I’d be lying if I said the last couple of months have been easy. I’d be lying if I said they’ve been good. I have been going through one of the toughest seasons of my life. But the thing I’ll say about seasons, the thing that is honestly hard to remember in the depths of it all, is that seasons are just that- seasons. They aren’t forever. If you’re anything like me, it can be difficult to see past your current circumstance. It can be difficult to see the purpose in the pain. It can be difficult to see the light that is promised at the end. It can be difficult to see the resolve and restoration you’ve been promised. While your future may seem hazy and unclear to you, take comfort in the fact that your story is already written by the greatest author. Meditating on this fact has been life-changing, especially in the times where anxiety creeps in and tries to whisper lies in my ears.
I had one of the roughest days in a while yesterday. My anxiety level was way up, which hadn’t happened in a while. I felt the stress of many different things in my life and had recently begun to pick up the weight of the burdens of others. This person I love is struggling badly, this friend of a friend is having legal issues separating a family, a student of mine is being bullied and will only talk to me about it. My mind was spinning all day, and as a person who craves security more than anything in life, I was coming apart because I didn’t feel like I had it. And if I didn’t have it, I surely couldn’t give it to others.
In a teary mess, I turned to the only person who has been faithfully there for me through everything. Its funny how much God will show up for us, then in a moment of human emotion we’ll ask him if he’s even there, like he hasn’t proven it time and time again. Well, I reached out for him, asking him to show me again that he was there and to give me something to hold on to. I do my best praying in my journal, and after many pages of pouring everything out to him, I simply wrote, “I’m gonna shut up and listen for a while.”
I believe that God speaks to us in many ways, one of which being his word. So I opened my Bible and flipped a few pages until my heart told me to stop and read. I had turned to Isaiah 49. If you haven’t read this before, let me tell you to stop what you’re doing and find comfort in it. The blessing and promise in this chapter changed my life in a single moment. Only God can do that. The whole book of Isaiah is the promise to God’s people through all of their stubbornness and unfaithfulness to him. The chapter that I turned to is about the restoration God promises to bring. I’ll give you some to hold onto that have brought me tremendous comfort and peace.
In verses 6-7, God tells his people that he has bigger plans than just to restore what was lost. He will do this, he says, as well as give more than they originally had or ever could have imagined. He claims his faithfulness to his people. How much hope does that give you then, to know that God will not only restore what it seems he has taken from you? He will restore, and he will bless you even more than you can imagine. That’s a promise.
In verses 13-15, God promises that he comforts his people. He is with us in the midst of our loneliness, our hurt and heartbreak, our confusion and our chaos. He also says that in times of feeling like He has forgotten us to think of a mother feeding her child. Even if it was possible for her to forget about her child in that moment, he will never forget us.
Then comes my favorite promise. In verse 16, God says “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Stop and think about that for a moment. God created the world with his hands. He put the stars in place and formed the earth. He made all the animals and all of nature with his hands. He paints sunsets and sunrises with his hands. And yet, he wants us to know that he holds us in them. But the most important thing he’s done with his hands? He took a nail in each one as he was put on a cross. He didn’t do it for all the other people. He didn’t do it for the good people. He did it for you and he did it for me, knowing that the same hands that took those rusty nails are the same hands that hold us up through anything and everything this world can do to us. I can’t imagine a more safe or secure place I’d rather be. We were written on his hand long before the nails, and when it gets rough, I pray that we can remember this promise, this love that has taken nails through his hands just so he can hold us in them. I see him on that cross, knowing everything he knew and having the power to stop it, looking us in the eye as the iron went through his hands, saying “I love you, I’m with you, and this one’s for you.”