I was skimming through some old journals tonight and ran across an entry from 2008 that caught my attention. Even though it was from six years ago, it could just as easily have been last week. Here's an excerpt:
"For the last several months, I have been in a battle spiritually. I found myself in a hot, dry valley, and I was doggedly trudging around the same mountain....hey, didn’t I pass this way before? Ever been there? Ever found yourself trying to conquer something that you thought you had already beaten, only to find that you took a wrong turn somewhere, and now you are back there again? And there it is, staring you in the face. All the signs are there....the same fork in the road....same old barn on the right....same landmarks......yep, I recognize the scenery all right. Hmmm....I think I’m lost. I guess I’d better ask for directions.
That is where I discovered I was this morning. I had utterly exhausted my own ways and resources. I was completely spent when I went before the Lord this morning. There was simply nothing left of me or my ways. My logic and reasoning had brought me to a familiar place. I had to admit that I had been going in circles."
Wow! That could have been yesterday! For a minute I was discouraged, and I felt like maybe I'll never learn. Maybe I'll keep trudging around this mountain endlessly. But wait a minute; I have learned something in the past six years since I wrote this, and it brings me hope.
For one, I'm not depressed anymore. I get down sometimes just like anyone else does, but it doesn't last. I am able to get up with God's help and go on.
Another improvement is my relationship with my best friend, Jesus. I depend on Him for everything. I ask His help in every step. I openly admit to Him I could not take another step without Him.
He rushes to my rescue daily. DAILY.
This revelation of who He is to me and how valuable He is to me came to me at a high price, through times of deep suffering over the years. With each new heartbreak, I honestly thought I would die, my heart was so broken; my spirit so crushed.
But no. I didn't die. And as strange as it may sound, I am actually thankful for the times when I had a broken heart and crushed spirit. Without the pain I would have never sought out a deeper relationship with my Savior. I would have never been free of the bondage that had me bound then, but that I have been set free from forever.
So in many ways, there is power in the pain; it leads us to Jesus.
Towards the end of the book of Job, after he and his friends have had so much to say about the whys and wherefores of why he was in the mess he was in, God steps in and has His say. He spoke to Job out of the "eye of a violent storm" as it so eloquently declares in the Message translation of the Bible. Sometimes, in the very middle of what we are going through, God will speak to us. Maybe that is the only time He can get us still and quiet enough to hear His voice!
God said to Job, toward the end of the book:
"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
"Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, ’This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!’"
During the dark times, I have I found myself telling the Lord, as Job finally did, "I have said too much already, God. I need to hear from YOU." He is always faithful, and He does speak to me.
I have heard Him say, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 NASB
Who am I to question God? Even in the way it is worded declares emphatically His intent: surely. He uses that twice to emphasize His meaning. Without a doubt, He most certainly will help me, and He most certainly will help you, too.
He is reaching down with His righteous right hand even now. Reach back to Him and praise Him. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!