Life is hard right now. I am endlessly frustrated with being so exhausted all the time. Some weeks I am just done with life. Done with pushing through, done with covering over the fatigue with a smile, done with being told how well I’m doing when I feel like I’m falling apart at the seams. I am treading water at the moment, struggling to keep my head above the waves, forcing myself to keep going. I really want to be able to start swimming again, but sometimes it feels more like slowly drowning.
The future looks fairly uncertain right now. And I don’t know where I go from here. It might be that the breakthrough I’m hoping for is just around the corner, or it could be that this will be a long road. When you get given a diagnosis it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. No one tells you the right way to feel, the right thing to try, the right words to describe it to others. They don’t give you advice on how to cope with the crippling guilt for the people you let down or the hurdles you fall at. They don’t teach you how to be kind to yourself when your best is so far from being good enough. I don’t know what God wants me to do or what path he wants me to go down next.
And yet I have been through my fair share of dark patches in my life so far. I know how easy it can be, when the lights grow dim around you, to forget all you knew to be true in the sunshine. But if I have learnt anything from the rockier paths, it’s that there are some things that remain true regardless of the places you find yourself in. There are some words whose truth isn’t lost at the first hint of trouble.
God is good. Sure, it is much easier to shout of the goodness of God when all is well in the world and life is as it should be. We find it much easier to trust him when his goodness is seemingly reflected in our happy circumstances. But God can be good and still allow suffering into our lives. He is not concerned with our material wealth or even our momentary happiness, but our eternal future and spiritual health. If we declare God as good with shouts of ‘Oh Happy Day’ when we think of Him allowing Jesus to die on the cross, then we can’t abandon the claim the first time hardship hits our own life. We don’t know the greater purpose, we may never know.
I am known and loved by God. This is the one I have struggled with the most over the years. It is easy to allow my own low self esteem to spill into how I think God views me. But God created me, He knit me together, unique with my gifts and talents. He knows my flaws far better than I ever will, and yet He still loves me. I am loved not for what I have done or will do, but because I am His daughter. And that is an inheritance that sickness and suffering cannot take away.
God is in complete control. The sovereignty of God is a doctrine that appears to have become unpopular in modern Christianity. We are comfortable with saying God is in complete control of all the good things in our lives, every gift and blessing. But it is much harder to admit that God is in complete control of every suffering and hardship that enters our life. We see clearly in the book of Job that even the enemy cannot mess with our lives without God’s permission. God is in control of my illness. He could take it away in a blink of an eye and maybe tomorrow He will. But for now I have to trust that my life is in His control and His plans will prevail.
God is faithful. I am blessed that I can look back and see how God has already brought me through difficult days. I get to be a living breathing advertisement that God is in the business of redemption. He hasn’t stopped being faithful just because life has become painful. God’s faithfulness is innate within His character. He can’t be unfaithful to us. Our view of Him may have become clouded by our circumstances but we mustn’t for a moment think that means He has changed.
I’ll be honest these words don’t feel true right now. My heart wants to scream and shout at God and plead for change. I want to rage and storm or throw myself on the floor and give up. But I in my head I know these words are still true. My heart may betray me, it may tell me to despair and abandon hope, because God has forgotten me. But my head knows otherwise.
We put a lot of emphasis in churches on our hearts. We chase the emotional connection with God, we seek joy and peace, we long to feel connected and close to him. And these things are good to want. But there will be times in our lives when we feel none of these things. The emotional connection won’t come, life or illness will throw barriers to our peace and our joy. We will feel far from God and utterly abandoned. If we trust in our hearts alone then we will be lost.
It is then more than ever that we have to know these truths haven’t changed. We need these words to whisper as the darkness closes in around us. We need these words to end our psalms with, when we are out of tears, when we have cried out to God and still have no answer. We need to cling to them when the world tells us our faith is foolishness, that there is no God. Without these truths our faith is just feelings, as fickle and temporary as the wind. We will not weather the storms. Our emotions never have, or ever will be, a good judge of truth.
I feel many things right now. And sometimes these feelings weigh on me heavily like they will push me under. But the truth hasn’t changed. I have an anchor that I will cling to with all my might. It doesn’t make the pain any less but it lifts my eyes a little higher. It gives me the perspective I need to keep going. The night may be dark but the dawn will come. It always does.