“So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Walking in the Dark
There have been many times the physical, mental, and emotional trials in my life have felt insurmountable.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine God’s goodness in the face of suffering and grace does not seem sufficient for the weakness inherent in this jar of clay. You’d think a better option would be stainless steel, something that won’t rust or crack or wear out. But God chooses the weak to shame the strong.
During the dark days when suffering seems to be the default setting in life, we are reminded it’s the path to glory. Indeed, the Bible talks about identifying with the suffering of Christ and even carrying about in our bodies the dying of Jesus.
We are prone to death in our mortal bodies. In some ways, we are handed over to death day by day as we move on the path toward eternity. The day will come when this earthen vessel cracks open to the full glory of God.
For now, we see in part. We glimpse God’s glory all around us.
No place is devoid of God’s presence and when we’ve trained our vision on unseen things, we begin to hope in the glory to come.
There are times I’ve cried out to God when the world was dark and viciously loud and God seemed silent and nowhere to be found. I think of David penning the psalms with tears, with lament, with great hope and joy. These things are not opposed. Because while we know that trials and suffering will come, we also know these losses do not mean we are lost.
We have been given a vision of unseen things, a call to focus our eyes on the weight of glory to come.
Sometimes we walk in the dark, arms arcing in front of us as we scan for obstacles and sometimes we smack right into them, but even when we cannot see, we have a vision to guide us home.
We are on a path to glory.
Knowing and having a vision of God’s goodness helps us fix our eyes on the glorious hope to come. It doesn’t ask us to pretend that pain is not there or trials aren’t difficult, but it does offer a purpose for suffering and a comfort that we are not alone in it.
Perhaps today you need to know you are not alone in the trials you face and that enduring them and calling out to God is our path to glory.
If you’re walking in the dark, how can we walk alongside and pray for you?
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Thankfully today is a good day for me, but living with an anxiety disorder and periodic depression, means that there are some days that I am truly ready for the second coming. There are days, when I’m in bed, and all I can manage to utter are “Jesus, Help!” Today, though, I’m getting a glimpse of eternity. When I do, it helps me embrace a more eternal perspective. Sometimes, when I see those “Life is good” t-shirts, I utter under my breath, “Life is hard, but God is good.” God gives us glimpses of Heaven in order to help us keep hanging on…hanging in there. He promises that there is something so glorious, that it will be worth all our worldly suffering. I trust Love’s heart. My prayer request today is for all my friends here, that are suffering, that we would come alongside and lift them up. I know there are days I’ve only gotten through because of the prayers of others.
I’m thinking of you and pray that you have more good days than not. I agree Life is Hard but God is always Good.
Blessings to you,
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Thanks Penny…God is INDEED Good!
Tracey L. Goldsby says
I have poured over this Word several times. In light of what’s happening in our nation, our nation is not devoid of God’s presence as you stated Alia. Our hope is in God. I have cried for the 2 men and their loved ones who lost their lives to violence and then days later for the 5 police officers who lost their lives (and their loved ones) to violence as well. My tears eventually ceased and my cries out to the Lord began. I pray for peace, love, and restoration that only God can provide. As a believer, I choose to love and not hate.
Thanks for your poetic words regarding the gospel that encourages all of us!
Laurie B. says
Beautifully said! I have a 14 year old daughter who has similar struggles to yours. Some days are good which I call grace days. It’s a moment by moment, breath by breath struggle at times. She’s still learning how to read and respond to her emotions. I feel so inept. BUT we do have faith in a tremendously good and loving God who holds our hearts and our days. Forever thankful! God has used our struggles to help us find confident dependence on Him and incredible compassion for others. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Funny, I say the exact same thing about the “Life is good” shirts. Maybe we should go in business together with our new logo and saying Life is hard but God is good!
Bev, thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles! Please know that daily as I pray for my daughter and all those that struggle with anxiety and depression, I will pray for you by name
Thankful for our sisterhood!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I think we’d do well with “Life is Hard BUT God is Good” 🙂 Praying for your daughter…I know how hard this is, but like you pointed out…suffering builds a compassionate heart and as we know, this world could use more compassionate people. What a wonderful mom your daughter has – who seeks to understand her…and love her!
