Last night, my mind wouldn’t shut off to let me sleep.
It was moving so fast that not even reading or listening to um, sermons, could put me to sleep. I finally gave up and let my mind wander.
Somehow, it landed on the show “Survivor”.
I have no idea how or why. I don’t even watch Survivor. I don’t even know if the show is still on the air. I’ve seen 3, maybe 4 episodes, tops. But, there it was, for probably 20-30 minutes.
Early this morning, my odd duck thoughts from last night led my mind deeper into the concept of a “Survivor” (stay with me here). I thought about what a survivor looks like, what the word “survivor” denotes. And, I determined that I, indeed, am not a survivor.
By definition, a survivor is one who “continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship or setbacks.” (Dictionary.com) Or, it is someone who “survives”, which means “to get along or remain healthy, happy or unaffected in spite of some occurrence.” (also Dictionary.com) “Survived” is to endure or live through. (Dictionary.com).
Some horrendous things have happened in my life. Some of those things are just a part of life as we know it here in this fallen world. Others of those things are just evil. Simply evil. Dark. The worst. Of the worst. Things long ago, things not so long ago.
But, I am not a survivor of those things. I am not.
Not in the real sense of the world. Not in the sense that the dictionary definition implies. I have not “continued to function in spite of……” I have not “gotten along or remained healthy, happy or unaffected in spite of………”. I have not “endured or lived through”.
Because, if I were to claim any of those attributes, they would be false.
I am so grateful to be surrounded by so many who are of great encouragement to me. They tell me how strong I am. And they are right. I am strong. I am well. I have tremendous joy. But, these things are not a result of me being a fighter, or a survivor.
Because the only–oh, my goodness, my soul–the only reason I have tremendous joy or strength is because of my God. It is because of my God. It is nothing–absolutely nothing–that I have done. Only Him. Do you hear me?? Only Him.
Because, He is the one who sees me when I can’t sleep. He is the one who knows when my mind is plagued by nightmares and worry and fear. He is the one who sees me when I am absolutely wrecked. When I don’t think I can go another step. He is the one. He is the one.
And, in those moments, He alone is all my hope and stay. My hope is built on nothing less.
In recent days, I have done scripture work on the following passage in Isaiah 41. God, in these words, is addressing Israel. He calls Israel “My Friend.” That is significant. Read through the passage in its entirety. It’s a bit lengthy, but well worth it. Read it. Carefully. See yourself in this passage:
But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 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.
11 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.
12 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.
13 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.”
Do you see? Do you hear the language God is using here? It is the language of help. It is the certainty of presence. THIS is why I am not a survivor. Rather, I am a “hide-behind-er”. I hide behind my God. I am upheld only by His righteous right hand.
Verse 11 and 12—particularly verse 11, I can’t even address here. Can’t even do it. Too hard.
But I will speak to verse 13—When we are scared, there is nothing quite like holding another person’s hand. There just isn’t. We gain strength from holding another person’s hand. We were designed for that. When I am afraid–and there are many times that I am afraid—He holds my hand. He Holds My Hand! No, I don’t physically sense Him holding my hand. But I do sense His presence. And, even when I do not, I trust scripture to be truth. And that includes verse 13 above “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand…”. He is the only who says to my stirred up soul, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
Please, please do not read my writings here as being against anyone who sees themselves as a survivor. That is not my intention, at all. I have friends that are survivors of terrible diseases such as cancer. I have friends that have survived horrific divorces. I have other friends who have survived traumatic events in their life. I have friends that have survived horrific accidents. And, oh, how I thankful I am for these friends. How much they teach me, about perseverance and trust and so many things. So much so.
It’s just that I’m not a survivor.
I never will be. I am too weak. I am too wrecked. The scars run deep.
My only hope is in Christ alone.
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ, I’ll stand.
~In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty