We all have moments when life turns inside out, when nothing is going right. We are tempted to wonder, “Have I done the right thing? Did I make a fatal mistake?” Crisis can shake us down to the foundations of our life, raising questions about ourselves and even our God. Recent developments in Bev’s health has produced such an angst inside of me that even my muscles ache. “But, what about faith,” you may ask? Can I say that I always sense God near? No, and yet I know He’s there. The thunderstorm in my emotions, the whirlwind in my mind, sometimes obscures His Presence. I am so very grateful for His Word that remains unchanging and for those who walk with us in prayer and love to steady us.
Jesus pled with His Father to ‘let this cup pass from me,’ as he anticipated the anguish of bearing the sins of the world. From the cross He groaned, “My God, why have You forsaken me?” God had not abandoned Him, but He felt that same alienation we feel and it crushed Him!
Job endured terrible anguish! In the depth of his suffering he said, “I’m given a life that meanders and goes nowhere— months of aimlessness, nights of misery! I go to bed and think, ‘How long till I can get up?’ I toss and turn as the night drags on—and I’m fed up!” (The Message, Job 7:3-4) He lost sight of God’s purposes, for a moment, yet God loved him still.
Elijah won a great victory for the Lord on Mount Carmel and then he collapsed into a terrible depression, fled to the desert, and asked God to let him die! “He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” (1 Kings 19:4). The Lord did not write the prophet off as a failure. He sent angels to comfort him and to restore him to his ministry to Israel.
David walked in the dark, too, but as a result of his own sin. He said, “ Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice … Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:8, 11-12, NIV) Even though he sinned terribly, God was not finished with him. From the wreckage of his life, David emerged to write many of the Psalms that guide the prayers and songs of the godly to this day!
With such company walking before us in the ‘dark night of the soul’ (St. John of the Cross, 16th century) we realize that our experience is not unique. Peter points the way and he does not write of immediate relief. With a godly wisdom, he urges us to stay steady. “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.” (1 Peter 4:12-13, NLT) The night will not last forever!
“So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.” (1 Peter 4:19, NLT) Keep on doing right! What a practical word. God, though unseen for a time, is still Lord of all.
Are you struggling, wrestling with doubt, disappointment, fear, pain, or temptation?
Don’t quit. Don’t take a shortcut to relief. Choose joy, keep on doing right, and trust God.
Here’s the word from the Word. “And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give the springs of the water of life without charge! All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” (Revelation 21:5-7, NLT)
You call me out upon the waters,
The great unknown, where feet may fail.
And there I find You in the mystery,
In oceans deep, my faith will stand.
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves,
When oceans rise,
My soul will rest in Your embrace,
For I am Yours and You are mine.
Your grace abounds in deepest waters,
Your sov’reign hand will be my guide.
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters,
Wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.
I will call upon Your name.
Keep my eyes above the waves.
My soul will rest in Your embrace.
I am Yours and You are mine!
Joel Houston | Matt Crocker | Salomon Ligthelm
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