It was unfamiliar territory for me – the pit of despair I found myself in. That lonely place where misery is your only companion and hopelessness weighs heavy on your soul. I didn’t want to be there, but I found myself there just the same. In previous struggles in my life I had found relief in God’s grace and mercy. But this time, I was feeling lost and alone, unsure that I could bear this anguish much longer. My husband had been suffering from depression for years, but it was getting progressively worse and it was affecting our marriage. We argued more and talked less. He ignored my suggestions to seek professional help. I prayed for healing and wisdom to know how to help him. But he wasn’t getting any better and I was weary from watching him struggle.
I WAS RELYING ON MY OWN STRENGTH
As I cried out to God, He brought me to the realization that I was relying on my own strength instead of giving it completely over to Him. I was reminded of the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. It’s a familiar story. Joseph was the favored (spoiled) son of Jacob and Rachel. His brothers were so deeply consumed with jealousy that they sold him into slavery, eventually ending up in Egypt as the servant of an officer of Pharaoh. Isolated from his family and everything that he knew, Joseph began to gain his master’s favor. Things looked good until he was wrongfully accused of sexual assault and put in prison. If anyone should have been in a pit of despair, it was Joseph. But throughout the biblical account, there is no mention of Joseph feeling self-pity or despair.
HOW TO THRIVE
So how did Joseph not only survive, but actually thrive, during his ordeal in Egypt? Joseph remained steadfast in his faith in God. He never took his eyes off of the One who provides, his Jehovah-Jireh (definition: the Lord will provide). As a result, Joseph prospered in Egypt. He eventually saved the Israelites from being destroyed by famine. What Joseph’s brothers intended for evil, God used for good. When Joseph reunited with his brothers, he had no ill will for them; but rather he assured them that it was all in God’s plan to save their people.
Joseph was unwavering in his faith in God, which allowed him to endure the trials and ultimately prosper. He knew God was with him and that awareness brought light into a dark situation. Joseph lived out the truth of Psalms 37:7, “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” I know that this is where I fall short. I’m not always good at waiting on the Lord’s timing. When I finally got out of God’s way and let Him take charge, I saw things begin to change for the better. God is faithful and He is bringing me and my husband through this valley into a place of healing. “This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I am trusting him.” (Ps 91:2)
How do you handle the challenges that life brings your way? Have you fallen into your own pit of despair? Are you trying to handle it on your own strength? Or are you like Joseph, waiting on God to act on your behalf? Every step along our life’s path has been planned by God for His glory. Let’s get out of His way so we can experience his bountiful grace and mercy.