talking about myself. It takes a lot for me to come out and start talking about anything personal. I have to know you first.
But most people I meet, they aren’t like that. I don’t know why, but since I was a kid, on a semi-regular basis near-strangers have told me their entire life stories. I’ve heard incredible details and the most tragic stories from people I’ve only known for a few minutes or hours.
Doing student ministry, that hasn’t stopped. I can’t count the number of times I’ve met a kid and twenty minutes into our conversation, he’s recounting the worst story of abuse or neglect or tragedy that I’ve ever heard. This has happened, at times, on a weekly basis.
In a lot of cases, I don’t even know them enough to know what they think or believe about God.For that matter, I don’t know what you, my dear reader, may think about God.
I recently had a conversation with a student I don’t know very well that told me he’s had troubles for a long time. And all I could think about are the lies he must hear out of that. That life doesn’t matter. That this is all life is ever going to be. That this is as good as it gets. That things don’t matter. That life will always suck and will always be hard. That no one is there for me. That no one cares. That nothing we do matters.
For a moment I thought about those lies. And how often I believe every one of them and more.
The lies that are most toxic are the lies that we are alone. That no one cares. That nothing will change. That nothing matters.
And so, what I told this awesome kid, and what I would have to tell myself is this: we have an enemy that tells us lies like these. He wants to crush and destroy all of our hope. Because if he can crush our hope, he can crush us. He does not want good things for you, he wants only bad.
Bad things happen to us. Good things happen. Neither one of these defines who we are. What defines us isn’t a feeling of depression. A hurt, or pain. These are all temporary and will go away eventually.
What defines us, and I don’t know if you believe in God or not, but what defines us is who Jesus says we are. Regardless of what lies the enemy says, we are never alone. We don’t have to fight alone. We don’t have to give up just because we don’t have the strength inside to keep on going.
God loves you more than you could possibly imagine. Even though life is hard and it sucks at times, we can keep going.
We can have hope. Despite the lies.