The greatest of storms begins with the formation of a single cloud. It can be something small, like a simple painting, to trigger the winds of sorrow and roll in a tide of grief from the loss of a loved one. It happened years ago, yet it can still feel like it was only yesterday the wound was carved in your heart. You grieve not only the loss again but all the person has missed since they’ve been gone. Grief is sneaky and disguises itself well. It could be a relationship where you have invested time and a huge part of yourself; only to have all of it traded in for a moment of weakness from someone you trusted your heart to. Suddenly, you find yourself having to teach yourself to start over a billion times again. Maybe it’s having to begin every single day trudging through the fog of a very heavy weight of anxiety and depression to get out of bed and make it to the shower because it’s a battle to make every engagement you have scheduled EVERY DAY. You try to remain but you’re human and fall short. There are days that you forget and you break.
If any of those are you today, friend, I’d like to put my arms around you and cry with you. I don’t know the storm you’re walking through, but I’d like to tell you that you matter and please, please don’t give up. There is hope and a place to put it.
I write from the silver lining part of aforementioned cloud after attending my local church on a chilly December morning. God spoke to me and gave me a Word that I was desperately seeking to share with you right now. Psalm 42.
“Subject. It is the cry of a man far removed from the outward ordinances and worship of God, sighing for the long loved house of his God; and at the same time it is the voice of a spiritual believer, under depressions, longing for the renewal of the divine presence, struggling with doubts and fears, but yet holding his ground by faith in the living God. Most of the Lord’s family have sailed on the sea which is here so graphically described. It is probable that David’s flight from Absalom may have been the occasion for composing this Maschil.” https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/treasury-of-david/psalms-42-1.html
“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
Psalms 42:1-11 ESV
Awesome. So what does that mean… to put your hope in God? What’s it look like on a daily basis grinding against depression and still find joy in the loss and the fact everyone has moved on except you? How do we live it out? Sometimes I wish there were formulas like coupons or something. This formula keeps your eyes on Christ. This routine will keep you safe in life. Boy wouldn’t that be an easy ticket to sell? #legalismforsale
But relationships aren’t like that. Religions are. But not relationships.
My hope in God is a personal thing. Our individual relationships with Jesus are all so different and that amazes me and fills me with joy to know He is personal. He longs to know us and for us to long to know Him.
“Some people think hope is an emotion. “I’m feeling hopeful,” they say, but true hope is a discipline, a determination to believe in God’s reality and power, even when the world seems to be crashing down around you. That is the genius and the power of hope. It flies in the face of calamity, saying, “The world can do its worst to me. But still I will hope. Still I will know that this is the day the Lord has made, and He will take care of me.”
The key to surviving any challenge or crisis is hope. Hope that Jesus loves you. Hope that He is, right now, working out a solution for you. Hope that the future you place in His hands will be better than the present you hold in your own. “’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).”
Choosing hope can be as simple as googling “Bible verse about (insert problem/storm/condition here and press enter.)” That is what I have to do. I’m trying to memorize them so I have them in my mind and heart always ready to reveal the enemy’s lies with truth. Until that time, I will choose to believe His Word is true and what He says about me should be the most important thing to me. Then, I ask for wisdom in the area to see what He’s needing me to move, change, let go or work through. Choosing hope could mean Jesus promises He will never leave me or forsake me and that alone being the comfort to combat loneliness and negativity over my situations. I choose to believe what is true to me and my choice is to believe the Bible is true and should be the basis for my relationship with Jesus. Those are just some of my personal experiences that may be helpful in some small way. I hoped they might encourage you or give you some kind of small comfort today. You’re loved and seen by God.
Making it my motto.