Where do I even begin? I don’t even know how to explain what’s happening in me.
This has been such a difficult quarter. I haven’t felt as much emotional turmoil at any other point in my life. I’ve felt utterly overcome by pain, fear, grief, and anguish—just feeling genuinely hopeless. And I don’t feel like that’s an exaggeration. It got more rough the last few days. Last night a friend of mine found me sitting in the parking lot of Locatelli (an activity center on my campus), sitting curled up in a ball, sobbing uncontrollably.
About an hour ago I sent a text to all the interns who worked with me at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church this summer asking them to pray for me because my heart has been feeling so broken. I said that I knew God is good, but I really need Him to intervene. I need His presence. I need His love. I need His mercy. I need His grace. I’ve got nothing without Him. I know that so much now. There’s nothing else that matters.
And I started playing a song by Chris Tomlin:
And I sat there with earphones in, closed my eyes, and just listened. And all of a sudden I felt a rush of the most incredible joy I’ve ever felt. I began to cry and laugh at the same time—here it is: the peace that transcends understanding that is promised to guard my heart and mind in Christ. This is what everyone’s been talking about all these years. All the sermons I’ve heard, all the promises in Scripture, all the things I’ve always heard and told others—this is it! And the weeping and sadness, the knot in my stomach, was expelled by the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit who had chosen to tangibly manifest in my body, which has become His temple. And nothing else mattered.
The Nicene Creed says, “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son…” We believe in a God who is overwhelmingly good, unquestionably mercy, lovingly steadfast, above all things, working all things lovingly for those who know Him. We believe in the Resurrected God, the defeater of death, the vanquisher of suffering, the destroyed of all the devil’s works. We believe in the Creator God, He who made all things by speaking and the power of His word currently sustains all things. Without His active intervention in this world, all things would cease to exist. He alone is self-existent. He alone is uncreated.
And this God—this steadfast, merciful, resurrected Lord—breathes life into His people, shattering the chains of sin, death, and suffering. He calls us out of ourselves and into new life. He’s the Lord, the Giver of life. And He showed Himself to me tonight. He reminded me of all that I know is true, yet so often forget—the pursuits of this world cannot give the life I need, the idols of this world offer empty promises. None but the Lord of life can bring us to life and satisfy our deepest needs. None but the God who gave His life as a sacrifice for you and me can truly bring life out of the death and darkness.
There is no God but Him. There is none like Him. The manmade gods of this world are no gods at all. Only slavery rests in their dominion. He alone has the power to rescue us.
I felt my Savior save me again from myself tonight. And I await the pain to settle in again. He doesn’t promise to keep it at bay. Pain and suffering is the universal experience of all people and all times because of sin. I do not expect Him to protect me from the consequences or hurts that so often comes to us.
But He promises to be Himself for us while we suffer. He gives us of Himself when all else fails.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
My flesh is weak, my heart a deceiver. I cannot sustain myself, but the Lord promises to be the strength of our hearts and to be with us.
And last night when I couldn’t sleep, I just repeated to myself all the truths about God that I know. I meditated on His promises and felt my heart get lighter until I finally fell asleep. I leave you now with what I had to remind myself of. Never forget Who you worship—the Lord, the Giver of life. These things I call to mind and, therefore, I have hope:
“The Lord is my Rock and my Redeemer; He is my sword and my shield; the Lord does not afflict men from His heart; Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life because God is with me; The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me lie down in green pastures; He maintains me for His name’s sake; He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose; His mercies are renewed every morning; His steadfast love never ceases; He brings about all things in accordance with the perfect counsel of His will; He will never leave me nor forsake; The Lord is my comfort; Restore in me, O Lord, the joy of my salvation; I have none but You; All of this life is like grass that withers; You, O Lord, never change…
Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”