You will not die, but live: God's good plan will unfold
Monday, August 14, 2017 at 9:08AM
EEW BUZZ EDITORS in Beauty for Ashes, Blessings, EEW Online Magazine, God's word, Lakeisha Rainey-Collins, black women's magazines, depression, eew magazine, faith, live not die, lost joy, trust

"Despite how bad it hurts, how dark the day, how heavy the burden, the Lord has plans to give you a future and a hope; Jeremiah 29:11 really is true."

  Share Photo Credit: Getty/Blend Images JGI/Tom GrillArticle By LaKeisha Rainey-Collins

  I often reflect on the times when I was nothing more than a hopeless woman wandering aimlessly through life, while broken, battered, and bruised.  I never thought I’d break free from that cage of despair.

Whenever I recall the miraculous work the Lord has done, and continues to do, in me, I can’t help but lift my hands and utter Thank You, Jesus from a heart overwhelmed with gratitude.

I know very well what it’s like to feel broken beyond repair.

Life made me believe that I was cursed with a curse.  It seemed like I couldn’t win for losing, and every time I thought things couldn’t get worse, I was proven wrong.  Every time I’d slightly convince myself that I could make it through to better days, something would happen to crush my hope.  It was like each small glimpse of sunshine I’d find was quickly clouded by gloom.  It was emotionally exhausting and I often felt like I was losing my mind. 

There were times when I couldn’t leave my house because the tears wouldn’t stop flowing; days when strength to get out of bed was non-existent; moments when I thought I’d have a mental breakdown; and periods of not knowing whether I was coming or going.

I had sunken so low, and become so accustomed to my hard-knock life, that when I finally reached a place where I wanted to get a grip on my downward spiral, it proved to be too challenging.  Praying was easy, but believing that I’d ever actually see the answers to my pleas for help, hope, and healing was extremely difficult. Constantly being knocked down by the blows and disappointments of life caused me to believe that giving up and accepting that things were as good as they would ever be, would be much easier than walking a path of faith that seemed to get me nowhere close to my land flowing with milk and honey. The more depressed I became, the more I convinced myself that I’d be better off throwing in the towel. 

I could not understand how all of the pain and anguish in my life could work together for my good, as Romans 8:28 encourages; neither could I believe any parts of Jeremiah 29:11, which says God had good plans for me. All I could see was what appeared to be a jacked up life that had no purpose.  I sometimes even battled with thoughts of suicide, and honestly believed that I would die in my brokenness. I wanted to give up on life, because living when all I ever seemed to experience was defeat made absolutely no sense.

Deep down inside, I knew better, but reality has a way of making faith seem like such a joke.

I didn’t really have the courage to reach out for help, so even when all I had to speak for me were my tears, day after day I would cry out to the Lord for help. Right in the middle of my despair, in the midst of all my brokenness, His love and His word found me.  He spoke to me so profoundly in Psalm 118:17.  It says, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.”   I embedded that scripture in my heart, and I meditated on it day and night, until I became convinced of its truth.

When the enemy told me to self-destruct, I told him I will not die, but live.

When my problems overwhelmed me, I told myself I will not die, but live.

When depression backed me into a dark corner, I proclaimed I will not die, but live.

Even when my faith wavered, I spoke God’s Word over myself and by the grace of God, its power became manifest in me. 

I did not perish in my pain, and since God has no respect of persons, neither will you.

Though it often seems differently, God did will not allow your afflictions to destroy you.  I love what 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” Trouble, pain, disappointment, and such is inevitable, but defeat is never your destiny. It is the enemy who convinces you to believe that you will drown in your sorrow, but he is a liar.

I don’t know what you are facing right now, but I do know this -- The pain is not to kill you, the fire is not to burn you, and the raging sea is not to drown you.  It is not unto death.  Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).   It is the thief, the enemy, that comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but he cannot take what belongs to the Lord.  And because you have been bought with a price, you are God’s property.  Though the enemy desires to sift you as wheat, he does not possess the power to prosper in his attacks against you. 

Despite how bad it hurts, how dark the day, how heavy the burden, the Lord has plans to give you a future and a hope; Jeremiah 29:11 really is true.  If you just hang in there, you will witness the Lord’s promise to perfect every single thing that concerns you (Psalm 138:8).   You’ll soon look back and see how the Lord’s mercy endured in your life, and proclaim His goodness forever.

Your right now pales in comparison to your future.  2 Corinthians 4:17 says it best, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 

You cannot give up; it gets better, my friend.

Consider Hannah.  If she had allowed her years of barrenness to cause her to give up on her desire to bare children, she never would have experienced the joy of birthing Samuel (1 Samuel 1:1-28).

Consider the woman with the issue of blood.  After twelve years of hemorrhaging and spending all her money trying to find a cure that was of no avail, she could have given up and accepted that there was no hope for her ever being healed. But she didn’t. She kept the faith and pressed her way to Jesus. Because she didn’t give up, she was made whole (Mark 5:25-35).

Consider Job.  He lost everything he had, and was sorely afflicted from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet.  He could have cursed God and died during his challenging season; instead, he decided to fight through it, and wait until his change came.  Because he never gave up, the Lord fully restored him and gave him double for His trouble (Job 42:10-17).

Don’t lose hope. It looks bleak right now, but God is indeed faithful. His good plans for your life are sure to unfold.

Read last week's blog: Feeling less than beautiful? You're looking in the wrong mirror

LaKeisha Rainey Collins is an Mobile, Alabama-based wife, mom of three boys and one girl, Founder of Beauty for Ashes, Inc. and author of two books -- Beautiful Me and My Baby Has Wings. Learn more about her here.

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