"I am certain that I will see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord." --Psalm 27:13-14, emphasis added
It's funny how you can read a verse or a message so many times and then suddenly it takes on a whole new meaning. I had some tough decisions to make this week, and the moment I reread Psalm 27 I felt the anxiousness melt out of me.
But the thing about anxiousness and depression and every other ugly thing is that they like are hard to get rid of. Like parasites, they thrive off of the energy of the host, leaving us feeling drained and unable to fight.
So, while I found comfort in these words last Wednesday morning, I've had to continually read them over and over and over again ever since. No matter how much you believe in something in the moment, you must continue to dwell and meditate over it until it comes as easily as breathing.
I've been reminded that we are at war. There is a battle going on for our hearts and minds. The good news is that God has already claimed victory on our behalf when He sent His Son to die on the cross. But even so, we are told to stand firm against the enemy (Ephesians 6:13).
That's hard work, y'all. And the moment we decide that it will be easy is the moment that we succumb to the schemes of the enemy and find ourselves in a deep pit. That's not to say that God doesn't allow us to slip into it so that we may come out stronger, but it does mean that we must constantly be on our guard.
For me, the enemy has always been anxiety. Since high school (maybe even before that), I've played victim to the thoughts swirling around in my head, sending me into a spiral of self-pity and self-condemnation.
While in Uganda I found freedom and rest and joy, all of the things that God promises in His Word. And while there are moments where I struggle, I know that I am fighting with the strength that God put in me.
About a month ago I was sitting with the Lord, and He gave me (I don't want to call it a vision because that's over-spiritualized) a very vivid mental image of what I am feeling.
At first I saw this massive boulder, very round, at the top of a mountain overlooking all of creation. I am firmly planted on it, arms open wide, palms facing up. My eyes are closed, chin lifted to the sky. There is a look of such pure love and peace that I wish I could bottle it up.
But then, a massive gust of wind comes out of nowhere and unsteadies me. I slip off the top of the boulder and catch myself on the edge. I'm doing one of those numbers where my toes are digging into the rock, my knuckles standing out white against the deep gray color of the rock. I'm gritting my teeth, trying to hang on.
I glance down and see that the ground is not too far away, and if I were to drop it would not be a far fall. I could let go if I wanted to. But if I fall, I know I will end up with fistfuls of dirt, of earth, which will stain my hands and make them unclean. I'd much rather hang on to this rock, and so I do.
I feel like the imagery here is pretty obvious. In Uganda, God freed up my hands of all the lies I believed--lies about Him, lies about myself, lies about His people. He wanted to free my hands up, to empty them so that I would be able to grab on to something when I fell.
The big round boulder, the rock, is Jesus. He never moved or shifted; it wasn't an earthquake that knocked me off balance. No, it was the wind. I know that the wind signifies my own thoughts, my questions and doubts that just love to creep in. What causes people who lack so much to have so much joy? Why are others constantly complaining about things that don't matter? What is my purpose here in Tennessee? Why am I so unsettled? Where do I fit in? Am I supposed to go back to Uganda? Am I supposed to stay here? Question after question after question has popped into my mind, making my feet slip.
I'm looking around in a panic, just waiting for someone to come and hold my arms up. Right at the moment when my hands are all sweaty and I think I have only seconds left, God comes and renews my strength. Like manna, fresh every morning, He gives me the exact portion I need to hang on, to endure, to slowly by slowly climb back up the boulder.
That girl who stood so confidently on the rock, sure not of herself but of the Rock she stood upon, is still there. Now that I know she exists, I am going to get her back. But I am going to have to fight for her.
So, I am indeed certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will see God's goodness here. I will wait for Him to come. I will be strong and courageous while I wait. And when He shows up, I will say with joy, "I knew that you would come."