Thursday, August 24, 2023

Trust the Promise Not the Perception


By: Donna Bucher


“Fear Not, For I am with You”

Isaiah 41:10


As I sat in the dark just before dawn, replaying the conversation over and over in my mind, I felt blind-sided. I never saw this coming. How was I going to walk this journey? I felt enveloped in the darkness, unable to see the next step. Have you ever felt like this when suffering threatens to overwhelm you?


After a season of seemingly endless trials and difficulties I thought things might settle down. In a way, I think something inside me thought I deserved a season of "rest". As if I had done my time, and now my life would be "normal". That is until I faced a trial of faith.


July 16, 1999, J.F. Kennedy Jr.'s single engine plane plunged into the Atlantic Ocean just off Martha's Vineyard. The cause of the crash was labeled "spatial disorientation". He flew into a fog at night and his "perception" was distorted. The fact is, he was never trained to "fly by the instruments". As a result, he trusted in his own perception and perished.

Learning to place confidence in a plane's instruments is no easy task. You are essentially "flying blind" requiring the denial of your own physical perceptions. Most pilots describe this training as one of the most frightening of their careers.

Sometimes when faced with hard trials, our physical perceptions become distorted causing "spiritual disorientation." During this time our perceptions of God, our situation, and even ourselves become unrealistic.

At times we "fly" into a very dark "faith fog". We lose sight of points of reference which previously helped us continue on course. We become spiritually disoriented. Picking up the pieces in the midst of my trial felt exactly the same.


Unable to process my pain, I found no answers to my questions. Where was God anyway?

Suffering in a place of deep darkness and doubt, it seemed as if I experienced an "eclipse" of God. Completely obscured from my sight, God left me in a place filled with a tempest of hopelessness and insecurity.


In the darkness of my trial, my doubts and fears drove me deeper into confusion and isolation. Unable to accurately rely on my own "senses" or even what I perceived as truth. A real crisis of faith, I began questioning my beliefs about God.


In these types of storms, unable to see our way forward, we must learn to trust in the "instruments" of God's promises. We cannot trust our doubt-filled perceptions of reality.

After several weeks I stopped striving and released control. Though I seemed unable to access God, I passed through storms before. I recalled previous times when He taught me in various ways, to trust His promises over my perceptions.


Admittedly, His promises always seemed more reliable that my own thoughts or reality. Now, in this place of suffering, disoriented, and at times overcome with anxiety, I faced a choice: trust my doubt ridden thoughts and perceptions of reality, or turn to His promises.


In the end, my doubts proved wrong. God proved faithful. In fact, though I did not sense His presence, He never left. He shattered the darkness and doubts with the glorious light of His presence. His promises stood firm and transformed my suffering into serenity.


What I perceived as silence and abandonment was the gateway to knowing and trusting God and His promises more deeply. When I perceived my journey as a walk of abandonment, God showed me how to trust what my eyes failed to see.

As I passed from darkness to light, I also passed from silence to strength. My faith had been tested, tried, and remained.



When overwhelmed with suffering, which promises keep you clinging to God?

In what other ways can you stay focused on God’s promises rather than your own perceptions of your suffering?

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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