I grew up in churches where we were very vocal about our faith. I can’t remember a specific time growing up where I ever questioned God’s existence, I just knew He was real and that I should try my best to live a good life. There were times where I would dig into the word and feel so close to God. And there were most definitely times where I thought, as long as I do the basics of going to church and believe, I was fine.
It wasn’t until my adult life, in a time where it seemed everything was perfect; I had the husband, the kids, good family.. Nothing was of course perfect but it was good. But there was also an emptiness. I really began to seek the Lord on a different level. I wanted more. I wanted the fulfillment that I sensed only God could bring. So I began praying for this. Reading the word more, praying more, praying for specific things like my marriage, my kids, my calling, growing deeper with the Lord.
Boy did He answer. And not in the way I had expected.
Like the cultivation and tilling of soil in preparation for a new crop, He too began digging inside my heart. Plucking from the depths the things that had taken deep root, turning over the hard surfaces of my current and past life to make a way for new growth, healthy growth. A new crop so to speak.
And that was what I believe to have been the start of one of the fiercest spiritual battles I have ever been in. The very thing that I thought was disastrous, was the very thing that saved me. It changed me in every way.
If you haven’t read part one of 𝘼𝙣𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙧𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙃𝙤𝙥𝙚, go read that here.
I was at a place where I had relinquished all hope for my marriage, my life as I knew It, and as a Christian. Everything was gone. I desperately cried out and earnestly sought the Lord, reaching for any tiniest bit of something… Anything to hold on to. Anything at all.
There, in the midst of what was some of my deepest grieving, He sparked something in the depths of my soul. Hope. At the time I didn’t know what that even was, what it looked like, what it meant for my future or my kids future. We had just started homeschooling, I wasn’t working, how on earth was I going to raise 5 kids on my own?! “God what are you doing?”. I asked this so many times. How can we recover from this and not just recover but thrive. How will you make everything new again? How?
But here’s the thing about suffering.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,”Romans 5:3
Okay great, so I’m going through trials that will make me stronger. Okay, I mean that’s great in a way, but haven’t I endured enough through my life already? Aren’t I pretty strong now? Come on, Lord!
But nope, God was going to answer my prayers. He didn’t till the soil of my heart to plant seeds with weak and shallow roots.. He was planting seeds that would produce roots that would rival the 𝙎𝙝𝙚𝙥𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙙’𝙨 𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙚, also known as the 𝘽𝙤𝙨𝙘𝙞𝙖 𝙖𝙡𝙗𝙞𝙩𝙧𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙖, which according to a quick Google search, is native to the Kalahari Desert. It is recorded to have the deepest roots which can reach a depth of 230 feet or more. The name is actually quite comical considering how much the Bible talks about our roots going deep.
And How like God to want to give me those roots. Those roots which must be durable and strong in order to endure, and thrive in the environment at that depth.
Okay so, I’m suffering in order to become stronger; He’s tilling the soil in my heart to prepare the planting of new seeds, new growth, deeper roots in Him, stronger roots. Okay God, so we’re doing this…
Romans 5:4- 5 goes on to say:
“and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”Romans 5:4-5
“Endurance produces character”. The Oxford dictionary describes character as: the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.
He wants to change that in us! To make us more like Jesus’ character, to make us more like God’s character for which He originally intended us to be like.
“and character produces hope.” There it is. That hope.
So He’s allowing all of these trials, all of this tilling and pain, to give me hope. V5 says, “And hope does not put us to shame.”
But why? And how?
In Romans 15:13 it says:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”Romans 15:13
We have to believe.
Here we see the God of Hope filling us with hope, joy and peace. As we trust in Him. Picture if you will a triad V, peace + joy = hope; which is the attitude we need in our hearts when looking towards the future. These things surpass fears and doubts by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in us. We must trust in Him, fully, no matter what, in order to have peace and joy which will bring that hope. That hope that only He can offer.
So…As I was in the midst of pain and suffering, God gave me that spark of hope. A promise to restore all that was destroyed. There were no distinctive guarantees like; you will move here or there. No, it wasn’t like that. What He showed me were the promises woven throughout scripture. Every single promise and prophecy was fulfilled. EVERY SINGLE ONE! He was reminding me of His good, sovereign, faithful character!
The character of God is steadfast! Jesus fulfilled the Messianic promise and His suffering reconciled us to God! His resurrection and our faith in that is what has saved us and it should reassure us of God’s faithfulness in carrying out His promises to us today
He is the God of Hope. A hope that does not disappoint!
So when I began to pray, and literally all hell broke lose, I clung to his promises with hope. Promises of restoration, promises of a future. Promises of beauty from ashes. I didn’t know what that was going to be like for me, but I knew if the God of all the universe, the God who had fulfilled every promise in His word, I knew if He was telling me that He was going to make a way; He would do it.
That very dark and lonely night… He 𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙮 𝙨𝙤𝙪𝙡 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙝𝙤𝙥𝙚.
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”Hebrews 6:19
Tree 📸: Jeremy Bishop ~ Unsplash