The holidays are over and the mailbox offers nothing but junk and bills. Winter storms and cloudy skies are the norm. It gets dark at 4:30pm! Flu bugs and close quarters breed bad moods, discord and discouragement.
I was sharing some bluesy feelings with my friend Marilyn* and she gave me some great words of encouragement.
When the days are dark, take heart. God is with you.
Now lots of people will tell you God is good and All you need is a little more faith, but when you are under the cloud of despair, you really need something more than a pat on the back and a platitude – even if it’s true.
What you need is an encounter with God. That’s what happened when the skies were very dark in Marilyn’s life.
This is her story.
Marilyn watched her husband pick at his dinner. “I need to tell you something,” he said without looking up. There was a long pause before he continued.
As she waited, she imagined all sorts of things. Maybe he’d lost his job. Had something happened with one of the kids? Was someone sick?
“I’m gay,” announced Jack. “I’ve kept my vows to you. There is no one else, but I need you to know.”
Marilyn’s mind whirled. She’d known something was askew, but was hoping it was a midlife crisis
that would pass like a kidney stone – painful but not fatal.
Trying to make sense of it all.
Suddenly, all his odd behavior made sense. The new clothes. A change of hair style. Abbreviated conversations. The lack of affection.
Alone in the nightmare, she considered her options and tried desperately to avoid divorce.
She kept thinking, We have a good life. We talk. We love traveling. Maybe, we could just pretend he has a condition that makes sex impossible. We could stay married but celibate, raise the kids and keep the secret.
Compromises and concessions were discussed, but no suitable resolutions were found.
God encountered her.
One morning, after dropping the children off at school, knowing that her world was about to change, Marilyn experienced what she describes as a panic attack. She couldn’t breath. Her heart raced. Her mind seized and she was terrified.
Above the din in her mind, a song on the radio swelled in the car. Call on Jeeeesus. Call on Jeeeesus. Call on Jeeeesuuuus. Barely able to speak, Marilyn horsely whispered, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! I need you!”
Instantly, her breath regulated. Her heart calmed. Her mind cleared. She experienced calm. Though her circumstances did not change, Marilyn says she knew she was going to be okay.
Know God, Know Peace.
Jack did not recant his declaration. He filed for divorce and moved out. It was awful, but God’s presence remained with Marilyn and did not leave her.
The remarkable peace that fell on Marilyn is available to you, too Throughout the Bible, God says, “Call on me!”
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
“ … call on me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you …”
Psalm 50:15 (NIV)
“Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
John 16:24 (NIV)
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 (NIV)
God will be with you, too.
God isn’t distant in your troubles. He is fully present. Call on him! Ask for his help! What he did for Marilyn, He is willing to do for you. He will enter into your pain and walk with you through it.
Have you experienced the Presence of God in a tough time?
Leave a comment of comfort or encouragement below.
Prayer: God, you know this misery I’m enduring. I don’t know how much longer it will continue, but I am at the end of myself and need to know you are here. Show me. Tell me. Assure me that I am not alone. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
*Name changed, story used with permission.