Getting-through-the-hard-times-you-are-not-alone
Faith

Getting Through The Hard Times: You Are Not Alone

“How can we get through hard times?” she asked the class.

My friend was leading Sunday’s discussion in our class of 7 & 8-year-olds.

“Have you ever experienced something that was hard?” she continued.

Hands shot up all around us as each child shared their experience of hard times, as well as who had helped them through that difficult time.

“I didn’t have anyone to play with at school. I felt left out. Then a nice girl asked me to jump rope with her. It made me feel a lot better.”

“The doctor removed my stitches this week.”

And so came the responses, each child answering in turn.

Yes, they had experienced hard things. and someone was always there to help make things better.

 

AN UNDENIABLE IMPRESSION

I sat quietly at the beginning of class when everyone shared who they spent Thanksgiving with that weekend, and what exactly they had eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.

And I sat quietly during the ‘hardship discussion’, too.

How nice it was that they each had had someone to spend Thanksgiving with, as well as someone to help them through their hard times!

That’s when it hit me—an undeniable impression from the Spirit suggesting that I share with the class an experience I had had the day before. The experience had been so special that I had chosen not to share it with anyone—not even my mom. But now I felt prompted to share it with my class:

“May I share an experience of a hard time I went through?” I asked my friend.

She nodded, and she and the children waited for me to begin.

Recommended Book: Help For The Hard Times

AN ANSWER TO A PRAYER

I explained that I had spent Thanksgiving alone this year, but that I was okay with that. I was happy that most people were spending time with family and friends.

I made myself a simple meal to celebrate Thanksgiving and followed it up with a delicious batch of cookies. The day came and went and I felt fine.

By the time Saturday arrived, however, I was feeling pangs of loneliness. It had been days since I had interacted with another person and I was beginning to feel sad.

So off to church I went, I told the children, to seek the comfort I so desperately desired. While there I prayed in earnest, “Heavenly Father, please comfort me. Help me to not feel so lonely.”

Upon opening my eyes, I felt impressed to reach for the scriptures. I opened them, hoping to be led to a comforting verse. The page I discovered, however, was completely blank; the page next to it had only the title of the next book. What kind of comfort could this page possibly offer me? I wondered.

Then, another impression—this time to turn back a few pages.

I did so and found myself smack in the middle of the pronunciation guide.

My puzzlement increased.

The pronunciation guide?

Finally, another prompting: to look down at a word on the page.

My eyes immediately fell on the word ‘Emmanuel’, which instantaneously invoked thoughts of Jesus Christ and Christmastime.

Knowing the word had a meaning, but not remembering what it was, I opened the Bible dictionary and scanned the pages until I found the word I was seeking: Emmanuel.

My heart skipped a beat as my eyes read the meaning:

‘God with us’.

So much comfort in three short words.

In that moment, I felt at peace, for I knew I was not alone.

My prayer had been answered.

 

getting-through-the-hard-times

 

The children in my class had been listening intently to my story.

One boy, sitting on the edge of his seat, leaning forward with his arms on his knees, could not help but cry out when he learned the meaning of Emmanuel:

“No way! That is so weird!” he exclaimed, wide-eyed and incredulous.

I chuckled at his word choice. He had called the experience ‘weird’ but I knew he meant ‘amazing’, and he was right—it was pretty amazing.

——————————

Sometimes adults feel lonely and left out too, I told the children. My friend nodded in agreement.

When we face hard times in our lives, it’s nice when someone comes to our rescue, I continued. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes we are left to go through things on our own, but we, I assured them, never really are alone, for God is always with us.

 

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ADULTS FEEL LONLEY TOO

After class, my friend pulled me aside and thanked me for sharing such a meaningful experience.

I wasn’t sure at the time why I had felt impressed to share it, I only knew with certainty that it was the right thing to do. I just hoped that the children in our class would always remember that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are always there to comfort them just as they were there to comfort their teacher one lonely Thanksgiving weekend.

That was supposed to be the end of the story.

But it wasn’t.

 

THE PEACE THAT ONLY GOD CAN PROVIDE

The next day, my friend’s teenage daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The following day a 9-hour surgery was performed.

Today, the family waits for answers.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

As our community races to find ways to serve my friend and her family during this difficult time, we find ourselves fasting and praying that they will be filled with the peace that only God can provide.

——————————

Upon hearing the devastating news of her daughter, I sent my friend a text.

I let her know that we love her and are praying for her family.

I paused and, with tears in my eyes, added four additional words:

Emmanuel = God with us.

 

 Christian Wood Sign

 

A TESTIMONY TO THE WORLD

I share this experience as a testimony to the world that we have a living and loving Heavenly Father who hears and answers our prayers.

At times, our prayers may not be answered in the way we desire but, rather, in the way He sees fit.

Even so, we can trust “that all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28), for He will never, ever leave us alone.

 

 

DISCUSSION: How do you get through hard times?

 


 

getting-through-the-hard-times-you-are-not-alone

10 Comments

  • Cindy

    Emmanuel, God with us…such a comfort to know that He will never abandon us! I’m sure that those children remembered that word with its amazing meaning in the next days when times were tough. Thanks for the reminder of Emmanuel. We always seem to remember Hebrews 13:5 but forget His name is Emmanuel. Have a blessed day!

    • April

      This is absolutely beautifully comforting!! My family and I have really been going through a tough journey of one thing after the other, for quite a while now…and God is absolutely with us through it all. This was such a reminder of this, bringing added comfort to my soul!

  • Skye

    I really enjoyed this! It’s kind of hard for me to hear because the 2010s was my loneliest decade since I moved schools early on. So for most of my teens years, I was kind of friendless. I associated with people but never had close friends. When I did make a close friend, it wouldn’t work out for long. It’s not the easiest thing to accept. I love God dearly, but my human interaction is so low these days. I know that my reading this post is not a mistake, though. What you’ve said is so important. The only thing that has held me up so much and continues to make me feel joy and love despite not having close friends is Jesus. He has always been my best friend and I’ve always been able to talk to Him. In a way, I believe if I did get the friends that I wanted, I would never have been able to be dependent on Him and so confident in who He is. It has hurt a lot to the point of tears, but it’s also kind of a blessing and I know the right people will come along eventually. God bless you!

    • Down Aspen Lane

      I, too, recently went through a very lonely time. Over time I, like you, realized what a blessing that experience had been: I had no one to rely on but God. Sometimes we have to be taken to a near breaking point to realize that, though we may feel alone, we never really are. God is always with us. Thank you for sharing your experience, Skye!

    • April

      This is absolutely beautifully comforting!! My family and I have really been going through a tough journey of one thing after the other, for quite a while now…and God is absolutely with us through it all. This was such a reminder of this, bringing added comfort to my soul!

  • Stacey

    This is a wonderful story! We do sometimes get lonely but one thing I learned in a season of loneliness, we aren’t ever really alone. You’re right. The virgin will bear a son and he will be called Immanuel. Matthew 1:23 – “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Thank you for sharing!

    • Down Aspen Lane

      Sometimes it takes those “seasons of loneliness” to remind us of the greatest gift we’ve ever been given: a son, born to a virgin, who is always “with us”.

  • Chrissie

    You’ve packed so much hope into this post for those who are in a difficult place, and those of us who just need a reminder of his eternal presence. Bless you for sharing xx

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