"Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell." Psalm 43:3 (NIV)
“Do you know which pill to take tonight?” I hold out Dad’s medicine container.
Dad studies it, brow furrowed. “This is Tuesday night? So I take …” He points to a blue compartment. “This one?”
“Yes!” We share a triumphant smile, reveling in this small victory over his failing memory.
Dad walks me to the door of his house, the little place we built for him behind our house. I drop a goodnight kiss on his cheek, and when he opens the door, darkness greets us. “Hey, Dad, can you turn on your porch light till I get inside?”
His expression brightens. “I’d love to do that for you.” And in his enthusiasm, I hear the sentiment he can no longer express: I’m delighted to take care of you for a change — the way I used to.
I walk across the yard, my path bright. When I reach my door, I wave to Dad, and his light blinks off. My eyes are blurred with tears, but I’m not just sad … I’m thankful. Memory-filled. Because even though Dad’s dementia is progressing, God keeps giving us precious, don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-them connections like this, moments when Dad is still Dad. When his love breaks the chains of his disease.
I’ve learned to look for these moments — to pause, linger, savor — because not only do they help me feel my earthly father’s love, but they also help me feel my heavenly Father’s love. They remind me that even in heartache, God is with us.
A psalmist wrote this poignant prayer in God's Word that helps us seek His love in dark times:
“Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight” (Psalm 43:2c-4a, NIV).
When heartache strikes, we can ask our Father to lead us. And where does His loving light point us? To His mountain, His altar. To relationship with Him, a relationship radiating joy and delight.
That’s a comforting thought, yet when we’re walking a not-so-comforting path — loneliness, loss, debt, disease — it can be difficult to see God’s light or feel His presence. We inch forward, dodging shadows. Eyes glued to the ground, we see only rocks and divots and dangers. Consumed by worry and fear, we don’t notice our Father quietly shining His light behind us, keeping watch till we’re safely inside.
The psalmist expressed a similar inner conflict. He asked God to lead him, but in his next breath, he poured out a contradictory jumble of feelings:
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 43:5, NIV).
He was basically saying, “I do trust God … but I still feel sad and confused … and that confuses me!” Can’t we all relate to this struggle? When life gets challenging, our feelings and our faith may disagree! But the psalmist fought through his feelings to reclaim his faith. He deliberately put his hope in God’s care.
And what does putting our hope in God look like? It often begins simply: by asking God to help us see His love at work. Because even when our path is littered with obstacles, our faithful Father is working, guiding us to solid footing. If you pay attention, you’ll begin to notice the many ways His love is piercing the darkness, lighting your way.
Maybe He prompts a friend to text you at just the right moment.
Maybe He guides you to a scripture that bolsters your courage.
Maybe He helps your money stretch just far enough.
When we look ahead with eyes of faith, we see our Father keeping watch over our steps, beating back the darkness with enough light — and love — to help us find our way home.
Father, thank You for being ever faithful. My hope is in You. Please open my eyes so I can see all the ways You are caring for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Elizabeth Laing Thompson’s book When God Says “Wait” helps you navigate painful times with a faithful perspective. Get your copy today!
Elizabeth loves helping other women find hope in heartache. Connect with her on Instagram and on her website.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 56:13, "For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light" (NLT).
What helps you see God’s love at work in your daily life? How has He cared for you lately? Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2023 by Elizabeth Laing Thompson. All rights reserved.
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