Have you ever felt abandoned by God? I’m sure when we face dark days, some of these laments could be on our lips as well. It seems when we get caught up in our own negativity, it’s difficult to see any light breaking through. The year 2020 has been particularly hard on many of us. Looking back, I feel like my faith journey was at an all time high. For me, it was easier to cling to God rather than to run from him or think he had left me behind.
It’s good for us to remember that Jesus suffered for us as well. Is that what Isaiah meant here? “In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.” When we can focus on Jesus’ victory, it makes our struggle and suffering seem slight. Doesn’t it?
It does us good to catch ourselves when we find ourselves spiraling into negativity. We simply need to cling to verse 7. “I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love. I will praise the Lord for all he has done.” It’s hard to stay blue when our hearts are grateful. Our moods will improve when we think outside of ourselves and focus on all the good things God has done. When we dig deep inside and stir up praise for God amidst our storms, it’s powerful.
The lyrics of the song “Praise You in the Storm” by Casting Crowns is so fitting here. Listen here. God is always there. We can count on that. The words of Psalm 56:8 are also powerful reminders of how near we are to God’s presence. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Isn’t that a cool image of what God does with our tears?
God doesn’t waste a hurt. That’s one of those things we used to say in our Recovery Ministry. Hurts will come. Sit back and watch how God can turn them into something beautiful. As followers of Christ we are not promised a problem free life. In fact, we may encounter difficulties others won’t. What sets us apart is that God is actively working in our lives and hearts. He never leaves us alone. Even if we find ourselves asking, “Where is the passion and the might you used to show on our behalf?” God is always there.
How are you going to respond today? Isaiah was clear in his lamenting. “Lord, why have you allowed us to turn from your path? Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you?” Are you feeling more in line with Isaiah, or are you ready to praise God in the storm?
Let’s pray … Thank you for never leaving my side. I lift my hands to you in praise for how you are sustaining me each day. Times are hard, but you remain faithful. It feels so good to know that I am not alone. Make yourself known to me and show me the path you want for me today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.