Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6)
For over a year after I went on disability, I battled crippling depression. There were many days in which I felt doomed to live in darkness for the rest of my life. Hope is a precious commodity, and it was in short supply during those dark days.
Then I read this verse (Psalm 85:6). To be revived again. What a hope that offers! And it is a hope based in reality. I thought of the ways God had revived me in the past.
When my Grandmother Roberts died, and I felt lost and alone, I found purpose in playing sports and writing stories.
After college, when I was grieving the loss of friendships and searching for direction, God called me to seminary where I formed valued relationships and gained renewed vision.
In my last year of seminary, when I was struggling to decide whether to leave for an internship or finish out the year, I worried about entering ministry alone and longed for a life– partner. Through prayer and Scriptural guidance, I decided to stay and within a week met Alice, who became my wife.
After seminary, when I was struggling through a chaplaincy internship and feeling uncertain of my call, God blessed us with expectant hope in the conception of our first child, and I was motivated to seek and receive a call to a local church.
Time and again, I have been lifted up from dark periods, set down on level paths. For God to revive me again, I reminded myself, would be entirely consistent with the divine character I’ve grown to know and love. This hope is based not on wishful thinking, but lived experience.
Even now, writing this many miles separated from my wife and children, I give thanks to God for reviving me through writing. As I reflect on God’s ways and put into words my experience as a child of God, I become more connected – both to other people who read my work, and (more importantly) to God, who revives me through the Word that is eternally encouraging and inspiring.