There’s a star-studded sky out my living room window, evidence of the day winding down. I shuffle to my kettle and pour water into my cup, let the tea leaves soak, then curl down into my chair and slow my mind, breathe. A blessed reprieve in the middle of unrelenting physical and mental health struggles. COVID-19 left me wrecked in the wake of my husband winding up in the hospital multiple times, as well as my own long recovery that I never dreamed would last well over half a year.
These months have stretched long with crippling anxiety and sleepless nights. My mind has howled and body begged for rest, every day has been an uphill climb to get through.
Surrounding myself with a community of women I knew who would be praying for me, I have been gearing up to get through each endless night, and wake to a gray morning on what little sleep I could get. I’ve been running on fumes for what seems like forever.
If you’re anything like me, you may be looking around in bewilderment, searching for light and an answer. You might be desperate and wondering if God is here, in this hurt, in this heartache. Though it may feel like you are going it alone, I promise you that our ever-loving Father has never once left.
In the caverns of our confusion, when we’re neck-deep in the what-ifs of life, we can still journey on and adjust our eyes to spot God’s hand, His heart.
What is here for us, in these underside moments where life flips upside down and our greatest fears and vulnerabilities sit exposed? What do we do in the suffering, when things make no sense and we’re struggling to see straight out in front of our own face? How do we hold to His promises when our grasp feels weak?
We trust that He who holds the stars in place has a hold of us — and we look around and find the treasures hidden in the dark.
I will give you the treasures of darkness
and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
Isaiah 45:3 (ESV)
God is growing us in the midst of upheaval. He is at work in the dark, pruning and polishing and watering our parched places. Where we cannot see, God is still there. When our eyes fail, we tune our ears to hear His voice — our God who comes close and calls us by our name.
The months still drag by without much improvement. The exhaustion, the fight for my thoughts, the blur of brain fog are all part of my daily life, but there has been change, which I can hold up as hope. God is in the business of restoration, of carefully taking each piece of our heart, mind, body, and soul and shaping them into how they need to be. He is in the business of filing and painting and rewiring to put us back together, similar to our original state, but with deeper knowledge, softer hearts. We are His artisanship, the wonder of His work, and He will not rush His design until He gets it exactly right.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
In this in-between, in the wait for restoration, I turn my inward worry to an outward outlook.
I pick up a card and pen words of encouragement to a friend, place a stamp on the envelope and slide it into the mailbox. I look into the eyes of the girl scanning my groceries and tell her that I like her glasses. I make space for my husband on the couch and let him rest his head on my shoulders after he gets home in the evening after a long day at work.
In the waiting, I grow, glean treasures in the here and now, join God on the move.
Friend, here is where you grow, too. Where you pocket the gems that you have gleaned in the dark and keep them as reminders of the God who is with you, restoring and strengthening you even now. What view is outside your window this evening? Can you see a darkened sky? Have your eyes adjusted to the jewels of stars that bring out its beauty?
Tilt your head, just so — you’ll see His presence hidden in the dark.Leave a Comment
That passage from 1 Peter was so perfect for me this morning. God is restoring me. Thank you for these words.
Rachel Marie Kang says
Sarah, these words are beautiful and true. Thank you for sharing them with (in)courage. Wishing you so much grace for any dark days ahead. . .
Oh I needed that SO MUCH! Please keep Linda, Jimmy, and AmaTHa in your prayers!
Diana Willis says
What I want to hear Thanks.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Sarah love this message. Brilliant. It does remind us that we can look all around us know God is all around us every where we go. We find his treasures every where in the beauty of his beautiful world. Like in all the beautiful things we see with our eyes. Like the beautiful colours of the flowers that grow everywhere we look. Plus the beauty in the trees and their leaves and the sun during the day when it shines. Then at night the beautiful stars and the beautiful moon when we look up at the sky. God is there in the all. As he created them all for us to enjoy as he created. We have God to thank for that. Love this message Sarah. Thank you for it. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx