Misery loves company; but you don’t have to be its companion. Ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut. No matter what you do, you just can’t seem to dig or pull yourself out of it. I equate this feeling to my experiences in sailing. We call it the doldrums. It’s a nautical term for calm periods when the winds disappear altogether, trapping sail-powered boats for periods of days or weeks. I remember sailing with friends on Lake Ontario. We’d be sailing along at seventeen knots feeling the wind against our faces. What an exhilarating feeling! Then out of nowhere you hit this calm where there isn’t even the slightest hint of a breeze. You’re dead in the water with not even a wave in sight … the doldrums. If we didn’t have an onboard motor, as a backup power source, we could be stuck for hours awaiting the wind to pick up or for someone to give us a tow.
This idea of misery loves company makes me want to laugh at myself. Because without even realizing it up until now, when I think back to my sailing days when we hit those doldrums, I immediately looked around to see if others were in our same predicament … as if this would somehow bring me some comfort in knowing that I was not alone. So I guess it is true what they say … Misery loves company!
I got thinking about this when someone I’ve been counseling was having a hard time with her teenage son. She said she felt like she was in a rut and was at wits end with the stress and drama her son seemed to be causing. I wanted to encourage her not to let the son’s misery become hers. Then it came to me, misery can become our backup power source. But, not to bail them out of their condition, but to keep them in it.
THE POWER SOURCE THAT BINDS OR SETS YOU FREE
So I meditated and sought The Lord on how we as Christians can overcome the pitfalls of misery. Then it occurred to me that poor time management has a lot to do with why people fine themselves commiserating. Here’s what Esephesians 5:15-20 has to say about time.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine,which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What Paul is saying to the church in Ephesus is take heed, be alert, be vigilant. In other words, be on guard with how you spend your time and how you live your life. Use wisdom to make the best use of your time. When you find yourself commiserating, ask yourself Is the best use of my time? Remember to redeem the times- make the best of every opportunity. Why? Because, as Paul says, the days we live in are evil. Interestingly enough, the Hebrew word for evil means misery. Paul takes it even a step further by saying, don’t be unwise. Instead, understand what God’s will is for you. It is never God’s will for us to be miserable … live in misery or spread misery.
The opposite of misery is JOY and that’s how we overcome the pitfalls of misery. Being filled with the Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is the Spirit that causes us to speak encouraging words to each other and to break forth in songs and hymns as we make a joyful sound unto The Lord. No matter what we’re faced with, if we search long enough and hard enough, we can always find a reason to give God thanks. For without Him, we can do nothing. John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. Our power source is The Lord Jesus.
HOW DID JESUS HANDLE MISERY
Jesus handled misery through His obedience to God, The Father, even unto the death on a cross.
Hebrews 12:2-3 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he 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 sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I hope by now you’ve captured the root cause as to why misery loves company. It’s the condition of ones own heart. We think that things are only affecting us emotionally when in fact we are being infected spiritually. When it comes right down to it, it always involves the decision we make when it comes to being miserable. We can choose to be its companion or not to be its companion. Jesus chose always to do the will of God who sent Him to redeem us. Yes! Jesus felt the presence of evil – misery – but instead of drawing upon a weaker power source, the flesh, He drew upon the ultimate power source — Almighty God. Christians, we are not left POWERLESS or COMFORTLESS because Jesus sent us His Holy Spirit to comfort us, guide us and strengthen us … always! Trust in The Lord and He will be your faithful companion.