Our world can be a dark and scary place. Bad people are doing bad things. Bad things happen to good people. Senseless things happen to innocent people. We see it. We hear about it. Some of us live it. People say, “You reap what you sow.” But sometimes we reap what others sow–and our world shatters.
Today, I don’t want us to focus on why bad things happen to us. Instead I want us to think about “What now?”
Some people who endure horrific experiences in their life, especially in their younger years, can plunge into a place of such depression and isolation that they never fully recover for the rest of their lives. They’re empty, afraid, angry, numb. Their life is dark and lonely. They never break free of the past. They never laugh or truly love again.
How is it, then, that other people who experience similar tragedy can rise above the destruction and use it to strengthen and motivate them as they move forward in life? What can we do to break free of the past with its nightmares and pain, and rise above our real life? Three things:
1. We believe we’re survivors, not victims. We’re made in God’s image and He gave us an inner strength deep in our soul that keeps us fighting for one more day. We are survivors. But if we allow our thoughts to stay fixated on what happened to us, or the person/people who did it, that will become the focus of our life. Bitterness and anger will take root in our heart. They’re a cancer destroying us from the inside out. Yes, we were victims. We shouldn’t minimize that. But we have to believe we are survivors now and stay focused on what’s ahead, not behind. That leads us to #2…
2. We cling to hope for new life. We grasp hope and don’t let go. Even in the deepest, darkest pits of life. Even in the spinning tornados of chaos and crisis. Even in the desperation of isolation. There is hope. There is a promise of new life. For you and for me. I’m living proof. No matter where we’ve been, what we’ve done, or what has happened to us. We can have new life. It will take time. The road won’t be easy. But a whole new world is waiting. Life filled with purpose. And eternal life. We can have it all. It starts with hope. My hope is in Christ. We’ll talk more about hope in tomorrow’s blog.
3. We share our survivor story. We help others find hope. We walk with them on their journey from destruction. Even if we’re still healing. Even if we’re still struggling. Even if we don’t know the end of our story. Strength fills us with each step we take. The injustice of our experience motivates us to keep going. To encourage others to not give up. To do something instead of nothing. We’re survivors. Survivors take action. Revenge against someone should never be our motivation. Our revenge is a survivor story that transcends the destruction and brings the light of hope and healing into darkness.
We all have a past. We all have a story. Now is the time to start changing the ending. We are survivors. You. Me. All of us. And not only will we survive, but together we’ll thrive in new life as we walk the journey with others.
“Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
May I pray?
Father God, You are Elohim, our Creator. You made us in Your image and gave us a fighting spirit. We are stronger than we feel or believe. Father, please help us see that we are survivors. Help us to find even the faintest glimpse of hope so we may cling to it without ever letting go. And Lord, please give us the courage to share our survivor story so that we may be emboldened, and others may be encouraged. Protect us as we walk this journey to new life with You, and with each other. Amen.
Q4U: We are all survivors of something. What is your survivor story?