I used to see the valleys of life as a challenge, like a mountain to be conquered. How mature can I be? How much can I endure? How strong is my faith? I used to think that once I finally learned the lesson God was teaching me, once I hit that mark of maturity or holiness, I’d find myself back on my feet again. I used to think it was up to me.
But several months ago, I found myself in a very dark, very empty season of life. And it totally leveled me. Even though I understood what God was teaching me, even though I knew in my heart that His promises are true, even though I knew it wouldn’t last forever, every day was a battle for joy and a fight to keep the faith.
And if you’ve ever found yourself in that place, it feels so defeating. You don’t even feel like yourself anymore. Lies speak louder than truth. Fears seem valid. Insecurities eat up confidence, while shame whispers deceit about how you’re not strong enough, or mature enough, or holy enough. And there’s nothing you can do.
I used to try to fix it, to change myself, or to understand why. But, now, dear friends, I have been humbled. I can’t fix it. I can’t change myself. And sometimes it’s simply impossible for our finite minds to fully understand. Is my own sin part of the problem? Certainly. Is it a spiritual attack by the enemy? For sure. Is it the result of a broken world and broken people? Absolutely.
But…is God still sovereign? You bet.
And that humbles me too. To believe that this great, big God knows exactly what will break me and allows it anyway. To know that with one word, He could change it all. To realize that He’s orchestrating the pages of history and directing the paths of my life…all at the same time. Wow, what do I know?
This school year, things are different again. He’s turning it all around. Failures have been forgotten, hurts have healed, and my joy is restored. He’s given me glimpses of why, and He’s revealing the fruit of faithfulness. But more than that, He’s helping me realize that maybe it’s not so much about me anyway. We are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, and God will use it all to purify us, and speak to us, and change us, but that’s simply a by-product of our obedience as we pursue after Him and His eternal purposes. Our only calling is to trust Him and embrace what He brings.
So, phew. I can relax and just be, no matter the season. I can delight in the sunny days of God’s favor, knowing it’s only by His grace. And I can trust Him when the darkness enfolds again, knowing that He’s working it all out for my good and His glory.
“To love God is to love His will. That which He gives we receive. That which He takes we relinquish.” – Elisabeth Elliot