About two years ago I was at a place in my life where I felt incredibly unwell. I had just lost someone I considered to be my very best friend to a terrible illness and was mourning her deeply. On the day of my friend’s funeral, my grandmother (who I was very close to) passed away. I didn’t even know who, or how to grieve. I was so overwhelmed with sadness and darkness. Two people who I loved very much, confided in constantly, and who played a central role in my faith… were gone.
I had believed, as did many others, that my friend was going to be healed. That her healing would be a part of this miraculous story God had planned. I believed, as I never had before, that God had spoken to me through visions, scripture, and other people.
When my friend passed away, so did my belief that God answers prayers. My belief in a God who was good and in the relationship I thought I had with him was shaken. It isn’t that I stopped believing in God. I never did. I just felt like everything I thought I knew about him was wrong.
Up until that point the biggest part of my relationship with God was praying for things and giving him the glory when those prayers were answered. My faith was shallow. Suddenly it felt useless to pray. Why bother if I couldn’t trust God to work things out in a way that made any sense to me? Without prayer all other aspects of my faith felt phoney. I felt so incredibly lonely. Instead of expressing that loneliness I suppressed it, refusing to be vulnerable and pretending I was okay.
I heard once that anger isn’t really an emotion, it is the result of suppressing emotions. I became easily angry, especially when people talked about the goodness of God. I knew that I was far from being well, but didn’t know how to change it.
One day God got tired of waiting for me to stop and turn to him. I was walking my dog though the woods by the lake in winter. As I came to the top of the hill I turned to face the lake. My breath was stolen from me. I was amazed at the incredible beauty of creation. Without consciously thinking it through, my entire being breathed this great release. “He is God, and He is good” my soul sang.
I stood in the perfect, beautiful, quiet of frozen winter, tears streaming down my face with a smile that spoke unspeakable joy. I had just realized the truth that helps define my wellness. God is not good because of what prayers he answers, how he makes me feel or how easy my life is. God is good because goodness is at the very essence of who he is.
I stopped seeing my relationship with God as one of praying and receiving and began to realize my relationship with him could be so much more… God is my refuge, my creator, my friend, and most importantly my saviour. Through all of my hurting and pain, through all of my personal feeling of inadequacy, God was always there, always loving me.
My journey towards wellness is now filled with moments in which I am still and surrounded by the beauty and the majesty of our God. Before I could praise or pray again, before I could gather with others in community, before I could find peace in God’s word, I was able to just be still and KNOW that he is God.
Be still and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10
That is such a simple verse. One I never took much stock in; the command to “Be Still and Know that I am God”. I needed to slow down and take notice of creation and be amazed by the creator. To change my lens away from self and towards the wonder, awe, gratitude and love that is found in him. To allow this awareness of his amazingness to be a foundation of my faith and my relationship with him.
I think this is part of what the Bible means when it talks about “the fear of the Lord.” This feeling of awe and wonder and something so much greater than self. So much greater than what we can see. God’s goodness isn’t confined by what I think is good or bad. The darkest times that seem so bad, are an incredibly important and valuable part of life. They are the parts the bring us to the truest and purest relationship with him. This is good.
I still have sad days, and days I get carried away with all the things of life, but I am more in tune to the voice that tells me “BE STILL. KNOW THAT I AM GOD.” It is in these moments that I truly feel well.
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