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I’m Still Here
I have faced much opposition, physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally in the past year. I have questioned my sanity, grappled with loss, and inherently sought the Lord continually.
Yet, when waves of emotion hit, harsh words are said, and constructive critiques feel more like battle wounds than scars, it can be easy to forget that God is still with us in those moments.
After a stressful week at work and unforeseen circumstances at home, my mind felt dizzy. The more I tried to think and pray, the more isolation and loneliness penetrated my soul. Twelve emotional breakdowns later, full of tears rolled down my cheeks and glassy eyes, I looked at my reflection. Peering out the window of my second-story home, I saw both outside and within.
On the inside, I saw a young woman’s shadow, weary of the world she was/is living in. Beyond the glass, however, I saw the peace and tranquility of a gentle night’s sky, an offering of the Lord’s rest. Though my head was spinning and my heart was pounding, I took 16 counts of breath to slow down my surroundings. Four in, four held, eight out, repeat. Four in, four held, eight out, repeat.
Almost immediately, the Lord drew my eyes to a single star within the sapphire oasis. Just beyond the billowing storm clouds, my eyes fixated themselves upon this single star. The reflection of its gleam was beyond beautiful.
Drawing my hands to the sky, I kept praying. I kept seeking. I kept asking Him to show me that I’m not alone. And while I did not hear Him audibly speak, I saw an exemplar of His presence, a promise of His propinquity.
Before my eyes, the star was covered by the dark gray clouds of a storm. I held my breath when I could no longer see its existence.
Four in, four held, eight out, repeat. Four in, four held, eight out, repeat.
I came to the cognizance that while I could not physically see the star with my eyes, my heart and mind knew it was still there.
Because even when I’ve struggled to feel God in the silence and hear Him above the noise, I know He’s still there. Staring out the window that night not only taught me that but stopped me in awe.
Almost naturally, I spotted that single star amid the clouds. In the same manner, we are drawn to God, though we cannot see Him. And this is why so much of our world is thirsty for a drink, not realizing that Jesus is the only one who truly satisfies (Isaiah 55, NIV).
We can spot the stars and the clouds with our eyes, but it is faith that tells us the star is still there and will reappear when the cloud disappears.
About five minutes later, as the storm clouds swelled and spiraled, the star emerged. And yes, so did the Holy Spirit, arising within my soul.
“I’m still here even in the stillness. I’m still here in the silence. I’m still here in the brilliant night sky.”
In a gentle whisper, the still, small voice had rocked my soul.
“Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12, NKJV).
For faith is not a feeling, but the belief that even when we cannot feel, see, or know He is there, we trust, hope, and believe anyways. In Hebrews chapter 11, this is why Moses says, “we persevere because we see Him who is invisible” (vs.27, NIV).
Like the stars in the sky that night for me, our principles of faith are often rooted in what we cannot see but perceive and believe through the Holy Spirit within us.
Satan often tries to confuse us and write over what we know as truth. He brings into question things like our salvation through overthinking because if he can separate our relationship with Christ into how we think or feel rather than our faith, everything else will falter.
But God’s Word says that “if we confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. For it is with our heart that we believe and are justified, and it is with our mouth that we confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10, NIV).
We believe in His birth, death, and resurrection, the 3 in 1. And if we believe in those things, and truly live them out, we are saved. We must not let Satan overcomplicate these things, and for myself, that begins with the mind and choosing faith over what I can see. Yes, the Gospel is that simple, but it is built on and starts with faith.
And isn’t it beautiful? To know that our faith is built on something so much greater, stronger, and more powerful than we can perceive with the human eye? It’s not easy. It’s often hard and feels mundane when we can’t physically see or hug our Savior. But that’s the grace and crutch of faith in Christ, to believe and keep on believing even when we cannot see.
Just as the ancients were commended for, we have a reason to keep and maintain this faith. For faith “is being sure of what we hope for, and confident of that which we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1-2, NIV).
I believe that God knew that when He created us in the first place. I think God knew that when He created faith as a part of our relationship with Him, it would challenge our human nature.
I think He knew what He was doing when He called Abraham after Isaac, or Moses to walk away from prestige (Hebrews 11:23-29). I think He knows what He’s doing with us when He asks us to walk beyond waters and into foreign, unknown territory today (Hebrews 11:30-40).
But it is not because He doesn’t want to be seen. It’s because He wants us to trust the process.
It’s our faith that makes Jericho walls fall, and dry seas drown the enemies. It’s faith that sews together you and me to the eternal God, and I’m so thankful He whispers, “I’m still here,” especially when He can’t be seen.