I sat with a friend recently who was walking through a season of disappointment and darkness. "I just don't know how much more I can take," she confided. I winced at her words, relating fully to the pain she was experiencing. Having walked through similar seasons in my past nearly unhinged me.
It was the end of what was supposed to be her forever. Now she found herself trying to survive the pain of the present, and with a heart that felt torn apart and stomped upon. Breakup's are rough, especially when we don't see them coming. It seems all hardships in life are more difficult when we are blindsided by them.
As I prayed for her later that day and reflected on her words, I remembered the words of King David in Psalm 27:13 (21st century KJV),“I would have fainted, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
The words of the Psalm were felt deeply. They were like a treasure I had buried in my heart from seasons past, experiencing my own painful break-ups.
I don't have to dig very far into my memory to recall the deep emotions from those times. Feeling like I could have fainted. Like I was close to losing my mind. When I could have despaired to the point of giving up. Would have laid down in my grief and not gotten back up. Might have waved the white flag of surrender to the enemy of my soul and said, “Okay, you win.”
In those times, I found myself at a turning point, just like there is a turning point in Psalm 27. It’s that climactic part where the reader is on the edge of their seat. The storyline has reached a pivotal point where something has to break, or the main character will be the one who breaks.
“I would have fainted unless…” Who knew a six letter word, unless, would turn everything around? That is, "unless" I had believed I would see goodness again.
That’s the most despairing part of the difficult seasons I have walked through. You see, goodness seemed so far away in those times. The emotions and feelings were so heavy and confusing. I have often felt unsure that I would ever see and experience goodness of any kind, again.
It’s not uncommon for scripture to be quoted out of context, and this verse is one of them. We are told something in the verse following on which it is important to focus.
We are instructed to wait, and to be of good courage. "I would have fainted, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!" (Psalm 27:13-14, 21st Century KJV)
Experiences in my life have taught me that waiting on the Lord is important. It doesn't mean I have to be on the other side of the difficult season in order to have hope. On the contrary, Proverbs 13:12 (NIV) reminds me, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick".
These are powerful words. When hope feels like it may never return again, the body feels drained of life, and becomes physically ill. I don't wish to dwell in this place for any period of time. Yet, I do find myself stuck here occasionally.
This time is often followed by a season of healing. A time where God's future plan for me unfolds, but I have to wait for God's timing. It is critical that I grasp hold of the promise that I will see goodness again in this life.
Because of God's great goodness and care for me, I can believe God has my best interest in mind. I can rest in the promise of God's amazing goodness.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
Waiting is hard. It is the thing I least desire to do when my heart is hurting. I have learned that to surrender to the waiting means that I say to God, “I trust you. I trust the process of what you’re doing in my life, even when I don't understand.”
When I don't see things happening in the way I envision them, it doesn’t mean that God isn’t working on my behalf. In fact, often times the work involves other people and pieces of the puzzle that I am not aware of in the present moment.
Even in the midst of pain, I can lay hold of Gods' hope because my story is still being written by the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
Even when the Israelites were in exile, God was looking out for them. This is a message for people of all faiths: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
I thank you Father that even when life suddenly changes, you never change and remain faithful to your promises. When I walk through the valleys of life, remind me that you still have goodness in store for me. Help me to remind others of that, and to be a light in their darkness. Amen.
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