The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. (Psalm 34:19)
My life over the past five months feels like it has been a perpetual, emotional hurricane. There have been medical concerns with my daughter, medication adjustments, school emergency meetings, job insecurity worries, and financial struggles. Two mental health providers, to whom we were very attached, just walked away and abandoned us after betraying our trust. The list seems to go on and on, but just as there is a calm place in every hurricane God has been my constant and steady eye in the storm; my peace inside that helps me to remember that this storm too will pass and He will never leave us alone in any of it.
About 11 years ago, I had a major reconversion experience. I had been away from my faith and wasn’t practicing for over a year. I was having a similar storm experience with one major difference – there was no eye of the storm. I felt alone, abandoned, scared, angry, ashamed, and filled with an overwhelming sense of despair. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this bottomless hole in which I seemed to have ended up. For some reason though, I knew God was my only hope and it was going to take something big. I remember clearly my prayer that day, “God, I am dying here. I can’t take much more of this. It is going to take something big to get me out of here and You are going to have to be the one Who does it.” That afternoon my good friend came to visit and invited me on a mission trip to Honduras that changed my entire life. On that trip I went to reconciliation and realized God had gone nowhere, but I had closed my eyes so I couldn’t see Him right there waiting for me to be ready.
There have been quite a few songs that I have had speak to my heart throughout my life, but one that comes back to me over and over again during times like these is Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns. I have learned to seek Him in the storm, find refuge in Him, trust that He will never abandon or forsake me, and, when needed, just rest in Him. Most importantly, though, I have learned to always, always remember to praise Him for all His generous love and grace. So, even now in the midst of my struggles and grief, I know God is close. He is here with me and that is all I really need.