And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8 (KJV)
The news cycles are disheartening. There seems to be no clear end in sight as to when the world, when we, might return to our normal routines of eating out, going to church, attending sporting events and gathering as a community. But take heart and do not believe you are the only one to ever feel this way. There are several examples of people in the Bible experiencing real life fears which in turn causes their hope and faith to falter.
In Judges 6, the Israelites were worn out from the continual destruction from their enemies. So fearful in fact that they hid out in caves. In their distress they called out to God. Gideon was sent an angel from God to assure him that God was with him (Judges 6:12). But this was not enough for him. Gideon cried out to God saying,
Pardon me Lord, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Judges 6:13 (KJV)
Does that question sound familiar? And although Gideon was victorious in his battle, we can see that he struggled to have hope over his feelings.
In Matthew 14, Jesus instructs His disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side. Acting on His words, they made it to the middle of the lake before a great storm arose. The disciples were frightened and faltered in their hope through their fear and insecurity.
So what I glean from these and other stories is that you can believe in God and still struggle in your faith. Trials and struggles do not mean God is not near or your faith is gone. God has a purpose for every storm. The storm is often where God reveals Himself most clearly and where we learn valuable lessons regarding God's faithfulness to us. What we learn from our trials depends on where we place our hope. Are we only hoping that the storm will go away or will we hope in the only One who can calm the storm?
Jesus is with us and He will see us through. He promises never to leave us or forsake us.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
God knows us so well. He knows and sees our hearts. He has compassion on us. And we can absolutely know that even when we are small in our faith, or lean toward despair, God still loves us.
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul; therefore I will hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. Lamentations 3:20-25 (KJV)
In hope, listen for His voice, look for Him. Our hope is an anchor in the storm.
Dear Father God, thank You for Your control of the universe. But also thank You that You know my name and my heart. Lord, I so appreciate that You don’t fall apart when I do. That You allow me to wonder and question Your ways, and all during my wanderings Your love stays constant. You are so patient and kind and I thank You for loving me through it all. When I finally return to the realization that You are all I need, You embrace my faith and my heart. I am so grateful! Thank You, Jesus. Amen