(By Michele Ashpole)

My heart has been heavy the past few weeks for all the brokenness and suffering that many of us have in our lives. Some are coming out of the valley and on the way to the mountaintop, but some are still deep in the valley being flooded with anxiety, fear, pain, and sorrow. There have been arrests, fights, relapses, hospital stays, homelessness, and even death from overdose. It is so heart-breaking and too much to take in at times.

I believe God is sovereign and that He is loving and good, but when these devastating events occur, my heart is crushed and I wonder why He is allowing them to happen. Knowing that His ways are not our ways doesn’t make it less painful to walk through such difficult circumstances, but remembering that He promises to never leave us or forsake us can give us strength to keep pressing on no matter how hard it seems.

In my Bible study this week and at church this morning, I was reminded that we are not meant to walk through these things alone. Jesus is full of compassion for all of us who are hurting and He comes to us in the midst of our deepest struggles to bring comfort, healing and peace. He knows all our heartache without us even having to say a word. But we are also created for community-to do life together. People don’t know that we are having a hard time unless we share our struggles with them. Our pride, shame, guilt, and fear can keep us from sharing, but transparency brings light to the darkness we are experiencing.

That is why Anchor of Hope exists. It provides a place for us to come share our struggles with people who understand and who will listen to us without judgment. We don’t always feel like being vulnerable and open with people and sometimes it’s not comfortable to listen to other people talk about their problems, but as we share one another’s burdens, we gain strength and hope for this journey.

Here are some of the verses that I have been thinking about:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:22
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

This song is true not only for you and me, but for our loved ones, too. I hope it encourages you like it does me.