Most of us are familiar with this verse of scripture. If you were raised in any church or Sunday School then you might have gotten a gold star from your teacher for memorizing this and the rest of the 23rd Psalm. How long though, has it been since we took this to heart instead of glossing over it with long familiarity as we humans sometimes do? Was there ever a time in your life when this verse came home to you, epically reminding you that God the Father is in control of supplying our daily needs, not just our physical needs but our emotional, spiritual, and mental health needs as well. All of these are in His hands and he gives to us lovingly and generously according to his plan for our individual lives. All he needs from us is belief and faith in his goodness.
There was a point a few years ago when God allowed circumstances to humble me to a place where I had to be completely dependent upon Him for every need. At the time, I was working as a live-in manager for a small hotel. The long hours, 15 hours a day, and no days off began to take its toll on my mental health. As a sufferer of an illness called Schizoaffective Disorder, I had been prone to bouts of depression and anxiety that sometimes required inpatient treatment. When the owner of the hotel realized my mental state he simultaneously fired me and told me to move everything I had from the premises. With the help of a friend, who stored my belongings and cared for my dog, I went into treatment. It was a therapy-intensive week with medication changes etc. Upon discharge from this facility known as the Crisis Stabilization Unit, I was terrified as there was nowhere for me to go. I spent the last day crying out to God in prayer, terrified of being homeless. Believe me, if you haven’t been there, nothing is more humbling or degrading as knowing that no human being on earth cares enough about you to give you a warm, dry, safe place to sleep.
As I prayed, peace began to steal over me. God loved me enough to provide anything I needed. I had some cash left from my last paycheck. My friend, who was caring for my dog, picked me up. I explained my situation and told her the plan God gave me. I called a campground close to home and reserved a tent space. We shopped for a small tent and sleeping bag and what few essentials I would need. By nighttime, I was set up with basic necessities and had my dog back with me. The first night was scary, but God the Father abided with me… as He abides with each one of us every day of our lives, whether we feel His presence or not. I shed my tears, but he dried them and comforted me. During my darkest times, God has always been there.
One of my favorite quotes from a Christian author is “There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still.” (Corrie Ten Boom.)
All told, I lived in tents for six months though circumstances and locations changed. Honestly, I haven’t had a real home since 2016. I currently live in an old camper without most basics. No, it isn’t easy. Some days it’s hard indeed but no matter where we are, God is in control. He gives us what we need if not what we ask. We, humans, can often get by with much less than we believe we can. So what do I do on the days when everything seems completely intolerable and I feel the weight of burden on my shoulders? I remind myself that this earth is not my home and it never was. Heaven is my home and if you are a child of God it’s your home too no matter how hard or dark our walk on the earth becomes, God is with us every step of the way. Believe Him. He promised and He will never let you down.
I get down on my knees and thank you from the depths of my heart for standing with me through all the dark troubles of my life. Though sometimes I felt alone the truth is that I was not alone and you were with me every step of the way. You ARE the truth and I know I can always count on you to be there whenever I have a need, and even when I don't. You are my constant companion and for that, I am so grateful.
In Jesus' precious name,
Karen Butler Ogle