I remember hearing this song when it first came out and thinking “oh, that’s a pretty song.” Little did I know that the pretty words would mean so much more to me at a later date, when something completely unexpected hit me and knocked the wind completely from my sails. The first few days I cried until I didn’t think I could cry any more, crying out to God over and over, in complete desperation. As I’ve searched the scriptures, with great shame I thought about how long it had been since I’d prayed so diligently, read the Word with such intensity. And yet the Lord is so gracious, because in spite of my inattention, He keeps revealing his truth and mercy, and most importantly, his love. When I opened my Bible, it fell open first to Jeremiah, where I’d highlighted the following verse so long ago, I don’t even remember why I did. The timeliness of this promise was such comfort to me!
Jeremiah 31:13 — “I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.”
Then I discovered this one, too. I’d highlighted it at some other point in life, and who knew that it would be so meaningful to me now, years later?
Psalm 51:10-14 — “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from blood guilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.”
“Create in me a pure heart” ...after being gone so long from a real relationship with the Lord, this is my heartfelt desire: to seek after the Lord with such determination that the intent of my heart is clear without question.
“…renew a steadfast spirit within me” A steadfast spirit which is determined, resolute, relentless, implacable, single-minded — does not change, waver, hesitate, falter, or compromise. It’s such a scary thing to put those words out there, because it means no more “playing church” — it means getting down to business and following my Savior no matter how difficult life may be, how difficult life is right now.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation…” This encourages me that it is possible to find my way back. I accepted Christ into my heart as a child, but I’ve not always been the most dedicated Christ-follower. It’s such a comfort to know that restoration of my relationship with Christ is possible.
Wednesday night I attended the prayer service at our church. I’d never been before, but I’m so glad that I went. It truly is a prayer service, with Brother Gary saying a few words, and then those in attendance praying for the needs of those in our congregation and beyond. I could hardly believe the few words that Brother Gary shared, though. He read the following:
1 Peter 5:7 — Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:10 — And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
I melted into a blubbering mess on the back row because I’d been trying to carry all that anxiety and worry on myself. It was as if God had said, “You don’t need to worry about that any longer. I’ve got it.” At one point, I heard one of the others there say, “Our lives are changed from victim to victor so that we can testify to the amazing grace and mercy of God.” I believe that is true. I believe this difficult thing that my family is going through will not tear us down or apart. I believe that in the end there will be an awesome testimony of God’s grace and mercy, that will somehow minister to others — so I’ll cling to the words he shows me and I will give thanks for being part of his greater plan.