“To trust God in the light is nothing but trust him in the dark – that is faith.” C H Spurgeon
It had been almost thirty years since I let go of religious efforts to please God and accepted His saving grace. All my young life I went to Sunday school and church, learning stories and songs about Jesus without ever really knowing Him. I believed in my head and wanted to please Him but had no idea how. When I was 27, a wife and mother of one with another on the way, a neighbor invited me to a Bible study. Since it fit well with my vision for my life, I was eager to join. Within a few short weeks, I heard God speak personally to my heart and responded to His call for me to be born again and become His child. Immediately I was deeply aware the struggle and striving to know and please Him was over. I was loved, forgiven, and accepted. Together, Jesus and I embarked on a lifetime journey of growing in personal relationship. From the very beginning I decided the word of God would be my guidebook for life. It is my daily bread, and I have been privileged to teach Bible to women for many years. Life was full and challenging in the years of raising four children but God was faithful, and His guidebook never failed to meet me with wisdom, guidance and instruction. Day by day, year-by-year, I tried and tested the promises and principles of God’s word and found He was trustworthy and true.
But then the day came when the light went out in our lives, and the darkness closed in. On a glorious October afternoon in 2010, my husband came home in the middle of the day and told me he had something to tell me. One look at his face and I knew something was horribly wrong. He whispered softly, “We have lost James, today.” James was our only son. He was 27 years old, living and working in Africa. We would later learn that he died of acute pneumonia. He never knew he was seriously sick and never received treatment.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
He was indeed near. During the first few months, I experienced a precious closeness as I clung to Him for survival in the sea of sorrow and grief. After several months the fog began to lift and the reality of loss grew more pronounced. This was when I found myself slipping into the miry pit of doubt, despair, and deep darkness. This is when questions would creep in and taunt me. I started to ask, “Where were you Lord?” “Why Lord?” “What about prayers for protection and promises you gave me?” “Did you hear when I cried? “Do you care how painful this is?”
One day while scrambling for some word of hope to hold on to, I read this verse.
“Thy name is an ointment poured forth.” (Ecclesiastes 1:3)
I was desperate for a healing ointment to smear across my heart. I decided, “If your name is healing salve, I am going to cover my broken heart and exhausted mind with your names and test their healing power.” What did I have to lose?
At the core of my sorrow were some questions I would have to settle with Him. The decision to be vulnerable and expose my doubts and fears was deliberate… and scary. In all honesty, what if I discovered I was wrong about my Heavenly Father whom I loved and trusted?
- Is God trustworthy even when we cannot explain or understand His ways?
- Is He the same God in the dark we trusted and relied on in the light?
- Does He really love me yet allow me to encounter suffering and sorrow?
I placed my hand in the hand of Jesus and begged Him to teach me to trust His names as my source of healing and hope. He did not disappoint. I started to study the names of God as revealed in the Bible. I read and reread about the people and places and predicaments they were in when God would appear to them. In every instance in Scripture when God revealed another facet of His character the person was in a place of personal crisis. When we find ourselves in places we have never been before and unsure of what to do or where to go, we are often open and more teachable.
The names I studied were eventually used to teach a class of women, and that study became the content for my book, “Becoming A Woman Who Calls God By Name.” By studying His names, I was able to identify with other followers who dared to confront misplaced expectations, who were willing to say, “I don’t understand what you are doing in my life, Lord.”
Knowing His names allowed me to make brand new discoveries about Him and revealed deeper insights into His divine character. The more I searched His Word, the more I began to believe He was the only source of certain supply for my every need. With each name my faith was strengthened and the foundation of my relationship with Jehovah God was reinforced. His names confirmed God was indeed trustworthy and true. Now I want to encourage you to deepen and strengthen your personal relationship with God Almighty by embracing the invitation to know His names.
“And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” (Psalm 30:4)
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