“I would sooner walk in the dark and hold hard to a promise of God, than to trust in the light of the brightest day that ever dawned.” Charles Spurgeon
I just recently recovered from Covid - let me restate that: I SLOWLY recovered from Covid. It was a long and darkened road, often filled with unfamiliar feelings that I am not used to. Normally, I am the glass is half-full and a get 'er done type of person. I usually hit the daily ground ready to rock and roll throughout my day and look on the bright side of things.
However, during this long stretch of being ill, instead of being my usual chipper, competent, and polished self, I felt like a rusted-out bicycle with both tires worn bald and deflated and the once polished and glittery paint peeled off. All I felt good enough for was the garbage dump: Totally useless and very unpretty to say the least.
In the early days of the sickness, I stayed tethered to my hope that has always gotten me through tough things; my unwavering belief that my God hears me and that He loves me. No doubt about it. He is faithful. Each night, I would pray: "Lord please give me your strength and full healing and make tomorrow better than today".
Then, I would wake up feeling exactly the same - weak beyond description and totally disappointed. As this cycle went on and on, day after day I was tempted to believe the most destructive of lies whispered into my spirit by the enemy like; "You fool! God doesn't care about you. Don't you think He could have cured you already if He did?"
This terrifying thought actually entered through the gate of my mind. And the worst part is, I was tempted to put faith in the fallacy over what I knew to be true. The shadow of doubt had begun to take hold and lead me into a very foreign and hostile land. This is just how Satan does it - silently creeping up behind and slipping the thoughts in before we even take notice - offering up the fake document and making us think the signature is real.
Thankfully, those that deeply know Christ know much better and can see the difference between truth and obvious forgery. In His word, we read and know what is actually true and are reminded of the time-and-life-tested reality of just who God is. When Jesus taught us how to pray, Truth said: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:13 NIV)
I have always thought of the word "temptation" as the desire do something blatantly sinful like stealing a purse or lying to my husband or being un-pure in God's eyes. Those things are easier to resist the longer I walk with God.
But what I found during my time in the dim Covid-valley was that I was actually enticed (or tempted) to listen to the enemy and the father of lies more than my Good Father the longer the days dragged on and there was no recovery in sight. The drippings of doubt poured into my heart and mind: "God is not as loving as you thought eh? Where is He anyway? Now that you really need Him?"
Suddenly, distrust had slithered up behind me and then into my spirit. I began thinking things that I never thought possible for a long-time believer like me. I always felt of myself as too strong in faith to even broach on these sorts of feelings...but still...there I was, laid up in bed actually allowing these untruths to cover me like a cold, wet blanket. Rather than flinging them far away right at the start, they sort of wrapped around me in a twisted stranglehold of sorts. The deception clung and choked out faith. All went dark.
Then, like the sudden appearing of a bright star in an ink-black sky, a flicker of light would come. God would nudge someone in my circle and a sister-in-Christ, a kind friend, or family member would text me a much-needed lifeline: "I am praying for you sweetie!" or "I love you - feel better soon!" Or someone dear would drop off a bag of therapeutic remedies or a hot meal to get me through one more day, and my hope was renewed. I was reminded in my time of pain that I am loved and that I am blessed. And, I am not forgotten.
The darkness we feel will always be overcome by the light - this is God's promise. Even the smallest pinpoint will remove the creeping shadows:
This is unchanging truth! This is just what we all must remember especially in the obscured valley-walk! In this life we will have trouble, yes, that is certain. But a more intense and brighter reality is that we can also know without hesitation that God will never change, He will never forsake, and He will never, ever leave us. Just because our feelings (or the lies we may entertain) make us think otherwise does not make them true.
He is the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) and in His promises we can fully trust even in the darker days. Especially on the darkest days. No matter our earthly outcomes, we can stand firm on our faith in the One who authors and holds us in each of our moments here and into eternity's Light.
And I can say this now, without a shadow of a doubt.
Question: Have you ever doubted God's promised love for you? What Bible verses of truth got you through?