She, my friend, had found that verse to be a source of great encouragement during her own spiritual crisis and out of her empathy--and her talent--she passed that encouragement on to me. This particular spiritual crisis was deeply painful to me and left me feeling weak and fretful, insecure and anxious. My heart had been broken and I could not escape the grief that accompanied leaving our church family of thirteen years. Though I trusted the Lord's sovereignty and was fully confident that this was what was required of us, it was a sharp and painful disagreement, to be sure, that led to our parting of ways. It was hard. It hurt. I grieved.
During those days I honestly couldn't decide which was the more difficult: to trust the Lord or to do good. I knew the Lord was strong and faithful but leaving our church, beginning a new plant, all seemed a little too risky. Will He show Himself faithful on our behalf? Are we crazy to chance this leap of faith? I wondered, and yes, I doubted. Even as our conviction grew, my doubts sometimes loomed even larger.
And to do good? What about those who hurt me, the ugly emails, the vicious rumors, the anonymous letter? What about the reproach and loss of reputation we would now bear? I didn't want to do good, not in certain instances, and the challenge of Psalm 37:3 revealed this insidious root of bitterness and anger that sought to consume me.
Despite my doubts and my reluctance to do good the Lord has been faithful. Even when we are faithless He will be faithful, yes and amen! He has done more than we could ask or imagine and I am humbled by His gracious providence and His glorious plan. It is my joy to boast in Him for it has been the Lord's work from the beginning, glory to His name!
I do not forget, though, from whence He has brought me. I was talking to a friend just this week who is enduring her own spiritual crisis and struggling to trust the Lord and to do good. With heart breaking on her behalf, I told her what my friend told me. I've also sent a bookmark (courtesy of my friend the artist) to another sister enduring a similar heartache. Maybe you too find it difficult to believe, to hope. Let me encourage you: trust Him. Do good.
Trust in the Lord when you can't see what He's doing and when you are tempted to doubt His good, perfect, and acceptable provision. Remember the gospel and remind yourself that He who has given you His Son will also in Him freely give you all things. All things! Nothing can separate you from His love, that love He demonstrates at the cross of Christ. He sees. He knows. He hears. He answers. He works it all out and you will--you will!--see His glory as you trust Him in humble surrender. You can endure these light and momentary troubles because an eternal weight of glory awaits!
And yes, do good, even when it hurts, when you feel that bitterness seeking a stranglehold in your heart, when you are afraid your efforts will be misunderstood, mischaracterized and maligned. In humility love and serve whomever the Lord puts in your path--those who are with you and those who may be opposed to you. Remember Jesus who endured such hostility from evil men and be encouraged to not grow weary in doing good. Recall the riches of His grace that He has lavished on you and be a conduit of that same grace as you seek the good of others through the power and provision of the Spirit within you. You can't but Christ can.
Are you enduring a season of heartache and struggle? Does your heart well up in grief and pain? Are you shaken by difficulties and doubt? What encouragement my friend sent to me I now pass to you: Trust the Lord. Pour out your heart before Him. Take it to Him and leave it in His all powerful hands. Your good and His glory are at stake and He is faithful. And yes, you can do good even to those who may hurt and malign you--how? Because He is good and He is sovereign.
Trust Him, sister. Do good. In the end, He will show Himself faithful in ways yet unimagined, glory to His name...