I’ve never met this lady, but I read a post on a Facebook group (Helpers of Joy) that was written by her. I can’t really explain how much her words touched my heart, but I read it over and over and over. I shared it with so many people. It spoke of exactly what my heart was feeling. I loved it so much because it was beautifully written, but also because it is poignantly true. I messaged her and asked if she would mind sharing it here. I’m so thankful for ladies who obey the Lord and are able to touch a heart clear across the world. Thank you Katie for your words, your work in the Lord and for allowing me to share part of your story here!
We live right on the Black Sea in Varna, Bulgaria. We can see her from our back porch and the balcony of our bedroom every day. Looking out on the sea, it has made me wonder out loud more than once how people could not believe in God! It must be a choice not to, as the glory of Creation speaks so loudly of an amazing Creator.
I have learned many things about the sea after living near her for these past fourteen years, and I have come to love her very much. The one thought I want to focus on in this article is that she is never the same, yet she is always the same.
Some days the sea is so clear; we can see for yards and yards the shallow beach
underneath, and the sky above her is crisp and blue. Some days it is hard to separate her from the heavens as the colors are so close they blend into one hazy blue. Some days she is moody and stormy, throwing up white caps that threaten to turn into huge waves that will overtake the ships brave enough to sail on her waters. Some days she is quiet and calm, bringing peace to all who will sit and watch her for a bit. In all her moods and all her changes, however, she is still one thing that never changes. She is still the sea. The beautiful, terrifying, awesome Black Sea that I have come to love so much.
There is one mood, however, that I do not particularly love, and that is the one I call The Curtain. On these days, the sea is hidden completely. A wall of fog will come down and surround the waters so thickly, that I cannot even tell there is a sea behind that wall. I know she is there; the beaches surrounding her testify to that fact. My memory of seeing her waters and her waves remind me she is there. But I cannot see her.
The beautiful sea many times has reminded me of my journey through life with God. I have known Jesus as my Saviour for 23 years now; that’s a lot of memories, a lot of experiences of seeing Him work, sensing His presence, watching His handiwork everywhere I look and knowing He was with me. Of course there have been many ups and downs. There have been trials when I have grieved and hurt, but I knew He was there. There have been victories when it was sunny and shining, and I knew He was there. There have been many clear days of peace and calm waves, and I knew He was there. But from time to time, I have also faced the terrifying wall, the curtain that has gone up, when I could not sense Him there. Having His presence during emotional highs has been nice; but that does not motivate me. All good comes from Him, and the more good there is, the more obvious He is. Dark valleys are difficult and painful, lonely and sad, but He is found there in deeper and more unique ways than any other life experiences I have faced; I’ve come to appreciate the “house of mourning” in many ways. Our every-day life has me sensing Him in so many ways, from our childrens’ eyes shining with the light of life to the produce and meat He has allowed to be grown, sold, provided money for us to buy, and so much more. Even when I have backslidden and sense a distance between my Saviour and me, it is comforting to know that when I am ready to surrender, He is patiently waiting.
All of these “moods” of our Saviour are part of His personality that I have learned a little about through the years. There is one “mood” that I have experienced, however, that has taught me more than any other, and that is His silence. A curtain, so to speak, that He puts up, for reasons of His own choosing. I search for Him and feel He cannot be found. I desire to grow, and find myself feeling alone. It feels I have a one-sided relationship when I so long for a connection.
Genesis 39-41 has been a comfort and helped me through these lonely days. God chose grief, struggle, loneliness, rejection, and a whole lot more for Joseph. Joseph, a seriousminded young man. Not rebellious, not seeking the world; he loved his father, he obeyed, he wanted to do right, and he did, no matter what the circumstance. But surely during his enslavement and imprisonment, he faced days such as these, days when God could not be seen or felt. The facts are, though, that God being real and present have nothing to do with Him being seen or felt by me. He was and is working, constantly, no matter how my emotions or feelings perceive Him. He can be much like that curtain of fog that is simply hiding the majesty and power of the great Black Sea. And it is during these foggy times that my faith in Him is tested, and shows who I really am as a Christian; how much I truly believe in Him, whether I trust Him or not, whether I will walk on in faith, not knowing if I will sense Him again in the future. It is a chance for me to claim His Word and cling to His promises and truths that are written within.
I do believe God has a place for feelings and emotions as He created them in us. I do believe He enjoys pouring out blessings and watching our enjoyment as He spoils us. I do believe He thrills in drawing close during grief and comforting as only He can. But maybe His “curtain mood”, His withdrawal, brings Him the greatest pleasure, when a child of God such as a Job or a Joseph or a Daniel has the sense of His presence removed, and yet, in faith, trusts Him fully, and goes forward for Him. Are you facing “The Curtain” today? Find His promises in His Word and claim them! Trust Him that this, too, shall pass; that the fog will lift, and one day soon you will see Him more clearly and more beautifully than ever before. I promise you, it will happen; because His Word is true, and that, I can count on more than any feeling or emotion I ever have experienced or will experience!
Our God is much like our Black Sea; He is sensed daily in a unique way, but He is always, always the same. And that, friend, is worth putting your trust in, for salvation and eternity, yes, but even more, for every day that He gives you in this life.
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
Katie and her husband are missionaries to Varna, Bulgaria where they serve the Lord there with their children.