Bev, I, too suffer from anxiety and bouts (seasons) of depression. May the Lord bring total & final healing to us both! God bless you!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
We WILL receive final healing on that precious and wonderful day…meanwhile may God grant us the grace, the strength, and the peace to continue to lean into Him and carry on. His grace is sufficient! God bless you Donna. Know that God catches all your tears…
Thank you Bev!!! Yes we WILL receive that wonderful final healing! While I would not wish anyone to suffer as we & others have, at the same time it is so comforting to know that we are not alone and there are those who truly understand and do not judge. Plus, and most importantly, the Lord IS with us by our side, all the time, whether we can feel it or not, even when He is seemingly silent and feels so far away. Our feelings will lie to us, as the enemy does. But it is God’s word which stands and I believe His word even when I cannot see. His word never fails. I walk by faith! Your posts have always encouraged me & others so much and I pray that I will also be able to encourage as well……may much fruit abound to His glory in this valley of tears. The Lord did speak to me months ago that the fruit is produced in the valley, not the mountaintop. Again, may abundant fruit be produced in us for His glory!!! God bless you Bev over and more abundantly more than you can dream or imagine!!!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Would you mind sending me your email address??…you have been a great encouragement to me here…sometimes I could use someone who “gets it” when I am struggling in the depths and the enemy kicks me when I’m down. It’s then I need reminders of God’s Truth. email@example.com
Julie Duenas says
Thank you for your penned words, aptly spoken. It has been a difficult two days as I sit and watch my youngest daughter going through this health crisis. About two weeks ago, she began experiencing some visual disturbances which have gradually worsen. Yesterday, she had to have a lumbar puncture to determine if the pressures in her brain were elevated causing her right eye to swell affecting her vision. Today, not much has changed and the need to leave our island home to head to the U.S. mainland to see a neuro-opthalmologist has now been initiated. I am asking for prayer for my daughter Helene and her husband David. Please pray for traveling mercies, for the specialist that will be seeing her, for wisdom to know how to treat her and pray for the Lord’s will to be done. Pray that they will draw near to Him, that they will find peace and place their trust in Him alone. Lord bless you, thank you for your prayers.
My step brother had secretly gotten power of aterney over his mom when she had a stroke and in doing so is over all the money my father has too. My father has Parkinson’s seems scared to even speak. They are in an assisted living together now and he has changed sense she moved in with him from rehab My worst nightmare is to open my mouth and cause trouble for him in his last stage of life. She is controlling and confused and stubborn She upset him so the or week his blood pressure went so high he could have had a stroke. (As well as mine) I need to travel there this week and deal with this but I am so scared of causing a big fight but he needs to know
Beth Williams says
Prayers for God to give you a discerning heart to know what to say and how to act. I pray for God to guide you as to the right next steps. May you feel at ease knowing you tried to do the right thing for both parents.
Prayers that all will be well for you during this difficult time.
Kathy F.6263 says
I so care for your delima. May God, through His Holy Spirit lead and guide you through this process of righting a wrong.Blessings!Kathy F.
Thanks for the reminder.
Michele Morin says
Alia, I was thinking about you this morning, praying for you and your mum, and then- unexpectedly – find your words here.
I love the phrase “weight of glory” because it’s so visual for me. I love to imagine all that God has revealed to us about Himself – His faithfulness, His power, His love – on one side of a balance scale; and then everything that I’m concerned about (“that which is seen”) on the other side of the scale.
Compared to the weight of GLORY!
Yes, please pray that I forgive the sins others inflicted on me, to let go the questions of people’s integrity back in that time and focus just letting god work in his time the present moment. It’s about today not the past.
Walk in faith….keep going even when the scar hurts.
Marcia, I understand as I have the same to do. I love that you said “Walk in faith….keep going even when the scar hurts.” Scars can be made softer in the walking 🙂 Praying that He softly cups your heart in His hands, holding you close to His heart helping you to forgive 🙂
I pray that you will be able to live it with the Lord.
Have a good day.
Please pray for my Mom. She was recently released from the hospital frim a knee replacement and was readmitted for infection and trouble breathing. I am not at home, can’t be there until tomorrow and my heart is aching. My sweet 9 year old reminded me to trust God, he’s got Nana. I know he does bit I feel so overwhelmed, not being there. Thank you.
I understand it can be hard not to be where your heart wants you to be. I’ll pray for the wellness of your Mother and for you. What a blessing your dear little girl is.
Blessings to you all,
Alia Joy, thank you for these tender and grace-filled words from the Lord. Walking through pain and trials is a great blessing, a place where we come to know our Lord more through pain that can seem unrelenting as we walk the hills and valleys. There are days its been hard for me to remember that He walks with me there when I go through these places. May you and your family are lifted up in so much of His grace and peace today; that every person on my prayer list, here, and who are suffering experience His gentle and soft touch upon their aching hearts 🙂
Please pray for my mind & that I will be able to release & forgive past hurts. Recently I’ve been going through periodic bouts of depression. It just seems like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, & I’m trying to perfect the balancing act. I’ve got to let go & let God.
