Have you ever felt alone--truly on your own--in the midst of your hard seasons? Perhaps wondered where God was in the hurt and confusion? Me too.
I can't count how many times I've cried out to God in my storm and asked, "Are you even there? Are you listening?"
In my early years, after giving my heart to Jesus, I would get upset at what appeared to me as a lack of involvement. But over the years I've learned that silence doesn't mean absence. With maturity I've come to realize He's always there; somewhere, somehow, working out all the details and doing just what He needs to develop me in that season.
But that doesn't mean sometimes I don't feel alone in the hardship. Even now I'm coming out of a very challenging season and I've felt isolated at times. But then I always remind myself of God's faithfulness in all seasons.
I read this in Acts the other day and it was yet another reminder that God is with us in our nights.
When this took place, Paul had already been imprisoned for a while and many Jews were attempting to discredit him and kill him. It wasn't an easy situation at all.
That day, a mob was stirred up and Paul was sent to his barracks for safety. That's how tense the situation was. And in the night, the Lord showed up to strengthen Paul.
I absolutely love the words "stood by him" and the beautiful picture of relationship that it conjures up. God was meeting Paul in the midst of his dire circumstances and encouraging him to take courage--God wasn't done with him yet!
It's a reminder to you, right now, that the Lord is with you in your hardship and will strengthen you to persevere. You are never alone in the night.
In my hard seasons, I'm always encouraged by Hosea 2:
If you are going through something hard right now--through a dark and seemingly endless storm--know that God sees you and is with you. In fact, it's in the darkest nights of the soul that the sweetest intimacy with Jesus can be found. When we run to him and collapse into his loving arms, hope and rest is found. Relationship is strengthened. There's nothing like a good storm to pull out the ugly within us and mold us into a transformed person.
And remember--that every valley of trouble has a door of hope. Seek Him, lean into Him, allow Him to care for you, and allow your season of trouble be used to inspire hope in others.
Paul was strengthened in the night when the Lord stood by Him and God did indeed take Paul onward for the sake of the Gospel!