“I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for His help. You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray!” –Psalm 77:1-4
Well, that’s a joyful way to start a blog post.
When I read this passage this morning, I realized that someone else understood how I have been feeling. There are some seasons of life that are very difficult to walk through. I am journeying through a season of revelation right now, and although that may seem like a dream season for someone who has not heard from God in a while, it sometimes comes with a level of suffering as well.
I haven’t hardly slept in over a week. I haven’t eaten much in just as long; I have hardly had an appetite. I just feel like my soul is in utter torment, to the point where I feel physical pain. I go before God, and I have no words to express what is happening in my spirit. I shouldn’t feel like this, right? I should have peace, like Jesus had as He slept in the boat as the storm raged on. I should have confidence, like Paul did in the face of so much adversity. Yet, day after day, I feel conquered by fear.
In the middle of the night, after not being able to sleep for a while, I got up to pray. It seemed like all I could do was weep and wail in His presence. I said, “God, what is wrong? What is going on inside of me?” I honestly thought that I was distressed about a certain thing, but God quickly showed me that what has kept me awake at night was not what I thought it was. I have been afraid of my future and terrified of my calling. I have felt so alone and abandoned, and I know with all my heart how desperately I need Him with me to do what He has asked me to do. It’s all so far out of my level of ability, it’s not even funny. I said to Him, “I can’t do this if You don’t go with me. If You aren’t close beside me, I’m absolutely toast.” Then I read Psalm 55:22. “Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
As my heart turned to liquid on my face, I said to Him, “I want Your will more than anything. I want Your love more than anything. I will follow You.”
The song Oceans came on my computer, and the words broke me: “You call me out upon the waters; the great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find You in the mystery, in oceans deep my faith will stand. Your grace abounds in deepest waters; Your sovereign hand will be my guide. Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.”
Psalm 56:8-13 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book. My enemies will retreat when I call to You for help. This I know: GOD IS ON MY SIDE! I praise God for what He has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? I will fulfill my vows to You, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for Your help. For You have rescued me from death; You have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in Your presence, O God, in Your life-giving light.”
I realized that in some seasons, it is not enough to give Him my fear once or twice. Sometimes it must be a constant trade. Psalm 55:17 says, “Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice.” He loves me in my weakness and He holds me in my anguish. It is only when I truly run to Him, not hiding behind the declaration of faith…that I find peace. I can come to Him with my fear; I am desperate for His help. God, if You don’t come with me…I can’t. do. it.
“So I will call upon Your name, and keep my eyes above the waves. When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace for I am Yours and You are mine.”
My soul will rest.
“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10a)