"Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take."Joshua 1:9 (The Message)
Last week a very dear friend of mine was given some devastating news. Her life is forever changed. The one thing she keeps telling me is this: God has a purpose in this. I don't know what it is, but I trust in Him. As I watch her adjusting her emotional and mental attitudes daily, I am in awe at her strength and perseverance during this time of trial and heartache. She, admittedly, wants to crawl in a hole; but keeps going for the sake of her daughter and for fear of not coming back out.
I have been down into the Hole of Depression many times. Sometimes the light at the top looks like a speck of dust, and sometimes it appears closer, like the sun on a summer's day. And some days -- to borrow from a familiar phrase -- the light feels like it could be an on-coming train! As a Christian, I am told to "pray" about it. Christians are not supposed to feel "bad," they are supposed to be "shiny, happy people." No Lie could be further from the Truth. Christians are not inherently Good People. We are saved by grace, loved with mercy, and forgiven unconditionally.
The verse above was posted on the wall in one of the classrooms my church uses for Sunday school and small-group meetings. I took this version from The Message for two reasons: one, I love that two of the words are partnered with exclamation points ("Strength! Courage!"). He is not only commanding us to have strength and courage but to be strength (!) and courage (!). The second reason I chose this text was for the last line: "GOD, your God, is with you ever step you take." The GOD of all gods, my GOD, is with me every step. When I fall. When I turn the wrong direction. When I get sidetracked with my way instead of His way. When I fail. When I feel as if the world is against me. When I am frustrated and take it out on my family When the sun is shining and all is right with the world -- He is with me.
I pray you take comfort today knowing that no matter how deep or wide the hole is which you want to crawl into, His love is deeper, wider, and more infinite. He is in there with you, holding your hand, wiping your tears, loving you. And while you are occupied with finding a way out, he is molding you into who you are purposed to be.