Active Faith

You Are Not Alone

"The Lord cares and calls out to us in our pain. He knows and understands our inner needs and longings, and desires to sustain and give us rest..." by Major Annalise Francis

“Do you sometimes feel that no one truly knows you? That no one understands or really cares?” A recent film based on the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen” echoes the deep human need to be known and understood. Evan is a teenage boy  wrestling with social anxiety. Upon hearing about the suicide of a classmate, Evan posts a heartfelt video for those also facing difficulty, depression and anxiety: “Have you ever felt like nobody was there? Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?… ‘Cause when you don’t feel strong enough to stand, you can reach, reach out your hand… Even when the dark comes crashing through, when you need a friend to carry you, and when you’re broken on the ground, you will be found.”

Evan’s message resonates so deeply with viewers that the video goes viral. Deep within us is a longing for wholeness, for meaningful connection to God and to others. Even at those times when we need it most, we do not feel like reaching out to the Lord or to others. The nature of the difficulty we’re facing causes us to feel—and want to be—isolated. Being around others can feel overwhelming; yet we need connection. We need to feel known, valued and upheld. 

Fortunately, we do not need to be whole and strong to come to Jesus. People gathered around Jesus because they were needy. In what has become known as the Beatitudes (makarioi), or “the blessings,” Jesus taught the Kingdom of God’s way of greater righteousness, given as a gift from God through Jesus Christ. The first beatitude states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3, NRSV). As explained in The Life with God Bible, Jesus classified those who were normally thought to be unblessed and even unblessable—those poor in spirit, mourning, meek, merciful, pure in heart, seeking peace and virtue, persecuted—as rich. The phrase “poor in spirit,” literally translated “the poverty-stricken in spiritual things,” pronounces God’s special blessing on the simple, brokenhearted, sincere and unlikely. This is a hard truth for us to internalize and accept. What is it about life in the Kingdom of God that makes them privileged? 

It is the Lord’s loving, accepting, encouraging presence, freely welcoming and receiving the downtrodden. The Lord cares. He embraces the depressed, the anxious, the lonely, the lost, the perplexed, the empty and the tired. His teaching sought to explain that the difference between the blessed and the unblessed lies in recognizing and admitting our own need and longing. In our sin and self-consciousness, we resist our vulnerability being revealed, but the Lord invites us to come as we are—caught in our brokenness and weakness, longing for God and the wholeness He brings. And He meets us there with His love and grace.  

In “Learning to Listen,” Wendy Miller intimates: “If we listen to Jesus, we will discover that these longings are the doorways through which we come to God and through which God comes to us. Jesus says that the people with these longings are blessed’ are welcomed into God’s family, are brought into God’s kind and gracious presence, are connected to one another.”  

Evan Hansen expresses it this way, “There’s a place where we don’t have to feel unknown, and every time that you call out, you’re a little less alone; If you only say the word, from across the silence your voice is heard.” 

The Lord cares and calls out to us in our pain. He knows and understands our inner needs and longings, and desires to sustain and give us rest (Mt. 11:28). In the final verse of the song “Someone Cares,” General Gowans assures us: 

Ours is not a distant God, remote, unfeeling, 

Who is careless of our loneliness and pain, 

Through the ministry of men He gives
His healing, 

In their dedicated hands bring hope again.

Someone cares. The Lord calls us to accept and affirm one another. To allow one another the freedom to call out for help when struggling and broken-hearted. To do so without judgment or shame. To show compassion and bring hope. God calls so that through His people, through us, those struggling would sense God close beside them… and feel His love and care, comforting and leading them to the gift of His blessing. 

The War Cry thanks Major Annalise Francis for writing for the Corps Values column for the past year. Major Francis has delved into the biblical truths that motivate the Army to embody the love of God in all it does. Major Francis is administrator and corps officer for the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Ashland, OH Center in Ashland, OH.

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