There is strength within the sorrow
There is beauty in our tears
And You meet us in our mourning
With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting
You’re sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You’re teaching us to trust
Michael J. Smith – Sovereign Over Us
Every time I play this song, it evokes an emotion in me that is difficult to contain.
I think back to the many times I wailed with gut wrenching loneliness, wondering if God would ever bring me a companion to share the rest of my life on earth with.
It seemed I was always anticipating… looking around every corner… will it be today? Will He bring me my knight in shining armor now? Then my hopes would be dashed and I would fall into a depression. For a happy-go-lucky person like me, that was an anomaly to behold.
So many times in my aloneness, I would mourn the destruction of my life because of my detour into deception. Finding it difficult to forgive myself, waves of grief would wash over me. Fear of the future would overtake me with “what if’s” bombarding my heart and mind.
At my lowest moment, He would whisper to my heart. Be still and know that I AM God. His love really did cast out the fear that overwhelmed me.
Funny how hindsight is 20/20. Being in the middle of the pain and agony made it so difficult to see God at work. Yet, now as I look back, I can see how He really was working in my waiting, and sanctifying me.
I could not for the life of me understand what He was doing… but the smoldering wick in my heart would not be snuffed out. It continued to be fanned into flame as He comforted me and let me know His greatest desire was for me to just be…with Him.
And it is true. In all of it, He was teaching me to trust. Showing me all the ways He had been faithful, even when I could not see it at the time.
As I spent New Year’s Eve 2013 repenting and accepting the possibility of His will being for me to stay single and wholly devoted to the Lord in body and spirit (1 Corinthians 7:34), the act of obedience and surrender seemed to be a final step of trusting in Him.
From that moment on, my life swirled into a blessed whirlwind of redemption and restoration. Here I am, just 16 ½ months from that fateful New Year’s Eve filled with repentance and what He has done in my life is nothing short of miraculous.
But I have to look to the future without rose colored glasses. The truth is it won’t always be this way.
I know full well that life is not always fair. Other people make bad choices and we pay the price for it. We cannot deny that bad things happen to good people. Sometimes it’s consequences of wrong decisions, and other times it is the result of living in a fallen world. I know that the future is sure to hold struggles and other losses and disappointments that will require me to recall the faithfulness of God to keep my perspective right in the midst of pain.
You may be struggling with loneliness, yet He may not have a knight in shining armor for you. He may, in fact, desire for you to glorify His name while remaining single. I don’t know what His will is for your future. But I certainly don’t want to communicate my experience as the way God always does things. I pray that my life of tragic destruction and His work of restoration will encourage you and give you hope, but I also pray that it does not set you up with false expectations.
My prayer is that you will run to God and His Word and fill yourself full of Him, so you’re ready for whatever may come your way. Oh Lord, keep teaching us to trust You!
I’m reminded of an illustration Kay Arthur made at the Christian Women in Media national convention that struck my heart and spurred me onto a new thirst for His Word.
She painted the word picture, if you’re walking along with a glass of water and someone bumps into you, whatever is in the glass will slosh out, maybe even onto them. So what do we do when life bumps into us? What overflows out of our heart? Fear? Anger? Bitterness? Or are we so full of the Word of God that His Truth sloshes out?
That is so what I want to be in my life. No matter what comes my way, may I be a dispenser of His glory, His Truth, His love… even in the midst of struggles and pain.
Oh yes. Full to overflowing!