When the ground beneath my feet gives way, and I hear the sound of crashing waves, all my world is washing out to sea.
In just an instant, what if you lost the security of everything you hold dear?
In just an instant, what if you questioned everything you know as true?
In just an instant, what if everything, and maybe even one thing, you held dear becomes unknown?
You see, let’s just say, these past two and a half months have dragged on as my soul grows weary. I finished my second year of college and thought coming home would do my soul some good. I was wrong. Little did I know the battle that would begin as I stepped on my home (New Jersey) soil.
For the past two months, lets just go with three, I have been wrestling with doubt. I have doubted everything and questioned everything I know about myself, my friends, my family, and especially the Lord. Everything, and I mean everything that I so firmly believed and loved became questionable to me.
And as I write these words, I am holding back tears. This is the unedited version of me; the girl who isn’t perfect. This is the version of me that I don’t ever want anyone to see, because I don’t have it all together. Matter of fact, I have nothing together. I am falling apart.
The last two months of this semester have been rough to say the least. Friendships, family, uncertainty, and especially doubt have been hard. Coming home for the summer, I thought I would get a break finally and break free from the doubt. I was wrong. Within the first week of being home, I have fought the hardest battle yet, the battle of faith. Everything I believe about the Lord, including who He is, who He is in me, the Gospel itself, the Church, everything has been called into question in my mind.
And this past week, I was so weary from the battle. I thought, how much longer can this go on? Is it worth it anymore? I had the thought so many times, just walk away from Christ, it would be so much easier. And it took nothing of me, but only the Lord to sustain me in those dark moments. It was Him who put those thoughts to rest and responded to them with, “no.”
In those dark moments, I thought, “how can I keep following Christ if I am questioning everything about following Christ and Christ Himself?” But, the Lord so graciously reminded me, even if I stopped believing, even if I stopped following Him, His truth would remain true despite me believing it or following Him. In my darkest moments, He wasn’t asking me to have the answers to my doubts and questions, He was asking if I would just be held.
He wanted to hold me when I could not go on. And the day when I felt that the world was crashing in, as I opened up my Bible skeptically to read His word, I turned to Psalm 121.
Psalm 121: “I lift my eyes up to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”
Fall down on your knees before Him and worship Him, for He is God. Wow, that is the Lord whom I serve. He knew every one of my thoughts that I was having as I opened His word, skeptical of His word; His word that I cherish and love. He knew all of my doubts. He knew it all, and yet still He would remind me of His promise to be my keeper. He would still keep His promise to me even when I was unfaithful to Him. He wouldn’t turn away.
Emotions flooded my heart. In the midst of my doubt, He would not let me go. He reminded me, “Aleks, your thoughts do not pose a threat to my majesty. I know you do not have the answers, my child. But, will you follow me even when you cannot see?”
You see, in the midst of my doubt, all I saw and at times still see is the raging waters. I see a glimmer of light through the waters, but it is faint. And my friends, that is faith in the darkest of times. It is but a glimmer of hope that is so faint. But, (and I know I’ve been using that word a lot) it is the promise of His death and resurrection that pushes me to continue to follow that faint glimmer of light, Him. Now let me clarify things here. He is not a faint glimmer of light. He is an all consuming fire, He is light itself. But in my doubt, all I see is a faint glimmer of His light and that is all I need to see to keep following and believing.
And it is His promises that secure me. He promises to be my keeper (Psalm 121:5). He promises to not let my foot be moved (v. 3). He will keep my life (v. 7). And it was in those moments this past week when everything in me wanted to just give up that I cried out with the only thing I could make for a prayer; “Lord, keep me.”
Let me be clear with this, my friends; He kept me because He is my keeper.
Even in the midst of my greatest doubts, when I questioned God Himself and had the thought, does God even exist, He kept me. In the moments that I thought what am I even doing with my life, following Jesus, questioning everything I know, and the Lord who I follow, He did not turn away.
During those times when I could only ask for Him to keep me, C.S Lewis described my conundrum beautifully in The Screwtape Letters (guys, this book is bomb-and bomb in a good way if you don’t get my lingo). “Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
When every trace of God seem to have vanished, when I questioned His very existence, the very existence of the Creator of the universe and my fragile heart, all He asked of me was to obey. To trust Him.
Let me tell you, that was the only thing this fragile heart could do.
Even when I could not see in the midst of my doubt, He asked me to keep following. When I could offer up to Him nothing but the doubts that raged within my mind and ask for deliverance, He did not respond with deliverance, but His Son.
Now “praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)
Praise God for His Son, my Lord Jesus. In my greatest doubts, He did not respond with deliverance. He responded with asking me to trust His Son. Even when I could not see, He asked me to trust in Christ. Praise God!
Did I want deliverance? Yes, more than anything. But instead He asked me to trust His Son, and His answer was the most gracious reply He could give. It was in those moments that I saw both my desperate need for a Savior and the perfect fulfillment of Christ, my Savior. It was in those moments that I saw how perfect Jesus truly was.
In my doubt, when God should have cast me out from His presence, He saw His Son and kept me. His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ was perfect in His sight in the moments of my greatest doubts and it was then that my heart was relieved. In those moments, it was not me that God saw, but His righteous Son. It was then that I saw how Christ truly satisfied the penalty of sin in His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. He was the perfect One. When I could not be perfect, when I failed, He was perfect, He succeeded.
For it was when I saw His son, my help, that I could be held. For when I trusted Christ, it was then that He could hold me.
And so, you may be asking yourself: why am I writing all of this to you? Ok, great story, but why does this matter to me? Honestly, I don’t have an answer for you. I don’t have an answer myself. The Lord has told me to write this and has continued to lay it on my heart to write this for days now, so I am just being obedient. I don’t know why He wanted me to write this post. But one thing I do know, and I want to remind you sojourners of, is this: trust the Lord. The Lord is your keeper, He is the keeper of your life. In your darkest moments, He will not turn away. In the moments when life feels as if it is falling apart and the ground beneath you is giving way, He is the rock of your salvation and will not be moved. Even as you are tossed to and fro by the waves of this life, your doubt, circumstances, you name it, He remains and He upholds you. He will keep your life. Trust Him.
Now I don’t know what that means to you right now as you read those words, but as I write from one weary pilgrim to another, trust the Lord. Fall upon Him. He will keep you.
well, i’m outtie.