I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:19-23 NIV).
Even though the author of Lamentations experienced sadness and destruction, he decided to cope with things in a healthy and helpful way. He reminded himself that God’s love and compassion never fails and that he didn’t have to be controlled by his circumstances and feelings. We can follow the author’s lead and also have hope in the midst of our pain.
We can choose healthy ways of coping that will carry us forward.
Coping isn’t a one-time fix, and we need God’s help daily.
You can choose what to do with how you feel.
I was doing this very lesson in youth group last Thursday and asked the teens how they cope with stress. I then gave them some examples: waiting on line at amusement park, dropping your phone and breaking it, a friend lying over and over again, going back to school after a bad rumor going around about you and living through the Coronavirus.
You know what the answer was to dropping their phone? “It was the end of the world”.
We try to do anything to not have to face it, they said.
We avoid that it so we don’t have to deal with feelings or circumstances we’re experiencing.
We may not try to avoid our feelings, but we don’t really want to always deal with them, either.
Sometimes we just don’t know what to do about what we feel…so we don’t do anything at all.
So many different answers…because we all have different ways of dealing with what we feel. The teens would be willing to wait in a line for the amusement park, but not always willing to read the Bible or talk to God for advice.
(We all struggle with this. I’m looking at you.)
You get to choose the helpful ways to deal with what you feel.
You have the power right now to change the way you cope — for the better.
Start by choosing to change some patterns for the better. If you’re struggling to know where to start, maybe begin where the writer of this Scripture did. Shift your focus to what you know to be true about God and how He feels about you.
When you find yourself facing overwhelming feelings or hard challenges, focus on God.
You have the power to choose God…choose wisely!