by Jenn Eickman
Have you ever felt like you're alone? Like utterly alone?
I think many of us have. Maybe you do right now. In isolation, physically separated from your loved ones and from the way things used to be...normal.
When I was 17 years old I had a lot of BIG changes in my life. I unexpectedly lost someone I loved dearly, I graduated from high school, my family moved across the state, and I started college. A lot of big life moments in a few short months proved to be too overwhelming for my young inexperienced heart.
In the handful of years that followed, I felt alone. I'd lost a beloved friend to death, but I'd also lost (or felt I'd lost) my high school group of buddies, and my childhood home. I'd lost that sense of security when I saw life outside of my sheltered rose-colored glasses.
I can truly say my faith never actually faltered, but I became very bitter and angry with God...because I felt that He had abandoned me. I spent years needing to blame someone for the circumstances in my life. The isolation and loneliness. The grief and anger. How could He allow all this? My immature heart and faith couldn't grasp the grown-up realities I was facing.
Fast-forward to age 22. Five years I had spent being angry with God, pushing people away, causing myself to be isolated and alone, and building walls around my heart. But never truly seeing I was actually the one responsible for my own isolation. I had a revelation of sorts on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Tower in Chicago. I had just run up 94 flights of stairs in memory of my friend who I'd lost 5 years prior. Seven of those 94 flights I ran side by side with the man who received her lungs. Can you imagine? It was a moment I'll never forget and cherish for the rest of my life.
As I ran up those other 87 flights I spent the time running alone, and I spoke with God. I yelled at Him in my mind. Why did He leave me? Where was He? Why did he let all of this happen?
And as I crested the finish line on floor 94, I saw the donor recipient's family, lined up with their arms outstretched for hugs yelling, "Go, Jenn!!!" And in that moment something shattered inside...that wall of bitterness and loneliness. For in that one moment, I saw those last 5 years in my mind. I saw moment after moment where He was there. Always. His hand was in every moment and in every little detail. He never left me...all along all I needed to do was to lift my head, open my eyes, and see all that He had done!
Earlier this week, Aaron shared a video reading of Scripture verses from both the Old and the New Testaments. He offers some thoughts about how we can find comfort knowing He was, He is, and He will always be.
Revelation 1:8 (NIV)
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
He is the Alpha. The Omega. The Beginning. The End. And all those moments in between, right? He is God!
At Fairmount, we LOVE the Great Commission (it's our mission statement), the last part of Matthew in 28:19. Yet, in verse 20 Jesus tells His disciples and us:
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
Always. In the good and in the bad. HE is there. In the big and in the small. HE is there. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. HE is there too!
Where have you seen or felt God's presence in the past few weeks?
So as we wrap things up I'd like to leave you with a verse below to meditate on today and this week. A verse that can offer many of us encouragement and motivation to remain strong in the Lord and to be courageous. For surely He "is with us always, until the end of time."
A bit of background of where we are in the book of Joshua below. After the Israelites made it across the Red Sea they had to wander the desert for 40 years prior to entering the Holy Land. Moses made Joshua the next leader of the Israelites and would pass the leadership torch upon his own death. After Moses died the Lord spoke to Joshua and told him just as He had been there for Moses, He would be there for Joshua too...
Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Please know that your Fairmount Family is still here for you! If you are feeling isolated and alone, please reach out to us. You are not walking through this alone. We love you!