As I travel for work and my ministry, I have been studying the Scriptures on schemes and brutal assaults on God’s beloved. There is so much more going on behind the scenes of our lives than most of us can comprehend. Satan is on the attack for those who are image bearers of God. Take heart! God is holding your tomorrows even if your tomorrows may feel unknown and ambivalent. Be enlightened to the fact that you are part of a greater story than you can ever imagine. Let God’s words laminate us in his protective love. “I am always with you,” He says to us. “You guide me by my right hand, my flesh and heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart” (Psalm 73:26 NIV). Let God’s words and his overwhelming love permeate you to the depths. God will keep reminding you, “You’ll get through this, my Beloved, with radiating joy and extravagant love.”
So, when you are weary from all of the road blocks and you feel like your back is against the wall, ask God for the heart and courage of a lion and the gentleness and beauty of a butterfly. “Nay, in all things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). When we have no hope, only darkness, and our circumstances are taking us under, we feel like we have been hit by a wrecking ball. We find ourselves grabbing the glory of God that is mysteriously inside us. Our inner castle grows as God guides and leads us out of the darkness. As He restores, we begin to radiate inside out with the glory of God — like wildflowers that bloom radiantly after the forest turns black.
I experience this first-hand daily, but just the other day I was overwhelmed by the hope and love God gave me. I was in Miami visiting my son and my great friend, Dr. Joel Jahraus. I got up in the morning, and despite the beauty of being on Miami Beach, I was so sad. I have been hit hard with many assaults lately, and everyday God’s word gives me strength as I deal with these onslaughts. I was beating myself up because I forgot my Bible as I was sitting at a sweet little French coffee shop. I was trying to be more positive and bring myself “up.” I begged God to please bring me some hope.
A nice man sat at the table next to me and he started chatting. He was proclaiming the beauty of the day and his incredible coffee. Then he said to me, “I’m sorry to intrude, and I don’t know what you’re going through, but I feel like God wants me to give you a message. God wants you to know He loves you and you’re going to make it through this storm with joy.” He then started to recite verses from 2 Corinthians 3:6: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ—troubled on every side, yet not distressed, perplexed, but not in despair.” He added that the storm that I was in is only for a moment, and it will work out for joy and love in Christ.
He continued to tell me that he was sitting at his office a few blocks away, and God instructed him to get out of his chair and go and give one of his beloved daughters a message. He told me that when he saw me and my sadness, he instantly knew it was me who was to receive this message.
As he spoke these words to me, I remembered a picture I had taken at my home last April. Above my home was an angel formed by clouds. I showed him the picture and sat and wept. He asked if he could hug me, and I agreed. He continued to hold me as I wept. I thank God for sending his angel Joseph to me in my time of need.
I know that there is purpose, meaning in everything. Even if the pain is so fierce you feel you’re not going to make it through, remember that God is near — as near as the air we breathe, as near as our very own heartbeat. We can trust our God. He knows exactly what to do. He will give you more energetic love, courage and confidence than you ever imagined. I promise. I have experienced it over and over, but most importantly God promises it. It is all true. I am just a witness.
Julie Woodley, MA, is founder and director of Restoring the Heart Ministries as well as a Gateway Counseling Center Therapist. For information visit Rthm.CC or call 1-866-780-7846.