I found us in a photograph
I saw me and I had to laugh
You know, I’m not who I was
-Brandon Heath, “I’m Not Who I Was”
You know how a song can bring you back, remind you of memories you’d forgotten? It can take you back to good times and fill you with nostalgic joy, but it can also take you back to hard times and bring inexplicable sadness with it.
Last night the song “Touch the Sky” by Hillsong came on, a song I listened to a lot last summer, and I experienced the latter. Last summer was…problematic. It was one of the more dry seasons I’ve ever experienced. Freshman year I grew in my faith like a child growing in the first year of life. I transformed from a newborn baby believer to someone who could walk on her own. It was growth like I had never experienced before.
And then summer happened.
I remember listening to that song, close to tears, on the way to work. I remember overwhelming loneliness. I remember wondering if there would ever again be a time when I didn’t feel lonely, wondering if God was finished with me.
Recently I found a journal that I wrote in up until the start of freshman year of college. At the time I was depressed and in a bad place mentally and spiritually, and that journal was where I went when I was at my worst. So you can probably imagine the kind of darkness that journal contained. I flipped through the pages and read about how I wanted to die. I wasn’t suicidal, but living with the monsters in my head was more painful than I imagined death to be. I read about the boy I was in a relationship with at the time and how his particular brand of love was sucking the very life out of my soul. I read about how I felt inadequate in my relationships with everyone I knew, how my friendships and relationship with my family were in shambles. I read about how my faith was hanging on by a thread.
I very nearly broke down in tears of gratitude when that song came on. Because of God’s grace, I’m not who or where I was. He had a plan for my life the entire time, plans to heal me and breathe life into me. When I was hanging onto Him by a thread, He was still holding me securely in the palm of His hands. There was never a point when I was in any danger of losing Him.
God is in the business of making all things new. He did it for me. When I was lost He found me. When I was broken He healed me. When I felt alone He gave me Himself. He brought me to where I am now: the dark haze of depression lifted, hoping in rather than fearing the future, securely in the beautiful love of my Savior who was crucified for me. He has given me opportunities to fellowship with others and partner with Him in freeing them from the kind of places I was once imprisoned. He has taken me on incredible adventures furthering His kingdom and plundering the pits of hell.
In the midst of trouble it’s easy to despair because we’re short-sighted, imperfect creatures. We forget to take God’s power into account and we feel hopeless because we know our own is not enough. But where we see irredeemable situations, God sees opportunities. Where we only see dry land, God sees future springs of water.
“I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains int he midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”
He’s creative like that.
It gets better. As long as you rely on and trust in God, it gets better. I’m a living testimony of that. Nothing is ever wasted; God works all things for the good of those who love Him, and whatever you are going through now cannot compare to the future glory of what He has for you. He can use absolutely anything, including whatever this post may have brought to mind for you.
Jesus has some incredible things planned for us here on this earth, but that’s not the best part. Someday we will get to heaven and see Him face to face. When that time comes these present troubles will seem very, very small.