“You can never learn that Christ is all you need,
until Christ is all you have.”
Corrie Ten Boom
It was a time when darkness was all that I could see. Certainly friends were there . . . and family too. But depression kept hope at a distance as doubt ruled my perceptions. Certainly I had cried out to God for help, but even then, the darkness continued to prevail.
Then one day, while listlessly sorting through a pile of mostly junk mail, I realized the young man who had just become my son-in-law was standing near me. After clearing his throat, Nathan said something about attending Youth Group when he was in high school. Nathan said he didn’t get a whole lot out of it except for something a special speaker shared that had been helpful to him. The speaker told the group that in the future they would likely face difficult, times–times when they felt as if God had abandoned them.
As Nathan spoke I found myself listening closely, realizing that was exactly how I was feeling. I felt totally alone even though I was surrounded by people who loved me. As he continued Nathan said that there were two things about God the speaker told them to hold to above everything else:
1. That God is Sovereign and
2 That God is Good.
Struck by what Nathan had said, I was not even aware when he stepped away. It was in that moment that I remembered Psalm 139, a place where I had found comfort in the past. David begins the Psalm with,
“O LORD, You have searched me
and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You understand my thoughts from afar.”
I was comforted by the reminder that God knew exactly where I was and what I was feeling. I realized that whatever I experienced in my life was not foreign to Him, that He understood completely . . . .
David continues with:
“Where can I go to escape Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to the heavens, You are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle by the farthest sea,
even there Your hand will guide me;
Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me,
and the light become night around me”—
even the darkness is not dark to You,
but the night shines like the day,
for darkness is as light to You.
(Verses 1-2, 7-12)
It was as I read, “Even the darkness is not dark to You . . . for darkness is as LIGHT to You,” that tears of gratitude welled up in my eyes as I realized that, I had been so focused on myself–my fears mostly-that there had been no room in my heart for God to step in.
As I reflected on the truth of God’s Sovereign Goodness, the light of hope dawned. It was then that I prayed:
Thank You, Lord, for loving me–even in my foolishness.
Thank You, that You are truly Sovereign and
that You are exceedingly Good.
In that moment, as I leaned into the promised strength of God’s Sovereign Goodness, that the light of hope replaced the fear that had overwhelmed me.
As I look back to that moment, I praise God for loving me
through a tough time where I felt stripped of everything but Him.
It was then, when I surrendered my pride, my fear-tinged doubt and my anger–that I experienced new depths of His love and mercy that changed not only how I view Him, but how I look at myself and at others.
Since then, sharing that moment and the timeless wisdom of my son-in-law, has encouraged countless others in the Counseling Room, As a result many a Client has found courage to embrace this truism as they surrender their burdens to Him:
When in doubt give thanks to God,
for His Sovereign Goodness.
Feeling alone or uncertain about the future?
Give thanks to God that He never, ever abandons His people. I love contemplating the promise given in Deuteronomy 31:6:
“The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Feeling overwhelmed when bad things happen?
Give thanks that God’s ultimate plan is for your good and His glory. James is always my “go-to” when difficulty strikes personally or when overwhelmed by the hate-fueled actions of others:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
when you encounter trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith
develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work,
so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” *
Uncertain about making decisions?
Give thanks to God as you prayerfully trust Him to lead the way.*
His goal for you and I is not to provide a cushy life on this crazy earth. God’s goal for you and I is to ultimately hone us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus–as we trust in Him with thanksgiving and in faith..
Struggling with doubt right now as life gets crazy?
Give thanks for His Sovereign Goodness
as He frees you to love others as He has loved you!
All to His Glory!
*Another one of my favorite Corrie Ten Boom quotes: “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” Give thanks for prayer and trust in His perfect timing!