By Aaron Brown, Crosswalk.com
Everyone suffers, whether from their own sinfulness, or actions from the enemy, the devil. The story of Job is about a righteous man with plentiful faith and earthly possessions. God allowed the devil to strip him of everything, and even make him sick. For a while, Job suffered and the “help” he received from his friends did not feel like help at all. If anything, that made matters worse, so much that God was upset with them too.
In the face of adversity, people like to offer words of encouragement when they see a fellow believer suffering. They often refer to Scripture verses as a reminder of God’s love and the importance of community.
What happens though, when someone suffering feels alone?
With all the advice-giving, sometimes those individuals forget the simple act of listening. That leaves the person suffering feeling worse than before. Maybe like Job, people in your life want to help, but their “help” is not very helpful. You can’t give advice for something you don’t understand.
Does the enemy attack us as ferociously as he did Job?
Encouraging yourself can be one of the biggest challenges to faith. After all, God did not make Adam to be alone (Genesis 2:18). We were made for fellowship.
What we can learn from the story of Job is that God will never leave us and faith will pull us through any hardship. That doesn’t mean we will always get the outcome we want, but God will show us favor in the end.
“Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
When we can lean on God instead of leaning onto others, or despairing at our circumstances, we can come out okay in the end. God cares for us and wants us to succeed. The devil does not. When we can respond to hardships with plentiful faith, we are following the example Job set.
Here are 3 ways to “resist the devil” when you find yourself alone.
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As Job suffered he cried out to God repeatedly, his anguish was so great he cursed the day he was born (Job 3). As he cried out, he turned his concerns into constant prayers.
I have heard the saying that anxious thoughts are unused prayers.
Instead of dwelling on his worries, Job prayed to God constantly. The Bible encourages us to pray constantly no matter our circumstance.
“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t stifle the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19)
Job managed to offer praise, as he questioned God, cursed himself, without cursing God. Prayer kept him steady when the support of his friends was inadequate.
Whenever you find yourself alone, know that you can talk to God. As you pray about your concerns, don’t forget to thank God for listening and for not abandoning you.
When you feel alone, God is still present. He hears your words, and sees your tears.
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2. Be in Community
“And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiates 4:12)
Some of us are blessed to have a stronger support system than Job. We have family or friends we can turn to in our hour of need.
If we have a choice to not suffer alone, we should always choose community.
Scripture lets us know that we are stronger together. We can encourage each other with God’s word, offer pleasant company, and give advice as needed.
Since the creation of Adam, God did not want us to be alone. And we don’t have to be. Not only is God with us, but he has also blessed us with people in our lives.
If you feel like you don’t have anyone in your life to offer adequate support, much like Job, then pray to God to help you find that support system.
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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Trust is so hard to manage as we seek to follow an invisible God. When we trust God, especially when we are alone, we acknowledge that everything will work out for our good in the end.
Trust means believing in a God we can’t see even when the situations we see are bad. Trust allows us to not have the answers, while acknowledging that God does.
In some situations, people may find themselves being blamed for their own suffering. People who mean to offer help actually offer hurt.
The devil enjoys when he can disrupt the bonds of community.
While these situations can easily tempt us to despair, trusting puts our reliance in God and not people. Job shows us that when we rely on God we do come out okay. No one can divide us from the Lord.
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4. Stay Strong
Those seasons of feeling alone do not last forever. I repeat, they do not last forever. That knowledge doesn’t change the hurt of loneliness, with which I am all too familiar. Yet, acknowledging the temporal nature of loneliness means that you can hope for a better future.
In fact, God wants you to hope for something better.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you’—this is the Lord’s declaration—’plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.’” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
When we feel weak, we can rest assured that our God is strong, and always bigger than the situations that bother us. Whether we are alone or in the company of others, God will never leave us. He will support us in ways others cannot.
Our story doesn’t end on a bad note. God instead grants us a future and a hope.
So long as we pray, trust, and seek community where we can, we will have the support we need to resist the devil. God has good plans for us. Let's not allow the devil to make us think otherwise. There are good things come to each and everyone one of us.
Let’s believe that truth because God spoke it!
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