At a time in my life when I was at my very lowest, I began voraciously searching the Bible for the promises. Then I wrote them down. Then I read them over and over again. I still speak many of them out on a regular basis. This is not so much a sign of piety as it is of an utter, desperate dependence on God's Word to keep me sane. And I literally mean sane. When I felt at the very edge of myself in virtually every way, God's Word brought me back.
It takes a stronger, more authentic faith to believe something even when you don't always see or feel it. This is the kind of faith we all need to move forward towards God's best for our life, the kind of faith that rarely develops when life seems easy. After all, it's hard to practice trusting God to meet your needs when you don't feel in need of anything. Who asks for help or relies on others when they feel comfortable and adequate to do things on their own?
It takes a lot of practice to develop and use this gift of faith. My new mantra is this "Your rehearsal becomes your reality." Translation: You begin to recognize the things that you read and speak over and over again as realities in your life. Even lies and misunderstandings can become real to us when we rehearse them enough. And yet we can also draw forth very real and tangible blessings just by praising and claiming the promises, those things that God already said that the LORD can and will give when we ask. For these reasons, I have discovered that when it is the very most difficult to speak out God's blessing and promises is precisely when it is the most important.
My husband Ben and I still have a lot of worldly difficulties even years after things began to really break down for our family. But things have gotten better, and in the process we have discovered so much of God's favor and blessing that we would not have known without these trials. The trials have brought intense healing and restoration, deepening our faith in ways that we would have never known had we continued on our intended course.
I have often clung to the words of Habakkuk, who said this in the midst of a very difficult time for all of Judah and Israel:
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
And here is why he could rejoice in the midst of poverty, pain and trial. When all of the strength this world could offer was stripped from him, he discovered this:
"The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." -Habakkuk 3:19