Lord why do you reject me? Why do You hide Your face from me?  From my youth,
I have been afflicted and near death.  I suffer Your horrors; I am desperate.  Your wrath sweeps over me;  Your terrors destroy me.  They surround me like water all day long;  they close in on me from every side.  You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me; darkness is my only friend. Ps. 88:14-18

     Have you ever been there? You know, that place where nobody seems to care, where you follow God to places nobody wants to go, do things that nobody wants to do, and end up feeling that you are walking alone. Many today teach of God’s grace, mercy, love, and His benefits.  Those are all true, but sometimes God must take us to dark and lonely places. You must go to those places where you are uncomfortable and out of your element. I have found in my journey, it is during those difficult times that our Christian character is built. Like the psalmist I too have asked, “Why do you hide your face from me?”

     Honestly, the Christian walk is not one that is intended to be comfortable. Sometimes, we must do things for no other reason, other than God has called us to go. It is during those times, through obedience, that we learn that God’s grace is sufficient. Sometimes, I cry out asking why God has forsaken me. Sometimes I question whether the sacrifice is worth the effort. Then I’m reminded of a Savior who took on sin even though He knew no sin. He paid a ransom that He did not owe. So yes, it is all worth it!

Sometimes there seems to be no answer. The situation seems hopeless and I begin to feel helpless. That is when I must lean even more on my only hope, the only one who is totally trustworthy. God is my strength, my only hope, and my  strong-tower. He makes a way when there is no way. For me, that is what it means to be a Christian! A deacon at a church I once attended said, “I got all my eggs in God’s basket.” That statement sums it up. Either we are all in with our Christian walk or we are playing church. A mature believer knows there is no other pathway. The choice is Jesus or the world. If it is Jesus, then the road becomes lonely and you begin to understand what a fair-weather friend is. Sometimes, darkness seems to be your only friend.

Sometimes, when the road is long and the journey is rough, we must stop and focus on the only hope. As the old hymn says, “My hope rests on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness; on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” Sometimes, it takes focus on not what God will do for you, but rather on what He has already done. The battles are rough, the road is often long, but the victory is sweet. And that victory, it has been won. You can’t lose. You will never be defeated if your fight is for God and His righteousness. Sometimes, you must remember why you are in the battle.


The Journey

Abbie and I are spending a few days away at “Fish Tales” on St. George Island celebrating our wedding anniversary. We are thankful for friends that graciously gifted their beach home for a few days. As I looked out over the water this morning, I began to reminisce many of the memories we have created together over the last 28 years.

There have been many happy moments from the birth of our children and grandchild, to high school graduations, baptisms, new jobs, vacations, and so much more. There have also been times of struggle from death of friends and loved ones, to financial ruin, disagreements, and disappointments. Through all of this, I have been blessed to have a wife who has truly been with me for better or worse, for richer or poorer, and in sickness and health.

The last three years have been the most incredible part of the journey so far. Three years ago, we chose to be obedient to God’s call in our lives and to serve Him unconditionally and selflessly. We have learned that the more we surrender to God, the sweeter our fellowship wth Him becomes, as does the closeness of our relationship with each other.

Abbie’s worth is far beyond silver, gold, or rubies. She is the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman. The person she married was a result of my parents and my upbringing but the man I have become, is in large part due to her dedication, love, and surrender. So, here is to the rest of the journey. I pray we finish strong, serve God without surrender, and love each other more each day than we did the day before.

Happy Anniversary, Abbie!