My Hope Is In You!
by Stephanie Olson, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
Thanksgiving is over, and most of us have eaten too much. We have spent time with family and friends and thought about what we are thankful for. Perhaps for some of us, it is an easy answer. For others, the gratitude seems forced.
In Joy’s latest blog, she so beautifully captured the struggle we face when we are going through difficult times. What it means to be thankful during the times of wilderness in our lives. There are times God allows us to go through those wilderness seasons for a reason.
There are seasons in our lives when it seems as if everything is falling apart. About a year after we were married, my husband Eric and I found out we were pregnant with our first child. We were beside ourselves with joy. We were beginning our life together, and God had blessed us with a new life. When I was five months pregnant, just like that, that little life was gone. No heartbeat. We gave birth to a tiny baby that fit in the palm of our hands with no life. We were devastated.
Two years later, without incident, we gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. She was our heart, and we wanted more. We made our plans and began to continue to build our family. At the time, we believed that our first baby had died because of some horrible fluke. Much to our dismay, we became pregnant three more times, and three more times our babies did not survive. Loss after loss sent me into a darkness that was unbearable.
After my first two losses, I drank the pain away—anything to numb the emotions I was feeling. They were too painful to feel, and because of that, I didn’t want to feel anything. Alcohol was my way to cope. But, by the grace of God, and sobriety, drinking wasn’t an option for the third and fourth miscarriages.
Though it hurt, I turned to Jesus. I devoured His Word, spent time in prayer, and cried out to Him. I made it clear to Jesus how angry I was. He made it clear to me how much He loved me. Through that wilderness time in my life, God did not remove the pain, but I allowed Him to walk me through it.
In the New Living Translation Bible, Psalm 23:4 reads like this: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” He may not remove you from your darkest valley, but He will walk you through your darkest valley. He is your protector and your comforter. He loves you.
God used that time in my life to show me that although my circumstances may not be what I would like, though my ways may not be His ways, He is with me. I can trust Him through the good times and the bad. I experienced four devastating losses. Two of them I tried to drink the pain away with alcohol. Two of them I drank from the living water—Jesus Christ. It was only through Him that I was able to heal and become whole again.
The wilderness times in our lives are not fun. They are dark, and they are painful. But God can use these times to draw us closer to Him. If we have nothing else, that’s when we turn to the true hope. Psalm 39:7 says, “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”