When Life Hurts

Do you ever feel as if the world is pressing down on you? Like you want to crawl into bed and hide beneath the covers indefinitely?

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he or she lay down their life for their friends.” During the Holocaust, Corrie Ten Boom and her family demonstrated Christ’s great love again and again as they risked their lives to save those of their Jewish neighbors. She lost her father, her brother, her nephew, and witnessed the slow death of her sister from mistreatment and starvation in Ravensbruck, the concentration camp in which they were both imprisoned.

Perhaps it’s difficult to see how Corrie’s hardships and concentration camps belong in a Christmas blog. Bear with me a moment longer.

After the war was over, Corrie related the lessons she’d learned while enduring some of the greatest atrocities humans had ever perpetrated against other humans. One lesson was: “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”

"Look out and be distressed, look in and be depressed, look up and be at rest." -Corrie Ten Boom

During World War II, Corrie’s world was burning. Literally. Bombs on Rotterdam had brought an end to Dutch resistance against the German invasion. And near Ravensbruck, bodies were regularly taken to the crematorium to be burned.

Focusing on her surroundings would have shriveled Corrie’s spirit.

The same can be said of us. If we choose to focus on the darkness of the world; the wars, the politics, the circumstances beyond our control, and the hardships, the light of our spirits will dim.

Corrie couldn’t afford to turn inward during her time at Ravensbruck either. Many of us have personal experience with the attacks that come from inside. The doubts: do I matter? The lies: Everyone’s got this figured out except me. The fears: Am I lovable?

A focus on self magnifies depression, disillusionment, discontent.

Corrie came to only one satisfactory conclusion, Jesus had to be her focus.

There is only one who can quench the soul’s thirst. Only one who can bring rest in the most trying of circumstances. Jesus.

Hebrews 12 says it this way: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

My friends, if you’re struggling through a difficult Christmas season, there is only one focus that will not dim your spirit or further fuel your depression. Look to Jesus. Fix your eyes on him. You were the joy before him as he endured the cross. You are the friend he demonstrated the greatest love for when he laid down his life on your behalf. In him you will find the peace that you so desire.

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”

Look to Jesus.