Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive fails and the fields produce no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord God is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet and makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility].
Have you experienced difficult times in your life? Have you had seasons where it felt like you simply didn’t want to get up in the morning, and everything around you was bleak?
For me, I have experienced a few seasons like this. We had a season of financial crisis that lasted seven years. It was very painful as we walked through many losses of worldly treasures. We struggled to buy groceries and clothes for our children. We felt weary year after year as we worked to keep ourselves above water.
We were overwhelmed with medical crisis, as my body had three surgeries, and long recoveries. Pain and exhaustion, were at times, bigger than anything else in my life. As I learned to daily surrender to God, He strengthened me and gave me an attitude of servanthood and empathy.
God blessed us through it all with friends that left money on our door or food in our kitchen. As we continually fell before God, trusting that He was good no matter what, we believed deep within our hearts that the season would pass. We opened our hearts to lessons that could be learned, such as the value of generosity, self-love, communication, and praise to God.
God always showed up! Each year as we moved from the home we owned to a rental, drove old cars, ate sparsely, and hung on, God showed up.
He saved our business. He increased our losses. He gave us courage to move forward. He strengthened our faith and trust in Him. He gave us the ability to walk forward through every challenge, and He listened to every cry. He showed us areas deep within our hearts that needed healing, and again, He accepted every surrender.
He never left us!
Through that dark season, I often asked Him to not leave me, I pled for change. Then, one day I heard His Spirit clearly say to me “Bethany, I have always been here, look for me in the beauty around you. Doubt in my presence is blocking you from seeing me.”
My doubt had closed my eyes. I had based God’s presence on my earthly position and comforts. As I turned my praise towards Him for all the beauty that I did have, more beauty came. The immense blessing of a loving husband, incredible children and grandchildren, dear friends, a home to live in, a car to drive, a pet, and so much more. My spiritual confidence increased with every blessing I praised Him for and with each doubt I buried.
God has now given us another wonderful home to own, more amazing grandchildren, strong confident children, a busy business, a reliable car, loyal friends, and best of all He has showed us His loving heart towards us in times of pain and joy.
It is challenging to rejoice in the Lord when times are lean and we are struggling. I have learned that the focus of my heart in all times makes all the difference in the world!