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When You're Struggling to See the Victory



In a long season of struggling with prayer, one night I tried to push through and confess to the Father that I was terrified about how far He felt, and that I felt as if I deserved the distance. I opened my Bible to a page where I left a sticky note from many months ago, a documentation of a promise that the Lord had given me. A promise that has felt far from fulfilled.


On the next page was Psalms 22, and next to it, I had written, "when you feel far from God". I read the entire thing out loud, speaking the truth. David wrote this psalm, and his desperation resonated with me, as he described the hopelessness he felt and how far God seemed - as if He had forsaken him. I felt the loneliness and hurt that David was experiencing, and while it was painful, there was some relief in seeing my emotions in words that I had struggled so long to find.


But with every cry for help, with every description of desperation, the next paragraph or stanza was one of praise. David balanced out every statement of struggle with another acknowledgement of worship and the Lord's constant faithfulness. He chose to cling so tightly to what he has believed about God all along, and refused to let go. Even when the trials and heartache he was facing were oh-so real, he knew that the Father's love was just as real.


I love this psalm because it reminds me that there can be both the presence of doubts and struggles along with faith and trust in the Father, and sometimes there's a wrestling between the two, but that bringing it continually to the cross is what matters. I'm encouraged to acknowledge and embrace both aspects (faith and doubt, struggle and trust) and process them through prayer, because that's how we grow closer to the Lord. It's not easy, of course, and we're allowed to recognize and wrestle with that, but we also must remind ourselves that this trial is not purposeless. There is power in praying, "God, I know that You have designed good to come out of my pain, but You feel far right now, and I'm struggling to hold onto faith and joy. I believe, help me overcome my unbelief."


When I opened that page in my Bible, the reminder of the unfulfilled promises had me so discouraged and defeated. My spirit is tired, friends. But I believe that the kindness of God shone through, when on the very next page, there was a psalm that completely resonated with me. Even though it seems small, I think I need to work on more intentionally looking for the little ways that God has blessed me and come through for me, because those are the things that will continue to build my faith within this season. God is still present, and even if I don't see it in the big things yet, He is surely still in the small things.


A very simple, practical way that I have been practicing this is whenever I read the words, "I thank God" throughout my Bible study, I write down what I thank God for. I recently studied some of the letters Paul wrote to the New Testament churches, and let me tell you, he thanks God often. This was such an easy way to pivot my attention onto what I personally still have to praise God for, and writing it down has given me documentation of the blessings that I am experiencing in this season.


Today, I'm thanking God for cold ice water, my job, and productive mornings. I'm thanking Him for my supportive boyfriend, the warm sunshine, and car rides with music blasting. I'm thanking Him for fruit snacks and raspberries and hugs. And in each one of these things, I'm trying not to take it for granted, and remember that every good thing comes from above, an intentional gift from the Father. Our God is the God of both big and small things, and praising Him for even the little things has just as much power as our worship for the large things.

 

If you're struggling to see the victory in your own life, I'd encourage you to keep pushing through and pouring into your faith. I know that some days, it feels as if you have no more energy to keep fighting. Open up your Bible and speak even one verse of truth. Speak one sentence of gratitude. These are our weapons, friends, and we must use them intentionally and consistently. Your fight doesn't need to look big or bold or courageous, it only needs to be done alongside the Holy Spirit. Whether you feel Him or not, continue to abide and pursue, and the victory will come. I'm speaking this in the middle of the waiting, and it takes every ounce of my strength to believe it, but I want to come out of this war on the winning side, and the winning side is Jesus.

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