I was brought up in church and on the words of God, and so, naturally, when I need inspiration, whether to motivate me through a good day, or comfort me through dark times, I find myself turning to the Bible. Throughout my life, I have kept journals of quotes, sermon notes, and Bible verses that are especially meaningful to me. The following are some of the Bible verses that have inspired me in my darkest times.
Isaiah 25:4 (New International Version)
4 You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.
This verse has fit in many situations of my life, but perhaps the words “shelter from the storm” were most meaningful when Hurricane Katrina ravaged my hometown. In the midst of one of the worst natural disasters, with countless lives lost, neighborhoods destroyed, and schools closed, these words never meant more than when forty members of my church met in the muddy parking lot where our church formerly stood. And there in the parking lot, they worshiped God and thanked Him for providing shelter from the storm. Hurricane Katrina was a physical storm, but God also offers shelter from the emotional storms of life. God also sheltered me when I faced the storm of divorce and the emotional pain that followed.
Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Anxiety ‘” a pretty common word in my family. I have suffered with anxiety about the unknown, the what if’s, and the if only’s. I am anxious about the things I can’t understand, and to be honest, those things I can’t control. But this verse reminds me that I am not called to be anxious, but rather to trust in God. This verse has become my mantra as I let go of my control and accept the peace God offers instead.
Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
My daughter picked this has her life verse one year, and it is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It has carried me through times when all my plans have fallen through, and I don’t know which way to turn. Somehow, something greater is always just around the corner, unexpected and better than anything I could dream for myself. Last year, I faced a crossroads in my life when the career path I was on suddenly hit a roadblock. I didn’t’t know which way to go, but doors began to open and soon I found myself in graduate school, completing a degree I had wanted for a long time. This led to a wonderful teaching position that has fulfilled me like no other job ever has. I found hope and a bright future I had never envisioned.
Romans 8:28 (New International Version)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
I view life as a sort of puzzle, I don’t always know why things happen, but later, looking back I can see how everything worked out to complete the picture. This verse comforts me with the knowledge that although I may not understand why some things happen, even those things that are difficult, painful, or unwanted, as long as I continue to serve God, those things will yield some good in my life. It may be simply that a life lesson is learned. It may be something that I will never realize in this life, but that ultimately it serves God’s greater purpose.
Revelation 21:4 (New International Version)
4 ‘ËœHe will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death'[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
One of the greatest tragedies in my life, was the five month period in which my father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, and succumbed to it. In between taking him to radiation treatments, several brain operations, chemo and finally those last painful two weeks while he was unconscious and in hospice care, I questioned God. Why would He allow this to happen to my 64 year old amazing father? He was so full of life, and faith, and physically strong. The truth is that we live in a natural world and as such, we have to experience the natural consequences. Cells mutate. Hearts stop beating. Cars crash. Hurricanes and tornadoes and floods destroy. And through it all, we have the hope that one day the physical world will be transformed into the spiritual world, a place where fear, death, pain and tears no longer exist. Even as I wept over every step of my father’s journey with cancer, as I still cry from the longing to hear his voice or for him to see his grandchildren growing up, even through the tears, this verse inspires me that it is only for a season.