I’m sorry for what you are going through, I pray that you will be released of this pain and will find peace, Pleaes read my post below.
Beth Williams says
I, too, have had some dark times. It feels as if God is so far away. I’ve learned through those trials to pray and lean hard on Jesus. When I start to feel down or depressed I simply focus on the eternal. I make a list of ALL the blessings God has bestowed upon me and my perspective changes. Lately with all this mess in the world I have been asking and praying Come Lord Jesus come!
Yes praying is sometimes all we can and need to do.
Blessings to you for bright days ahead.
Please pray for my ex, James, that his heart can change, his eyes open, the evil removed from his life but most important that he finds God.
Help me to forgive and see God’s glory and blessings in this trial.
My prayers are with James heart to be softened through the love of the Lord. Bless you for reaching out for him.
That was nice thank you. (Tears welling up in my eyes) This little physical trial I’m going through is small compared to other trials I’ve faced. I take comfort that I am not alone in it.
Your beautifully written words are very comforting, thank-you.
In our daily living we could easily get caught up and lose sight of what can’t be seen. But the goodness in what we do see is a part of Him that we need to see. When I look around and see the beauty, not only in nature but in mankind, it reminds me of how this was all possible. But I remember a time when it felt as though I was living in a dark hole and didn’t know how or if I’d ever be able to find my way out. I know now that the whole time the Lord was with me, watching over me, and it was He who reached in and pulled me out. At that time I had lost sight and although it feels like an eternity ago it still creeps into my mind, reminding me of how I never want to go back there. I wasn’t paying attention to His goodness or showing Him gratitude, but He stayed with me, and I will be eternally grateful.
Blessings and prayers to all,
Becky horton says
I was so inspired by your words -clay pots –
2 Corinthians 4:7 But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. –
I absolutely love this verse because I know I am His cracked pot – so the power will be Him and not me – I get to show Him off!!
Wonderful encouragement this morning! Please pray for a friend, Chad. That the Lord will speak to his heart. That he will come running to the Lord and the Lord will change him into the man of God that He wants him to be. 🙂 God Bless you all!! <3
19 years and 3 boys later I feel as if all hope is gone….you see we’ve always had a rocky marriage but I’ve tried to believe that God would eventually provide the miracle. It’s so hard when what we expected God would do crumbles. It seems so opposite of God’s design for marriage but it’s looking like the story here on earth isn’t going to end with my miracle. Heartbroken and so very tired.
Praying for you Tracey that the Lord encounter you with a very strong sense of His Presence and love for you. I understand the heartbrokenness and feeling so very tired from it all. I have been in that “place” so much these past several years, am there even today…..and my heart goes out to you…..but the Lord has brought me through so much pain and loss and I know He will bring me and you through again to brighter days. HE cannot fail!!! Just hang onto Him Tracey…..He is hanging onto you and won’t let you go ever!!!
As hard as it is now, I pray a light will shine through.
Michelle Vasquez says
Please pray for my wayward adult son and wisdom and discernment for me. Thank you!
My prayers are with your son, and for you to find the wisdom you seek as well as the discernment.
Please pray for my daughter who has allergic problems. Pray that we may be able to take decisions according to God’s will concerning her health. In Jesus’ name, Amen..
My prayers are with your daughter for relief.
Thank you for your prayers Penny. God bless you
Praying for you Tracey. May you find the peace you are looking for.
Thank you Alia Joy. It is good to know that are sufferings at this present time do not compare to the glory revealed within us. I am in a hard season, as many here who have commented are. I’ve had a chronic pain condition for 9 years and I am only 26. It worries me that if I am in this much pain this young, that as I get older I will be very limited in my abilities. I spend most days in bed after work and I have yet to get out of bed this Sunday because of the dark cloud of depression that seems to cover me. I am very tired of being in constant pain. Your body becomes its own prison when you’re sick because their is no way to escape the pain. I like that your post talks about the essence of faith- fixing our eyes on the unseen- knowing that we serve a God who works behind the scenes for our good and His glory. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure you’re encouraging many women today… Cynthia
Trying to put my 22 year marriage back together again. I believe God knows what has broken us and can take all of those pieces and love us back together again. I am convicted of this and praying for my husbands heart to be overwhelmed with God’s love and the knowledge of what God’s plan is for us. I am fighting the biggest fight of my life FOR my marriage and “HOPE” is what keeps me focused and keeps my eyes on God instead of being fearful of what the enemy can do to us and our family. Prayers are welcome! 🙂
Rebecca L Jones says
Hi Alia, As always I enjoy your posts and your gift of writing. I hope your mother is doing better and you as well. You wrote this, ” Indeed, the Bible talks about identifying with the suffering of Christ and even carrying about in our bodies the dying of Jesus. ” I am just compelled to tell you and others how much I suffered back pain with this, I identified with Jesus just to be able to bear it. The Lord dealt with me strongly about this, it was He who bore our sicknesses, diseases, mental anguishes, so much more, in Isaiah 53. It took effort to rethink and refocus on His sacrifice for me. Indeed, He was resurrected and ascended to heaven, is seated and at rest. He is our healer, our, peace, our joy. It is all in the way we look at Him. He looks at us with love and through the lens of His sacrifice. We must strive to carry, not a wounded Christ, but a resurrected one. I ran into a wall the other night walking in the darkness, I can only imagine blindness, but I know about spiritual darkness. He is light and in Him, there is no darkness. I’m glad He shone His wisdom on me. My back gets better all the time, by His grace and His precious Spirit. I hope this will help someone today.
