The Lord will send his faithful love by day; his song will be with me in the night—a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42:8 CSB
FULLNESS OF LIFE
This month’s Oasis of Hope explores the possibility of experiencing the fullness of life. What does that look like? Does it mean we are full of energy and happy all the time? Definietly not. Sometimes we don’t have much energy and are not always feeling happy.
What does it mean to experience fullness of life? We all probably have different ideas as to what it includes. Surely it would include hope, peace, joy, comfort, curiosity, gratitude…. The list could go on.
Maybe it includes being fully present in the moment, acknowledging our feelings and thoughts throughout the day. It is so easy to rush through our days and forget to stop, observe, give thanks and rest a minute. It’s hard to experience fullness of life if we are constantly stressed, always thinking about the next thing coming up.
And for caregivers or those with chronic illness, it often seems impossible. Days can run into each other and pain and exhaustion can set in, and we’re overwhelmed and depressed. But there is still a way to experience fullness of life, if we turn to God, remembering His great love for us.
EXPERIENCE FULLNESS OF LIFE: LOVE AND JOY
God’s great love gives us joy in life. These lines from the last verse of Michael Card’s song, Chorus of Faith, give an illustration of this faithful love of God:
He loves us with passion without regret; He cannot love more and will not love less.
God has showered this great love on us and we are told in Romans 8:38-39 that nothing can separate us from His love. We may not always feel His presence or see how He is working, but we can be sure that He is with us. And even in the midst of our pain, suffering and struggles, we can experience fullness of life with a joy that goes beyond happiness. It is a deep-seated joy in knowing that God is in control and ultimately we will be with him in a paradise that far exceeds our suffering and pain.
You reveal the path of life to me;
in your presence is abundant joy;
at your right hand are eternal pleasures.
Psalm 16:11 CSB
While the hardships don’t disappear, we can face them with His strength. And even in the middle of the struggle we can stop and find a small thing for which we can be grateful. Focusing on encouraging scriptures or breathing a short prayer can help us when we are feeling overwhelmed in the moment. Taking a few minutes to acknowledge the struggle and thanking God for His presence with us, might enable us to relax and reframe the moment, returning to the task at hand with a refreshed focus.
EXPERIENCE FULLNESS OF LIFE EVEN IN DAILY STRUGGLES
Join Dr. Terry Powell in Depression in Marriage • Walking Alongside a Depressed Spouse. Here he shares how his dear wife continues to show unconditional love and compassion during his bouts with depression. Though this post is about depression in a spouse, the principles shared can be used by any of us to encourage and walk alongside friends and loved ones who struggle with depression. Sometimes God shows us His love and care through other people. By relying on Him we can experience fullness of life and also encourage others along the way.
In Refuge • Finding God’s Upholding Strength • Devotional, Bettie Gilbert shares how in her weakness she found strength. She also includes reflection questions and prayers which you can also pray. Reading her story and praying along may even help you as you seek to experience fullness of life.
Even in grief, we can experience fullness of life, when we focus on what the Lord has done and is doing for us. In Grieving with Hope • Journaling, Poetry and Lament, Gayl Wright shares how reading the Psalms, writing poetry, journaling and lament helped her find joy and peace after the death of her oldest son. She also includes reflection questions and tips for writing a poem.
Join Sarah Walton with His Strength is Greater than My Pain and Affliction, as she reminds us of God’s love, shown by His own suffering. She says, “We have a God with nail marks in His hands….He not only understands but strengthens us when we are weak, equips us when we are weary. And He brings beauty out of our brokenness.”
IN THIS ISSUE
In this issue of Oasis of Hope, we hope you will find comfort and joy in the midst of your suffering and pain as you read or listen to these inspiring articles. It is our prayer that you experience the fullness of life as you cry out to Jesus and lean on Him, the One who sees, knows and understands.
- Depression in Marriage • Walking Alongside a Depressed Spouse by Dr. Terry Powell
- Refuge • Finding God’s Upholding Strength • Devotional by Bettie Gilbert
- Grieving with Hope • Journaling, Poetry and Lament by Gayl Wright
- His Strength is Greater than My Pain and Affliction by Sarah Walton
Our Lord tells us in His Word that HE will hold us and he will sustain us. Even to our old age and grey hairs, he is longing to lift us up and bring the true refuge we so desperately need. He will hold every prayer that we lift to him. As we pause with these prayer prompts, we can hear the whisper of our God, calling us to find refuge in his upholding strength.
Affliction will be my close companion, it would seem, through this life. But when she tempts me to despair, I have a God who understands, cares, and helps. And He will use her to keep me His and mold me into His likeness. His strength is greater than my pain.