Holding onto God's Promises
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:17-19
If living through the unprecedented events of the last year has taught us anything, it’s that despite the challenges of our circumstances all things are possible with God. The season we are living in reminds us that when things go awry, we must lean into the powerful presence of Jesus.
When quarantines began, we were isolated from many of the things we hold dear. Family, work, church, friends, and more were put on hold as millions of people were sidelined by the pandemic. The impact has had far-reaching as most families have grappled with the underlying consequences, whether isolation, loneliness, loss, uncertainty, or more.
Returning to any normalcy level continues to evade us, just as finding the best ‘new’ way of doing things has proven difficult.
I, too, have lived through such a season. It was a time of isolation, dryness, and overwhelm. The isolation was not forced like today, but nevertheless, I felt shut off from those I loved. Emotional overwhelm may have been the culprit, but it was God who helped me navigate through it, learn from it, and emerge a stronger, more courageous woman.
I came to know Jesus at the tender age of 8, and since that time He has been my rock. Despite the lonely times, I continued to trust in His truth and promises.
You see, struggles happen to all of us. We lose focus, get distracted, and find that we are sometimes incapable of understanding when things don’t go as planned. The darkness and discouragement loomed far and wide, but I prayed for light amid the darkness.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
I tried to hide my struggles. I didn’t want to go to work, I had no energy, and I didn’t want to be responsible--for anything.
That is pretty tough to do when you’re a wife, a mom to a young teenage daughter, work a full-time job, and commit to many extra activities. And my poor husband--he just kept asking why and what he could do to help.
The dry, dark period that had invaded my body could be compared to what enveloped the people in Isaiah 59. Just as they experienced dryness and isolation, the overwhelm I felt isolated me from God. I also convinced myself that I was not worthy of His love and forgiveness. It seemed I had a thirst I couldn’t quench, and my dry, cracked lips looked just like the mirror of my heart.
But God knew what I was battling. While I was doing everything I could to hold my ground and withstand Satan’s attacks on me, my faulty thinking and shortcomings were sinking me further and further into depths of despair.
Thankfully God intervened one day through a precious friend and started me on the path to restoration. All along, He had been making preparations to rescue me out of the dry, sun-scorched land and lead me to a place where I could be revitalized and restored.
During our visits, my friend came lovingly with verse upon verse and example upon example of God’s love for me. She shared what happens when we don’t take care of and tend to our hearts and minds. And then she prayed for me, and over me, countless times.
For the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful. Little by little, God was restoring me. My promise was to remain faithful and trust Him more and more each day.
When I look back on this period in my life I believe God used those circumstances to help me minister to others who may be struggling with similar challenges of today.
My experience allows me to convey what it felt like to be immersed in thick, desperate darkness. I can testify that my Redeemer provided a glorious rescue and gave me the nourishment I so needed. His timing helped me to stand tall again and to lean on His unconditional love and promises.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10
I may have been overwhelmed and depleted, but I survived the sun-scorched land both physically and emotionally, and that, sweet sisters, is living proof that God moves in mighty ways.
The angel He sent that day was not an overnight miracle but instead served as a reminder that He was with me every minute. My heart might have been dry to the bone and needed tending, but as only the master Gardener can do, He replenished and restored my soul.
He lovingly made provision for what I needed then, just as He does for each of us now. How blessed we are to receive His redeeming drops of grace and the poignant reminder that all things are possible with God. That is His promise.
“He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3 NIV
Mitzi Neely is the founder and ministry leader of Peacefully Imperfect and is the author of A Thankful Heart: 30 Days to the Grateful Life, Dwell in the Psalms, and JOY for Everyday Life. Her desire when she speaks, sings, creates, or instructs is honesty and transparency, such that God receives glory and honor. You can Follow Mitzi at peacefullyimperfect.net and find her on Facebook and Instagram.