If ever there was a passage in Scripture that has described a season in my life so perfectly, it is…
For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10
The deepest of waters, that’s where I am swimming, or rather drowning. These waters are engulfing and suffocating. As Paul writes, “[I am] despaired of life itself,” I too feel there is no hope of rescue. I cry out to God honestly and ungratefully, “Why have you thrown me into the deepest of waters?”
I have taken some extended vacations in the terribly dreadful island known as Depression. I have run away from my Father, looking for a replacement. I have resided for many months in some pretty ugly, self-absorbing Resorts. But this season does not compare.
I cannot figure out which is harder: losing my dad or muddling through raising three closely-aged boys, one of whom has a Sensory Processing Disorder (causing numerous out-of-control meltdowns each day, among other things), which I have yet to fully understand, let alone to figure out a way to help him. I have concluded neither my grief nor motherhood is easier, but together they are all-consuming. They call me to the bottom of the ocean, beckoning me to give up and stop fighting, to drown in the deep waters.
I cannot rely on myself. Though I stubbornly try so hard, I just cannot do it. I lack the wisdom, the strength, the grace. And on top of that, my dad was ripped away from me. (Yes, that is how I feel some days.) I am weak and selfish. I am mentally and emotionally exhausted.
I have nothing left to give.
“Awesome!” God rejoices.
Baffled, I ask, “What?! How can this be awesome?”
“This is exactly where I want you.” He answers.
Why would a loving God rejoice when His children come to the end of themselves? He is not rejoicing at our sorrows or struggles, but because of this difficult season we finally – after exhausting every other avenue and resource; when we’ve realized that neither we nor anyone else is the answer; when there’s nothing left to do but turn to Him – we solely rely on Him. That’s what He wanted all along. He wanted me to let go of my failures and weaknesses, to cast my worries on Him, to commit my way, to give Him my absolute trust and fully surrender my life over to Him.
This passage in 2 Corinthians reminds us to set our hope in God. Because He has delivered us from an eternity in hell, He will surely deliver us through any trial we face on this earth, no matter how seemingly impossible it is. Notice the verse doesn’t say take us out of the situation. Wouldn’t we rather be removed from it? God may not choose to remove us, but He will always carry us through it.
Paul was facing such an abundant burden far beyond his ability to endure that even he despaired of life itself. We are not alone in our tremendous burdens. Though each of our deep waters are unique to us, our emotions and pain is not. Paul doubted his life would improve. Yes, I understand, Paul. Yet, God used him mightily. Paul had lost hope in the situation and in himself, but he illustrated for us that his only hope was in God. In fact, that was the purpose of his trial, to make him rely on God.
Though my world may shatter around me, my eyes remain on Him.
When you find yourself in a most difficult situation or season – where relief seems impossible – grab onto Hope. This Hope is not wishful thinking, but rather a complete confidence in God’s promises. And be certain that God will turn every situation, no matter how sad, hopeless or grim, into His-approved good.
When we finally come to the end of ourselves – disheveled, exhausted and hopeless – we find God. We find rest. We find peace.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
God chose this difficult road for me – not because He knew I could handle it all – but because He knew He could use me through it, to glorify Him.