Do you find yourself in a season of difficulty right now? If so, I hope to encourage you today by sharing how the Lord saw me through a time in my own life where all seemed lost, and the promises He gave me from His word that He faithfully carried to fulfillment.
Two years ago I lost my grandmother and mother just two months apart. To say it was a dark time emotionally really does not do it justice, and I questioned a lot spiritually. In the weeks that followed these losses, I needed God’s promises desperately and the Lord, in His compassion and faithfulness, gave me the following verses loud and clear that I’m going to share through different experiences. Although I admit at the time that I struggled to rest in the truth of what they say verses my overwhelming grief, sadness, confusion, heartache and disappointment:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5)
This verse was special to me because it was my mother's favorite verse, and she asked me to make a painting of it for her, which I gave to her for her birthday. It had come up in many different meaningful ways since her passing. The events leading up to her passing away were agonizing beyond any experience I've had, and if ever there was a time for me to lean not on my own understanding, that would be it. Perhaps this is you right now and circumstances are such that you cannot even begin to understand God’s plan or how things are going to work out or end up. Ask Him to fill your heart and mind with complete and total trust in His sovereignty. He works in ways we cannot fathom, but we must hold on to the belief that He is good in all of His ways.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love
God, to those who are called according to His purpose". (Romans 8:28)
I'll be honest, I could not possibly fathom the good that would come of such a
circumstance and wondered how He could keep giving me this verse. But, it's what He promised, and I knew His Word to be true.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The fire will not destroy you” (Isaiah 43:1-2)
This was the scripture in my devotional the day after my mother passed away. I knew this verse was especially for me that day because I had been praying just before I read it, that I felt like I was going to drown in my grief. Every time I felt like I was drowning, I thought of that scripture.
Although I didn’t understand any of it, in time God would show me the fruition of these verses that I’m going to share.
First, through a string of God ordained events and prayer, I was told by someone about a faith-based grief support group called Grief Share. This was a miracle in itself because this person had called me to talk about something completely unrelated and had no idea about the losses I had just experienced. But, the Lord put me on her mind! I had been praying for some type of grief counseling and, as God would have it, there was a Grief Share group going on 20 minutes from my house at just the time I needed it. It's a 13 week program with videos and a workbook, all built upon the word of God. It was exactly what I needed to work through my grief. It touched upon all of the things I was struggling with such as guilt, regret, what ifs, if only, why God??, what is my new normal?, loneliness and more. I found comfort in the videos as others shared their experiences, but most of all from all of the scriptures presented each week in the homework and discussions. Nothing heals like the word of God because His word is living, and it is truth and it touches and restores the deepest parts of our soul. Somehow along the way I was able to let go of all my struggling emotions and questions, and to "Trust in the Lord with all of [my] heart, and lean not on my own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5), the first verse He gave me. This was huge because prior to that I really struggled to even get out of bed I was so beside myself. I not only found healing through this process, but I also met a great group of people who I still keep in contact with, which leads me to my next blessing on this journey.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28), the second promise He gave me. I couldn't imagine at the time, as I mentioned, what good could come from such sorrow. Through my Grief Share experience, I met a woman in the group who felt led to invite me to her Bible study. I hadn't been a part of one in ages, but had been praying for a group just like this for a long time. The answer to this prayer wasn't even a thought in my mind as I was dealing with all of my loss, and I certainly wasn’t feeling social, but there it was right in front of me at that point in time. I decided to join her, and it was the best thing I experienced in my spiritual walk in a very long time. God used my losses to meet this woman who invited me to her study, and it was good. If I hadn’t met her, I wouldn’t have been a part of that group that still meets to this day. I was so thankful and blessed beyond measure by that group, which helped me heal even more emotionally, and draw me closer to the Lord spiritually.
The third promise He gave me was from Isaiah 43:2, "When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown". For a long time that was my life verse as I clung to His promise that I would not drown in my river of sorrow. That was in June when my mother passed away. My birthday is in October, and as I thought about my birthday shortly after my mom passed away, I couldn't bear the thought of having another one without her. I prayed a lot for God to help me get through that day, and when my birthday finally came, I was in the middle of an at-home Bible study (aside from my group in person) and the scripture for the day was Isaiah 43:2, the same scripture He used to promise me that I would not drown. That promise came full circle as I sat there on my birthday, a day I had dreaded and didn't think I would get through without my mom, and realized that there was joy and peace and the ability to endure it. I hadn’t drown! Although I cried as I thought of my mom and how I missed her phone call and her silly little birthday song she would sing to me, I was able to smile and enjoy the day in a way that only God could have provided and in a way I never could have imagined. I sat one day in my prayer time praising Jesus with pure joy for all of the work He was doing in my life.
I learned through my experience, and I pray you will too, that God is good, even when circumstances are very bad. He is in control and His promises are true. Jesus is Faithful and True. Those are His names I experienced, along with Healer, Comforter, Provider, Prince of Peace, the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is with us in every season, and carries us through to the other side of our circumstances. His mercies truly are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), and He makes beauty from our ashes (Isaiah 61:3). He has good plans for our lives, with a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11), and all things truly work together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28). As I walked through my own trials by faith trusting God to carry me through one day at a time, I saw His hand using the worst of life’s circumstances to reveal His love, mercy, comfort, grace, hope and healing in deeper ways than I’ve ever experienced or could have imagined. What really blows my mind is that these times of encouragement and refreshment for our souls, whether through a devotional, other believers or personal time in His word, were God ordained before the foundation of the world, for the very moment God knew we would need them. Whatever you are facing today, cling to the God of hope who will meet you like He met with me, and provide the comfort and endurance you need to go on. In the end, our seasons come and go, but He remains the same. The One who can be fully trusted, who works all things together for our good, and will not allow us to drown in the storm!