Linda Stoll says
Yes, we come alongside each other, often without a single word.
Mary N. says
Sweet fellow believing women of God…..What an encouragement this entire “Sunday Scripture” and the comments have been to me, today. So many of you facing the hopelessness and life altering challenges of anxiety, depression, physical pain and relationship pain. God blesses us with the ability to stand and pray for one another, even when we don’t know each other personally. But, suffering is something we all, I think, can find in common. I grew up in a family where my first memory, at the age of 2, is laying in my sister’s lap (who was 9) while on a trip—then being involved in a horrific car crash where she and the driver were killed. My life after that was such that I quickly learned I could not share with others the reality of the family in which I lived. There was abuse of every kind and my father was actually psychotic and enjoyed torturing myself and my younger brother. My mother took us to church every Sunday and I would come home and the constant fear of what might happen next rushed back into my child’s mind and body——-BUT, for some reason, I knew there was a God who sent His only son to give his life for ‘me’ (?). In the child’s mind how can you put together the facts of your situation and the believed knowledge that Jesus loved me. My life story is way too long and painful for recounting here but I have always known that He was there for me—–realizing after I married and started studying the Bible that Christ had actually been my father during all those years of suffering. I have had many productive years—good years—only because of God’s provision. I raised 3 sons who are great husbands and fathers—–2 which have personal relationships with Our Savior. But, in these last 5 years (I am now 65) nightmares presented themselves which placed the horrible anxiety and depression of my youth back into my world. They have not responded to several treatments and medication just seems to keep me going—–but not thriving like I use to feel. I truly could not make it from morning to night, somedays, without His total provision of each minute. Reading this scripture, today, reminds me that what I lived,remember and feel are seen and what God formed within my mother’s womb are what I need to focus on as the unseen promise that one day I will look into His glorious face and all will be revealed. So, after writing way too much, I fear—–please pray for me to be able to ‘feel’ His presence more and that I will come out from under the thoughts that I am just the resident mentally ill member of my family. I want to feel recovered again and a be actively giving to my family and others, instead of just making it from one minute to the next. I apologize for the length of this but ask, in knowing, that you will pray for me as I will re-read this, frequently, and pray for each of you.
How brave you are. Thank-you for sharing your heart ache, pain, and suffering with us today. I am so sorry for what you endured as a child. I pray with all my heart that all will be well, and that you will find peace and joy.
blessings to you,
“Several treatments and medication” will not help. Find a wonderful Christian counsellor that will help you to walk through the pain of the past, face it head on and then move forward. There is a saying, “Emotions (feelings) buried alive will never die.” You don’t want to medicate, you want to eradicate. It takes courage. It takes commitment. It takes strength. It may take time but NEVER QUIT. Hang onto Jesus’s hand as old memories come up. Be proactive. Step out in faith. Make sure your counsellor is a Bible believer. I too went through some very traumatic situations growing up and later. I pulled out all the stops and stepped up to the plate and faced the past. It was challenging to say the least but I refused to slip things under the rug. My counsellor helped me to give it all to Jesus. “Come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden.” Boy! Did I have a lot of “stuff’ buried. It’s been dug up and removed. In its place, I planted a garden of peace. The Prince of Peace lives there. God bless.
