“You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in a bottle.
Are they not in your book?…
This I know, that God is for me.”
I read a quote this morning from Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish minister in the 1600s. It’s from a letter he wrote while imprisoned because of his faith:
“If God had told me some time ago that He was about to make me as happy as I could be in this world, and then had told me that He should begin by crippling me in all my limbs, and removing me from all my usual sources of enjoyment, I should have thought it a very strange mode of accomplishing His purpose. And yet, how is His wisdom manifest even in this! For if you should see a man shut up in a close room, idolizing a set of lamps and rejoicing in their light, and you wished to make him truly happy, you would begin by blowing out all his lamps; and then throw open the shutters to let in the light of heaven.”
How powerful and unyielding is the love of our God, that He will do all that needs to be done in order for us to know true joy. Joy that fills our very soul. Joy that doesn’t shift and sway with circumstances. Joy that is rooted in His Word, which proves true at every turn.
It is a scary thing to think about God taking away our usual sources of enjoyment. Losing those things or those people that we hold dear. But if God chooses to lead us down a path of loss, we must remember that His love for us is still perfect—even when we can’t understand its current working. He is still being faithful to us. He is for you, and nothing will ever change that. Not even the doubt and despair that may linger in your heart as the world crashes around you. “‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10). The God of Heaven is still for you, still faithful, and His love is still perfect. Perfect enough to lead us to ultimate, surpassing joy and everlasting peace instead of allowing us to stay where we are, worshiping mere lamps while the glorious light of heaven waits just outside the door.
Please know, amidst all the pain and confusion, that God is not unfeeling toward you. He is not hardening His heart against your hurt. He is compassionate and He hurts with you. Know that while in His perfect love He led you here, He will not leave you to face it alone, and He will be faithful to see you all the way through the valley. Our God of grace and mercy has kept count of your tossings. He puts your tears in a bottle. He draws near to you as your heart is broken, and is the One great enough to hold you together when you fear you will fall apart. And in it all, He is leading you to that glorious other side where there is more happiness and joy and peace and light than you ever could have imagined.