“O God, if there is a God anywhere, you must make yourself real to me. If you exist and are really what people describe you to be, you can’t leave me like this,”
cried out a nineteen-year old Hannah Hurnard who was suffering both mental and physical anguish.
Hannah’s life was changed in that moment of crisis from someone who was contemplating suicide into someone who would develop the hope, faith and strength to help change many people’s lives through her writing. A sweet friend gave me a copy of Hannah’s book, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, a powerful allegory of her life journey. It is a story of a echoed theme of those who have faced unbearable pain, in some form, and in their time of agony have turned to God and found that times of suffering become the foundation of understanding to their life’s meaning and the means of creating compassion for other people.
Hanna’s moment of crisis is not too far removed from David of the Bible when in Psalm 25:16-18 he writes,
“Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins.”
The thoughts and feelings are so common that at countless memorials with which I was involved chose Psalm 23 which declares:
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
The good news that changed Hannah Hurnard’s life and the lives of countless others is that God listens and God cares and makes Himself real. When in doubt of God’s love for us, we need look no further than the cross of Christ where Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice to save us both from those things which we suffer through on earth, and for life forever with Him in heaven. Psalm 23 ends with:
Surely goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6
Lives are saved, restored and given new meaning and purpose when in that moment of crisis we turn in faith to God and cry out like Hannah did, “you must make yourself real to me.” In the quietness of our hearts and the sincerity of our motives, God is faithful to not only make Himself real, but to turn our lives around, and give us the gifts of joy despite circumstances and peace of heart and mind.