I just want to take a moment to thank you for writing your reality, specifically as it pertains to mental illness. I’m 25 years old and have been battling depression and anxiety for about 14 years now. My mom was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease (a genetic disease at that) when I was 11 years old and it slowly stole her ability to eat, speak, reason, and walk over the course of her 10 year battle. This battle took place during my adolescent years and I ended up having to be a caregiver alongside my grandma and brother as my dad had to work many hours just so we could have a home and food on the table. We moved multiple times, downsizing within the same town because of medical bills. My dad treated me more as his personal counselor as he dealt with my mom’s slow deterioration and has dealt with mental illness of his own, though it has gone undiagnosed. I never knew what version I was going to get of him ever day. I also dealt with bad panic attacks alongside depression in high school and didn’t take anything for them because of the stigma in my church about taking medication to deal with mental illness. After my mom died in 2011, I found myself back at college less than 3 weeks after she passed and by the Spring had a breakdown that left me unable to function at school. This was largely a result of losing .my mom of course as well as my dad moving half way across the country mere months later. So I moved home, went on medication and then went off again only a month later because I again felt the shame about needing it. Needless to say, January 2015 rolled around and after being encouraged by a friend and leaving my home church in search of a new one I decided to go back on medication. The last year and a half I have felt better and more clear- headed, but also unable to feel as deeply as I have in the past. It just numbed me out more than I would have liked. I am a writer as well and this has frustrated me as so much of writing is the passion and feeling behind what you write about and the ability to be inspired. I felt like I lost that when I went on medication. Very recently I have gone back off of it and I’ve had a bad last couple of days. It’s hard because old memories and hardships have hit me like a tidal wave again, and even though that allows me to work through what’s there, it’s almost been too much to bear having those things come up again. After reading the comments here, I have been so encouraged in the fact that I am not alone. Sometimes I feel like I’m 25 years old going on 100 and looking back it has just been such a long road. I’m realizing as well that much of my experiences have left me feeling spiritually orphaned. I’m working through this, but it can be hard to remember the voice of my loving Father in Heaven. I need a fresh revelation of my daughter-ship. That there’s a seat at the table for me as there is for every single person here. I don’t know any of you personally, but know that I am absolutely praying for you. Alia, thank you for bringing us together with your vulnerability and your words.
Alia Hagenbach says
Sabrina, that is so so much sweet girl. So much burden and so much pain and when you add shame to it, it becomes almost unbearable. I’m so sorry you’ve gone through all of that and often had to do it feeling alone and even more isolated. There is no shame in getting the help you need and that help and healing comes in many different forms for different people. There is no one size fits all, no timeframe to grief, no magic pill that will work for everyone exactly the same way. It is in so many ways, a constant journeying through the pain, grief, and illness to find the combination of things that help you. I’m so glad you are realizing you’re not alone because truly that’s some of the hardest parts of mental illness and grief. The absolute feelings of isolation as you go through them. You are not alone. Even when you cannot feel it, God is still good and merciful and kind. He upholds you and loves you and does not look at you as less than because you may need help from an antidepressant. Some of my medications are an absolute answer to prayer because without them I don’t know if I would survive. My brain doesn’t work the way others do. And there are many who know mental illness and this pain and who walk this road in faith and obedience and love God but also need to be on medication. God may choose to heal me or he may choose to touch me with the gift of a good psychiatrist and the right combination of meds. I give thanks for it all in whatever form it takes. I will pray for you today that if you need it you will find the right combination of medication to help you battle the depression and also to feel passion and life and inspiration and that either way, you would know the loving mercy of God especially close as you heal.
Thank you so much for your encouragement and prayers, Alia. God is so good in connecting us with others who can speak to the dark valleys we’re going through because they’ve gone through them themselves. The times that he has put others in my path who have walked a similar road of mental illness and discouragement have been the sweetest reminders that he does indeed see us and desires healing for us. Praying for you as well. I always appreciate your honesty, vulnerability, and your ability to write your reality. Your blog has been a source of comfort for me during some really dark times. Thank you!
Thank you for allowing the LORD to use you and the incourage ministry to touch so many lives.
My forever boyfriend of 28 years, dating and 22.5 married, has left me. He says he doesn’t love me, is not in love with me any longer.
We are a Christian couple, and this came as a complete blindside to me.
He is moving forward with the divorce.
I love him with all my heart.
Please pray for the Lord to bless my husband’s job and our financial situation. We have two kids, and I am a stay at home mama. Thank you.
I’m a single mom, and have fought for years to keep my son safe from his alcoholic father (who is also a lawyer). The fight is amping up again – my son is 13, telling me his dad is abusing multiple substances, and drove intoxicated 4-5 times during most recent visitation. I’m a very peaceful non contentious person, so I hate this, but I have to do what I can to protect my son. He’s my heart. Please pray for his protection- physical and emotional. Pray for me not to feel so terribly alone. Thank you!
May the Good LORD cover all these requests with His Unfailing Love for all in Christ. Please pray for my whole family’s health and for the LORD’s clear direction regarding the best treatments in Jesus’ Precious Name. Thanks, praise and glory be to God, the Father in Christ!