I believe it’s fair to say that we all want a place where we feel like we belong. Sometimes I find myself romanticizing the idea of falling madly and completely in love with someone. Someone who’d protect me from all the scariest parts of this world. Recently I found myself in a place where my world started to feel like it was colliding and I might not experience my deepest desires. Every day I’d walk around with a smile plastered on my face and a can do attitude masking all the pain I was truly hiding inside. Weekly I was in and out of the doctors’ offices trying to find the cause of my physical pain and searching for someone to answer questions that simply didn’t appease my appetite for why I was feeling the way I had been. When really the one question I’d sought to have answered couldn’t be answered, at least not from my doctors. I wanted to know why me!? What had I done to deserve what was happening? Why is it that no one understand? My thinking lead me to a place of despair, I was tired and alone. At the time I’d felt like I needed just one person to pour my heart out to I had no one. At least that is what I was led to believe. It was at that moment I decided to pour out to the one I knew could hear me. I wanted nothing more than for him to tell me things would be okay. Instead this is what I got:
“For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt [to the Babylonians] as your ransom, Cush (ancient Ethiopia) and Seba [its province] in exchange for you. Because you are precious in My sight, You are honored and I love you, I will give other men in return for you and other peoples in exchange for your life.” (Isaiah 43:3-4 AMP)
What’s fascinating about this is that though my choice in the beginning wasn’t God, He made it very clear that I’d always be His first. What I failed to realize through my own hurt and suffering was that God was already there, waiting for me to call out to Him. Similar to my story when the prophet Isaiah was writing this the Israelites were going through their own grief stricken terror. They’d gone so far away from God that they ended up in captivity. Facing unimaginable terror and opportunity after opportunity to turn back to God, but instead they’d chosen their own path. Instead of running to the One who could make right what was wrong they choose to be led by what they were feeling at the time. Like the Israelites we too aren’t much different. It’s when we face opposition, or when our fear starts to overwhelm us that we run to what feels safest.
“But now, this is what the LORD, your Creator says, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you [from captivity]; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1 AMP)
“You are Mine!” You see though the Israelites were completely unfaithful but Gods faithfulness never failed. God reminded me that though the road ahead may not be easy, and He just might not take away my troubles, He would still be with me. He reminded me that my life was so valuable that He’d give nations to be with me. Not because of anything that I had done or could do. But because I am His and He loves me. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” (Isaiah 43:2 AMP) So you see my diagnosis has been my fire and it’s been hot, scorching even. But in this place of sorrow and hurt I’ve learned that I’m not alone. There are many promises in the Word or God, many of those we frequently use as cheap clichés to keep others from falling apart. I think we’re for the most part really good at helping others walk through their fires. It’s when we have our own that we sometimes forget that God frequently gives us this one: “I will be with you.” God hasn’t left, nor will He leave you. He is here, waiting for you to run to Him. So maybe you won’t always get the answer you desire, but more times than not you will always get what you need. Yes, I had questions and maybe if God would have just said “why” they could have helped. It was instead His compassion and peace that overcame me. It was what gave me strength to be okay with whatever the outcome would be.
Contributed by – Tashanta Ford (Shani)
In the midst of my pain I found a God who fiercely sought after me. In 2017 I was in a broken place lost, living without purpose, and wanting to be found. Through the love of God I was able to find a peace that would change a rebel into a righteous women. I am from California, but currently living in Chicago, Illinois. Now walking a path to help change people perspectives on what it means to walk in Gods grace. I believe since I was able to find happiness, and true joy that everyone I encounter should and can find it too. Through The Sanctuary I have been able to grow in my walk while pursing the life that God has called me to.