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By Makenna Nahorniak
I often find myself caught up in waves of confusion and utter frustration when life doesn’t quite make sense to me. When things don’t go as planned and every effort I have made to hold my life together by the strength of my own hands falls through, lies wander into my mind. I find myself replacing the trustworthy promises of God with fear and apprehension.
I walk through dry and lonely desert lands of doubt, yet the promises of the Lord are all the more present in my life. They linger above me like enormous rain clouds filled to the brim with goodness. Recently, the Lord has allowed me to walk through difficult seasons in life in which He is molding and shaping my dreams and plans so that they look more like His. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about walking into the great unknown with the Lord, it’s that remembering His faithfulness to past generations and myself propel me into a state of constantly seeking truth rather than being overwhelmed by doubt.
As Christ followers, we can walk through life assured that the Lord has planned a glorious adventure for us to experience as we press into Him. The last few months have brought me to a place in which I have deliberately asked Him to pull me away from the vision I’ve had for my life and to instead guide me into an adventure so beautiful that only He could design it. There is great pain in letting go of past dreams and hopes, but on the other side of this pain is great joy as we watch the Lord fulfill His promises. One thing is sure in this life; the Lord follows through. He doesn’t change as our circumstances shift, and He surely doesn’t remove Himself from us when the weight of our own sorrows become too much for us to bear. For we serve a God who has experienced every pain we feel to the same degree, and if not, more. He calls us to seek these truths throughout our seasons of doubt and despair and find new springs of hope in His unfailing plans.
The story of Hannah in the beginning of 1 Samuel challenges me to press into God when I feel weighed down by my troubles. We meet Hannah in the first chapter of 1 Samuel, and she is in a state of deep distress. She weeps bitterly and calls upon the Lord because He hasn’t allowed her to have children. She is mocked for her barrenness by those around her, and her heart is completely and utterly downtrodden. She feels broken under the weight of her own pain, but she holds to the truth that the Lord is faithful to walk through the hurt with us— He hoists us up off the ground and out of our sorrows. He asks us to come to His feet when fear sweeps over us like a dark shadow and our souls feel crushed by the trials with which we are confronted.
As Hannah walks through this valley, she finds herself continually praying to the Lord. She says in chapter one, verse 15, “I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.” This chapter documents her deep desire to return to God’s goodness in prayer and worship. She rises early simply to be in His presence— to experience the beauty of His nearness. Perhaps my favorite part of this entire story comes in verse 20 when Scripture declares that “the Lord remembered her.” God gave her a son and later blessed her with six more children. Deeply moved by the Lord’s faithfulness to her even in a season of great weakness, she worships the Lord throughout the next chapter by saying,
“My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.”
Her assurance of the Lord even in the midst of sorrow encourages me to bind myself to Him in the midst of my own doubt and sadness.
Church, let us find deep satisfaction and awe in the steadfastness of the Lord’s purpose. Let us seek His presence when we are confronted with doubt and overwhelmed with anxiety. May we love His plan and trust in Him even when life is foggy and the future is uncertain. For when we feel as though our dreams and hopes are slipping away from us He is creating a mind-blowing adventure. C.S. Lewis wrote, “You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage, but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
Let us fix our eyes not on the ruins that lie around us as we undergo construction, but on the glorious palace He plans to bring to completion in us.