AUG 30 2022    
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So full disclosure, My husband and I frequently watch survival reality shows. Each one has its own set of rules and expectations. Many learn to thrive, while others submit to failure pretty quickly. 

I can tell you right now I am not spending 5 minutes naked in the wilderness with biting bugs. And I wouldn't do it for 30 seconds on national television. Sometimes you are left with others, and your survival depends on that dynamic. Other times you are all alone. 

You have to be ready to build a home out of your surrounding. You eat whatever you can. You prioritize each day what you are physically capable of doing. 

Many that cannot sleep initially end up just passing out at night due to fatigue and lack of nutrients. A few shows allow you to bring a certain amount of survival items. It involves planning and strategies. It also requires mental preparation and stability.

I live in the Appalachian Mountains. They are absolutely majestic. I have explored several areas and campgrounds in these mountains. On a girls' trip several years ago to a small town in North Carolina, my eyes were open to the hiking community. This small town, without a grocery store, no McDonald's, or even a dollar store, was bustling with hikers. Hostels and hot showers drew those trekkers out of the mountains for a brief stay. 

This small town happens to be built near a natural hot spring. This was one of the top must-dos when hiking the Appalachian Trail. This was not a reality show with camera crews and a medic on standby. Sometimes they hiked in groups, but there were still many more that had taken the journey all alone. Alone? All Alone. These people deserve the highest camping award. 

I was amazed at what little they carried with them. Every item had to be essential because it added to the weight that had to be carried. 

The Appalachian Trail is 2,190 miles long. It is the longest trail in the world. Trekkers all over the world view it as the holy grail of trails. They come from all over the world to try to prove they are up to the task. 

Clingmans Dome is over 6,000 feet high. It is the highest point on the trail. The difficulty of this trail is grueling, dangerous, and demanding. Hikers hike 14-20 miles daily. Experienced trekkers take 5-7 months to finish the entire thing.  

Just think of the challenges of doing this alone. No one to share your defeats and your triumphs. No guarantee of help in an emergency. No one to pull you up. No one to share the responsibilities of daily needs. No one to help carry the essentials. 

Even if I could physically navigate this endeavor, the alone part would drive me mad. God didn't create us to walk alone. 

God saw Adam and knew he needed a companion. Over and over, the Bible tells us that we must love our neighbor. To bear one another's burdens. To lift each other up. We are even asked to prefer our brother over our own needs. 

Have you ever felt like you are alone? People are all around you, but you feel completely disconnected. Have you ever woken up and questioned your life and decisions? Ever felt like you could get in a car and drive away, no destination, no plan, just go? And if you did, the ripple on the pond would be so insignificant. You are not the first. Everyone finds themself here sometimes. 

Theologians believe that Job is actually the oldest recorded book in the Bible. Why is Job’s story so important that it would be written before the creation story? It was written before the 10 commandments. Before anyone wrote about the flood, they told Job’s story.

People needed to know that because sin entered the garden, the course of the world changed. Human life would forever battle the forces of evil. When you read the creation story, God tells us it is good. 

The Garden of Eden was paradise. When satan came in to tempt Eve, he set the stage for mental conflict. The first thing Adam and Eve do is realize their nakedness. What? They realized they were naked? How?

Adam had never been to a fashion show or even a Walmart. They had never seen other human beings wearing clothes. The animals were not modeling the latest line by Mr. Lion. What they saw was more than nakedness. They had opened their eyes to their human nature, and it was ugly. They wanted to hide.

Satan's first and best plan of defeating mankind began. Humans were not good enough. They could not ever be enough to make up for this betrayal. 

Exposing human nakedness is the equivalent of standing in front of someone with shame, guilt, and flaws exposed. It causes self-doubt, pity, unworthiness, and self-loathing.

Job was an example of bad things happening to good people. It was a story about being faithful to God no matter what. When the walls came down, his children were taken, and his friends condemned him. His wife told him of his foolishness. 

While these events are taking place, God is holding a conversation with satan. God is so proud of Job. Job was faithful. God was more concerned with his faithfulness than his suffering. Why? Because it is only by suffering that we can prove faithfulness.

Jonah had his bouts with self-doubt, also. He asked God to take his life. He saw his nakedness in a way. He was afraid to preach to Ninevah. He didn't want to be their prophet of doom. He was afraid.  

He did eventually end up preaching to Ninevah. The people repented. Instead of rejoicing in God's grace toward them, Jonah got angry. The same grace that just days before saved him from the belly of a great fish. He threw a pity party for one. 

Moses battled many times with his metaphorical nakedness. He made excuses not to do what God asked also. He lost his temper a few times. He threw a few pity parties himself in the day. Let's give him his due. Moses had a lot on him. 

Elijah was a very conflicted prophet. His anxiety was off the charts. Even after the times that God used him to do miraculous things and predict the future precisely, he still doubted. 

He was revered and feared, but still, he asked over and over to die. He hid himself to quiet the chaos of emotions his mind created: Elijah, pity party of one. Just like Jonah, God allowed the party to happen. He even provided refreshments. God knows His creation.

Then there is David. Just a quick peek into his story lets you know he struggled. If he were alive today, he would definitely be a candidate for anti-depressants and maybe even some ADHD medication. Please understand I do not mean any irreverence. It is just the truth. 

He was brave some days, hiding sometimes, and he threw quite a few pity parties. He made some good decisions, and he had to face the consequences of some bad ones. He was mentally all over the map.

Psalms, if written today, the author would be labeled bipolar. Just because we now have labels for our internal conflicts does not make them new.

So let's give the men a rest and look at Martha. So Martha was the sister to Lazerus. She also had a sister named Mary. Martha was concerned with everything she needed to do to be the perfect hostess. She was very concerned with appearing to be perfect. She even scolded Mary for sitting at Jesus' feet instead of helping her pull off this shindig. 

Can we say perfectionist and OCD? Jesus explains she needs to stop being concerned over trivial things. Then to make things worse, He tells her that Mary knows what is important. 

Now I wasn't there, but if I were Martha, and I confess I can be, I would be more than a little frustrated. 

1 Peter 5:7

"Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

Philippians 4:6

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Matthew 6:25

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"

There is a quote by Mark Lowry that I have lived my life by. “If you are mad or frustrated with God, you might as well tell him because he already knows.” Your feelings do not take him by surprise. 

He took all those opportunities with His children to show His love for them. He does not celebrate our pain, but He sure does enjoy bringing you comfort, love, compassion, and hope.

God wants us to run to Him. He tells us we are never alone. He is in the valley, the pit, the hospital, the jail, the street, and wherever you are, He is there. He wants us to acknowledge His presence. He will never leave us or forsake us. He promised.

Isaiah 41:10-13 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Over and over…..

Psalm 73:23-26 

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

And again and again….

Isaiah 43:2 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

As a matter of fact, we can find this same promise over 100 times in His word. When we are rejected, He is there.

Psalm 27:10 

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.

Nothing prevents God from being by our side when we call on Him.

Romans 8:38-39 

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Stop believing you are alone. Don't fall for those tricks. We all get caught in this trap at times in our lives. And just like the above examples, He will let you throw a pity party of one for a minute, but then He will stop the wallowing, just like he did with Jonah.

Jonah 4:6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

God knows our weaknesses. He uses them to strengthen us by leaning on Him. Paul understood that in his weakness, his faith and strength is grown. When you have nowhere to turn but toward God sets the stage for total dependence. It is this total dependence that God desires. Steve Harvey says, “ A setback is a setup for a comeback.” 

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

If you are alone right now, it is your choice—time to make a new decision to allow His company. Get up, look up and reach up. He is there! 

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