God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3 NIV
I recently came across an old journal entry of mine that said,
In the midst of chaos and confusion, in the midst of pain and loss, I can say it is well with my soul not because I understand or I feel okay. I can say that it is well with my soul because I still believe my God is good and there is a strength inside me that has overcome the world.
I’m torn between feeling inspired and snickering. See, I read this and deep within me I still believe it… but I also look at my life and ask where to find the proof of that belief. I’ve been tossed by the storms, I’ve given footholds to fear and doubt, I’ve been shaken by the crumbling of my foundations. Does this mean that I don’t believe, that I don’t have enough faith?
I’ve found myself praying something lately that’s new for me,
God, prepare me for the things that You have prepared for me.
The past year and a half has been a season of the Lord strengthening me, getting my heart and life in order, and making me spiritually and mentally healthy. Through that process, I’ve experienced radical ups and downs and more unexpected things than I could have imagined. I’ve come to realize, though, that each unexpected thing, each trial that caught me off guard, each hardship, has taught me deeply valuable lessons and strengthened me to my core. These things were not by happenstance, but God used them to mold me and shape me as a Potter does. And when I was unaware, He was preparing me for them as well.
He’s used these trials and moments of feeling shaken to uproot shame from my life. He has opened my eyes to see that He has good works prepared for me to complete (Eph. 2:10) and each thing that I go through prepares me to better complete those good things. Because I have walked through a deep battle with depression, I am better equipped to walk with others through those same dark places and invite them to live in the Light. Because I dealt with fear, I am better equipped to share the wisdom I’ve gained down the road of fearing less with those who are still afraid to step onto the waters. Because I walked certain roads, I can recognize those who are on the same roads that I once was and invite them to find the same life that I have in Christ, life that is actually abundant and full.
This is what uproots the shame! Each moment that I was shaken, broken and lost, is a moment that opens my heart to compassion for someone who is there now. Each of those moments is a testimony to the grace of God, to the strength of His Spirit in me and with me, and to His faithfulness.
So even still, when the waves rise and the pain tries to take hold, it is well with my soul. Even still, I know that God is good, He always has been and will never fail to be. Even still, I trust that He is using each experience to prepare my heart and mind for the good things He has in store. Today, I pray that you will join me in surrendering to the Lord, allowing Him to use each experience as preparation for all the desires of His heart for you.
Lord, I ask You to prepare me for the things that You have prepared for me. Open my heart to receive Your correction. Open my mind to yield to Your ways. Open my eyes to gain Your divine perspective. I give myself to You to be held in peace. With You, it is well with me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Listen to It Is Well with My Soul.