Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Life

I look outside and see a bundle of crocus flowers bursting through my muddy and winter-worn garden bed.  They are stark white against the dreary darkness of soggy leaves, weathered soil, and lifeless dirt.  I marvel at the sight of something so unexpected: a burst of life from death.  A burst of new hope from beat down dust.  A burst of joy from hardened earth.

For 7 years I have been through the wringer with a struggle and trial that I never expected to face.  Insomnia, fear of the night, endless sleepless nights and sleeping pill addiction that I could never seem to shake.  I have shed more tears than you can imagine.  I have prayed and begged God to remove my sufferings, to help me endure, to get me through another long night of darkness and loneliness and frustration.

Let me tell you about this God that I have been crying out to.

In the midst of my hardest nights, in the lowest parts of my valleys, He has given me courage.  He has given me strength when I literally had nothing left.  He has given me hope that He will be enough for me.  Through the promises He gives in the Bible He has given me faith to endure.  His word has been what I have clung to until the tips of my fingers have been rubbed raw.  His promises have reminded me that He is with me, that He is for me, that He is good even when everything else feels hard and difficult.  His promises have assured me that He has allowed this trial to develop my character, to change the way I care for people who suffer too, to show me that He is enough for me. Not once did He leave me.  Not for a moment was He not faithful.

I never expected to see the end of this trial, really.  I never expected to be free from it.  I believed that God was going to be able to sustain me and came to know beyond a shadow of doubt that He would never leave me to face the nights alone.  

But then, like the flowers bursting through the dirt, God has not only provided all I have needed in the darkest of nights, but has now been beautifully, unexpectedly, miraculously, freeing me from the chains of this crippling anxiety and addiction.

I have slept now for 5 nights, sleeping pill free.  I have slept in peace.  God is so able to deliver us from all of our bondage.  He is so able to give us the strength to face whatever trials we are facing.  God is with us, He is for us, and for those of you who have not met God, let me tell you this:

Nothing in this world will equip you to deal with suffering like a relationship with God.  

The culture will tell you that this life is all about personal fulfillment and happiness.  This culture will tell you to avoid and run from difficulty.  This culture will tell you that it's up to you to dig yourself out of your sufferings with positive thinking and hard work. But it's not true.
The Christian faith doesn't deny suffering or embrace it.  The Bible teaches us to expect hardship and suffering.  But it also gives us a hope beyond any trial we will face.  It gives us a hope that anchors us in the greatest storms of our lives.  You are not alone and beauty can be made from the ashes of your broken life.  This is by far my favourite thing about God: that He can take any difficulty in this life and not only rescue us from it, but make it into something beautiful.  He can take what is ugly and hard, devastating and broken, the completely dead things, and bring new life.

No one else can bring life from death.  Only Him

Maybe you are sitting there discouraged, and can't imagine ever having victory over your trial.  Maybe you cannot find the strength to endure another day.  He alone is able to give you the wisdom and hope you need to get through.  In Him alone is the victory whether your trial ever ends immediately or not.

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