Do you feel heartsick for something you lost but never actually had? Are you longing for something you know isn’t meant to be? I’ve been there and it was a HUGE turning point in my adult life and my walk with Christ.
When I was about 33 I began praying for something I really wanted and just knew would be a part of God’s plan for my life. I prayed and I prayed about it but heard nothing [Insert cricket chirps]. Finally God’s answer came through someone else and His word. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I was devastated, mourning the end of something that never got started. I wasn’t mad with God because I had enough personal experience with Him at this point to know He works everything out for my good even if I can’t understand it. However I wished I knew why this was happening. It affected my relationships, my mental state, and my health.
During this period God used a Bible study I was doing that centered around Isaiah 61:1-4 that changed my life.
“1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. (NIV)”
I learned what perfect peace meant. I learned how to lean on the One who understood what I was going through: needing hope, being disappointed, just plain old not understanding, and more. It was in this intentional time spent in His word, in fellowship with Christian sisters, in prayer that I felt Christ start to mend what was broken, to turn my despair into gladness. He eventually blessed me with perfect peace in this time. That perfect peace wasn’t an accident. I had to look for it, be open to it, let the Holy Spirit do its work.
It is this personal knowledge of what Christ’s perfect peace feels like that has sustained and guided me these last ten years. That is just one obstacle the Lord has helped me through, a gift that keeps on giving.