Text: Isaiah 43:1-3, Psalm 66:8-12, Deuteronomy 31:1-8
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
- Deuteronomy 31:8, ESV
I’ll be honest. With everything in me today I want to respond to these scriptures and this incredible hymn on a joyful, super-tidy level. But every time I sit down to write—even in the in-between when I’m avoiding writing—I sense the Lord showing me something I’m not sure I want to see. He’s asking me to share something I’m not sure I want to share.
I don’t want to write about it because it’s so honest it hurts. It’s my sin and it’s ugly and who wants to air that out in public? But as I confess this to the Father, I feel Him nudging me to share some dark-but-now-forgiven parts of me with you, and I hope they may help you feel less alone and confident to repent, too.
The truth is, I have such a difficult time trusting people that my insecurity can be downright paralyzing. Just last week I spent two full days in a gridlock of fear—unable to function, unable to carry out any of my callings, just a mess of a puddle on the floor. (The opposite of free, you guys. The opposite of joyful.) I struggled with insecurity about the position He’s given me in She Reads Truth and as a writer, I felt ill-equipped to teach anyone anything about God’s precious Word, and I was absolutely terrified that somehow, some way, I would be betrayed or taken advantage of because I just didn’t know any better.
That’s a lot of honest for one paragraph. If it didn’t pain you to read it, it super pained me to write it. There are seasons when I carry a crippling fear of betrayal around like an old heavy suitcase strapped to my back, and it goes with me everywhere and keeps me from living life the way I’m called to live it. I’ve walked through a number of unspeakable betrayals as a child and as an adult, and I’m sure that’s a lot of why I struggle with this. I tried to tie a neat little bow around it for my husband just the other day, confidently summarizing that I can trust the Lord with abandon, it’s just people that make me crumble sometimes.
But you guys, it’s still fear. And when my worst case scenarios are played out in my head—or out loud for a friend—at the end of the game I’m never without my Jesus. So do I even really trust Him?
If I do trust God, then I have nothing to fear and I have every reason for joy. And the question “But what if I suffer?” instead becomes “What am I so afraid of?”
Charles Spurgeon says it this way:
“…if it shall come to pass that for Christ’s sake and the gospel’s you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not, but rejoice in the honour thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord; and joy also in this – that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform, from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus.”
We’re all a mess and we know it. We reason with each other that we trust God, we just don’t trust people—or vice versa. But our Savior lifts our lowered eyes to meet His and says, What are you so afraid of? I will not leave you or forsake you. That’s a promise.
HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION
Robert Keene, 18th century
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
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