Light In The Darkness

Recently, I’ve been struggling with some health issues, in many aspects. I’ve been struggling with some physical, as well as emotional health issues, which have been weighing on my mental health. It’s interesting how so many things can affect us in ways we don’t expect. Humans are both material and spiritual beings, which means we are affected bodily and spiritually. I’ve really been experiencing that truth lately.

For a little over a week now, I’ve been pretty lightheaded, even dizzy at times, and quite fatigued. For as long as I can remember, I’ve pretty much had stomach issues or feeling somewhat fatigued when I don’t think I should be. However, the lightheadedness and dizziness were much more concerning as I’d never really experienced it, especially for this long of a period of time.

On Friday, I decided it was time to go to the doctor’s office. While I was there, (now mind you I always get nervous at the doctor’s office) my heartbeat and blood pressure spiked extremely high, just sitting there… which concerned the doctors. They’ve ordered some tests to see what is going on, and while at the end of my visit they said they believe, more than anything it’s due to stress, they still want to be sure. To which, I’m thankful for them for their concern… I’m concerned as well!

Now, I don’t normally think about being stressed out… mind you, I’ve been before, but I didn’t think this would be what is going on with me. However, I’ve been working on relaxing and giving things to the Lord much more over the last couples of days. Some of the stressors I’ve really thought about now that could truly be (and are if I’m being honest now) affecting me are: my mentor and his wife moving away from us to Texas which has been very hard for me, work being busy, and on top of those… three close family marriages are either falling apart, have fallen apart, or are struggling tremendously… to which they are confiding in me often and with heavy stuff.

While I’m so thankful that God has made me someone that they can lean on, I need to make sure that I turn those concerns over to the Lord WAY more than I have been. I’ve been taking those burdens upon myself and not really turning them over to the Lord as much as I should be.

Find Encouragement In The Word

With all that being said, as a long introduction and context to this post… I’ve truly been in the Word more than I’ve ever been before. It’s incredible to see and feel how encouraging God’s Word is. I’ve just sat up for hours at night before going to bed late, reading through the Psalms. The Psalms are so encouraging to the troubled heart… they’re prayers to God, written down so that we could pray them back to God. They are prayers and songs about God’s faithfulness, that He has provided for us to pray back to Him to remind us and Him (not that He needs reminding…) about His faithfulness. How wonderful is that?

The Psalms are prayers and songs about God’s faithfulness, written down, so that we can remind ourselves, and Him, of His faithfulness.

I’ve read through at least fifty Psalms in the last couple of days and they have all brought a true, deep encouragement to my soul. They have reminded me that I can and have to trust God. There is still a daily need for me to read Scripture to find strength.

I’ve recently changed my life verse from Galatians 2:20 to Psalm 86:11-13 & Psalm 104:33 which read:

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
Psalm 86:11-13
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
Psalm 104:33

I believe these two verses help encompass my life. I’m required and desire to know God’s way, walk in His truth, fear His name, give Him thanks with my whole heart, glorify Him. While I’m also reminded that his steadfast, never failing, all-powerful love is forever towards me. He’s redeemed my life from eternal suffering in hell. While looking at Psalm 104:33, I’m reminded to take joy in the Lord, to sing and praise Him as long as I’m alive… and looking back at v13 of chapter 86, I’ll have life forevermore because He’s saved me!

Oh, praise the LORD!

Along with the Psalms, I’ve been reading Isaiah 41:13 over and over where Isaiah tells us:

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
Isaiah 41:13

What a sweet encouragement this is to the Lord’s people.

On top of those verses above, I’ve also been reading through James 1 and reflecting upon the first few verses heavily.

James 1:2-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

I look to the Life Application Study Bible that I’ve referenced many times in my previous blog posts for what it says about these verses:

James doesn’t say if you face trials, but whenever you face them. He assumes that we will have trials and that it is possible to profit from them. The point is not to pretend to be happy when we face pain, but to have a positive outlook (“consider it pure joy”) because of what trials can produce in our lives. James tells us to turn our hardships into times of learning. Tough times can teach us perseverance. For other passages dealing with perseverance (also called patience and steadfastness), see Romans 2:7; 5:3–5; 8:24, 25; 2 Corinthians 6:3–7; 2 Peter 1:2–9.

We can’t really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. It is easy to be kind to others when everything is going well, but can we still be kind when others are treating us unfairly? God wants to make us mature and complete, not to keep us from all pain. Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth. Thank God for promising to be with you in rough times. Ask him to help you solve your problems or to give you the strength to endure them. Then be patient. God will not leave you alone with your problems; he will stay close and help you grow.

My dear friends, family, and anyone who is reading this… I pray you are truly encouraged by this post, but more importantly, I pray, I plead with you to open your Bible and pour through its pages. Remeber what is said in Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

To end this long, but I pray hope-filled post… I want to leave you with one of God’s greatest gifts for the uplifting of our souls… music.

A song that has been on complete repeat for me is Over and Over by Chris McClarney, I highly encourage you to listen to it to be reminded of the sweet truths about God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness:

Your mercies are new, over and over
Your mercies are new, over and over
As surely as the morning comes, You’re faithful
I’ll sing of Your love, over and over
I’ll sing of Your love, over and over
I’ll sing with every setting sun, You’re faithful

I also reflect on these lyrics by Phil Wickham in his new song, Living Hope:

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope
Jesus Christ, my living hope
Oh God, You are my living hope

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