Isolation—I never ever thought I would be back here after being rescued from it. It is hard to believe that it was a little over ten years ago when my life changed forever by the hand of God. He allowed me to sink to the bottom of the pit. While I was down there, a miracle happened. Not only did He replace my heart of stone, He sobered me up and pulled me out of the deadly pit of depression and started something in me that I did not see coming. If you would have asked me about a miracle back then, I would have said, “What miracle? I am still a worthless mess.” I had no idea what was happening to me other than a repeat medical issue that temporarily halted my drinking. I seriously thought I would be back to doing things my way in no time. So glad I was wrong. Over time, God showed me that if I follow Him with my whole heart, no matter how tough it gets, that I will finally find real purpose for the rest of my days on this earth. Who doesn’t want purpose or to leave this world having done something meaningful—making life count for eternity? I do. I want it. Thankfully, I reached a point where I was willing to give God a chance. I had nothing else to lose and little did I know, so much to gain. To think that I almost shortened on my own that little bit of time I have left…life is so short. Wow, I really am a living miracle. I forget that truth sometimes.
At the beginning of this new and weird life (weird but mega blessed), it was a major fight for my life to stay out of isolation. When you are depressed and trying to drink yourself into a coma, isolation can and does mean death for a lot people, so I fought against it best I could. Once I surrendered, God gave me the desire to fight and He gave me the needed strength to make it possible. I know with all of me, that it was and still is impossible for me to fight in my own strength because I have none, and that is the truth. Through the years, I would be lying if I did not admit that the thought of giving up did come to mind…many times. It still comes now and then, but it is a fleeting thought now.
Then this COVID-19 pandemic comes along and sucker punches us all, and where do I land? In forced isolation. Man, that can mess with one’s mind, and it certainly has mine. I have been fighting against it for ten years, and now I am right back in it? I was so confused when our state’s governor started shutting everything down in mid-March. I was angry. It felt like God had removed His hand completely from my life. Life once again, did not make sense and I thought I had lost my purpose. My latest mission has been on a University campus and now my mission field has shut down at least through the end of 2020 and it is too early to know if it will be longer. Going virtual is just not the same as being in person. The mission field God led me to late in life had been removed like the carpet being pulled from underneath my feet. Why? I do not think I will ever know on this side of heaven. All those years I chose isolation and now that I have been fighting against it, I’m forced into it. I have given up trying to understand. It took a while. But I must say people, after a little more than 2 months, it is getting comfortable. Well, sort of. I think that being a loner my entire life makes it doable. Doable, but perhaps a bit dangerous too. Even so, God has still given me the desire and the strength to fight, and for that I am thankful because I continue to be victorious.
The Bible says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” I am standing on this promise from God. God is using this uncertain time for my good. For OUR good whether you believe or not. For me personally, I am drawing near to Him more than ever and something beautiful is happening during this time that feels like I am surrounded by death. Lives are being lost, jobs, finances, mental health, the list goes on. I never thought I would see this in my tiny lifetime but here we are. We have no control. For me, there is only one thing to do: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Most of my life, I have gone through life without God, but since He became real to me, I am not going through another second without Him and His Mighty Power to save!
I was blessed by another devotional the other day. It talked about the disciples freaking out on the boat when a violent storm took place and their Lord Jesus was sleeping through it and they cried out, “Don’t you care?!” Jesus cared. He still does and He teaches that we too can have that same kind of peace and sweet sleep, but it doesn’t just happen. Like Jesus, I am getting to know my Holy Father on an intimate level that gives me peace in this greatest storm of my life. Do you know why Jesus, the man of God, was able to sleep on the boat during the storm while His disciples were filled with fear? Jesus showed us through His life on earth that He intimately knew the Father. He intimately new the One who created the seas and the wind. Jesus knew without a doubt that He was in good hands and He wants each of us to know that we are too. I must say that I have been having that same sweet sleep too. Not just through the pandemic, but through all the tough moments in my life and there have been more than enough. Even though it has been feeling like hope is slipping away at times, I know that it isn’t true.
My heart goes out to those struggling and going through great losses during this violent storm that the whole world is in. It seems never ending. But if we keep our hope and trust in God—the One who has access to every thing we can ever possibly need to get through the storms of life, we too can rest and sleep through it all. There is no need for us to stay up through the night allowing ourselves to worry when we have the one and only Almighty God who never slumbers watching over every single one of us. His Word says, He sets His angels around us! I believe.
I am praying for you, that you will put all hope in Jesus and see the good that God is doing through the pain. When we give up our self-centered lives for God-centered ones, things happen for us, not to us. There are benefits that are ours through every trial, if we hold on and do not give up. Let’s keep ourselves from growing weary. If I can do it, so can you. God is big enough to help us all.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Scriptures that I hold in my heart: “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
Amen. God bless. May you have sweet sleep starting tonight and every night.