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God Still Clothes the Lilies, Lesson 3: Hope in God Alone

 Hope in God Alone

Are you pleading with God to bring a change in your circumstance? Have you been praying and believing God for a miracle deliverance but it hasn’t occurred?

The third lesson and action step to implement in seasons of suffering and uncertainty is:

Lesson #3: Hope in God Alone

Our hope and expectation are to be in God alone—not in the government, or insurance, or a doctor, or a spouse, or a business plan, or an investor, or any other human being or human strategy.

Psalm 62:5-7 says,

”My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness and my refuge is in God!” (Psalm 62:5-7, AMPC).

Wait Only Upon . . .

Notice the word “only” in verses five and six:

  • ”My soul, wait only upon God … “
  • “He only is my Rock …”

It was pivotal when I learned this truth years ago.

At the time I had, for the most part, been confined to bed or to my home for four years. The confinement and bodily suffering had become the least excruciating of my ailments. It was the torture in my mind caused by Lyme encephalitis that was the most unbearable.

In the previous post I mentioned that I felt buried alive then — ceilings appeared lower, rooms seemed darker — like a strange, traumatic nightmare. I also felt electrocuted or burned alive, but in my brain where one feels thoughts. As you can see in video footage (especially in the footage in the Life Today interview), I screamed; I writhed; and when the agony intensified, I hit my head almost non-stop as if I could somehow beat back the torturous sensations.

In a futile attempt to spare my family a few decibels of blood-curdling, excruciating sounds, I would sometimes lie down on the floor of a walk-in closet and scream and scream. Other times I was unable to be that sensible about it; the torture was too overwhelming.

For the three years I lived in this condition, I spent my days screaming and crying either on the floor in the closet, on the floor in the bathroom—my head next to the baseboard as if it were going to shield me from the torture in some way—or on the living room floor.

I wanted out. I couldn’t take it. As I’ve mentioned in recordings, interviews, and posts, I begged God to take my life. I pleaded with my family to find something — anything — to ease the agony. I considered taking my life on many occasions. I didn’t want to die … I just wanted the torment to end.

And nothing was bringing any kind of end to the suffering. I tried thousands of medical treatments—traditional … integrative … from within the U.S. … from outside the U.S. Nothing brought any kind of lasting improvements.

Including the physicians I saw for diagnosis and those who consulted on my case after diagnosis, I saw or had input from hundreds of physicians, many of them renowned.

At times I would improve for a couple of weeks, like the time I went to a hospital in Mexico or when I first began intravenous antibiotics. But soon every drop of improvement evaporated, leaving no trace of its existence. Hope once again faded.

My family desperately tried anything that had a chance of helping me. Cabinets were filled with prescriptions, vitamins, herbs, and protocols of all kinds. Intravenous medication poles were spread throughout the house, often holding multiple bags and bottles.

The hyperbaric oxygen chamber (shown in the overview video of my story) was actually in my house. Connections to medical doctors made that and countless other rare treatments possible.

Yet none of it—not a single solitary bit of it—made any lasting difference.

Can you see where God was headed with this? Why He was allowing nothing to help? Ultimately He was forcing me into a place where my hope and expectation would have to rest in Him alone.

I was married at the time—and in my youth and spiritual immaturity, I leaned on my spouse emotionally, I depended on him entirely too much. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was putting my hope and expectation in him.

My mother was a rock of stability during that season. She cooked, cleaned, fed, nurtured, loved, prayed, and brightened my days in ways no one else could.

Even though I had a spouse who was committed to finding a cure, and a mother who laid down her life for me, God allowed my illness to be utterly untouchable . . . for a reason, a good reason — so that I would put my hope in nothing and no one else but Him.

From Sonic Boom to Supernatural Reality

If you’ve seen the Natalie’s journey video, you know that at the end of it, I’m lying on a bed reading a small, blue Bible.

In that particular segment of the video, I was reading Psalm 62 and telling my husband that God had spoken the words of that passage to me that day. But what you don’t know, and might not guess, is the utterly human response I had to that passage.

“Hey, come listen to what God said to me today,” I told my husband, as I often did when He came home from work. I read Psalm 62.

”My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness and my refuge is in God!” (Psalm 62:5-7, AMPC).

“I know it’s from the Lord,” I said. “But it’s a bunch of crock!”

My inner response to the passage went something like this:

Yeah, right. Like God is really my rock and salvation. If so, where is He? Hope and expect Him? No way! He’s left me in this unbearable suffering and done absolutely nothing to help me or bring me out … and I’m supposed to hope in Him? That’s impossible! Absurd!

I knew the Spirit of God had whispered Psalm 62 to the depths of my heart. The speaking of it was undeniable. However, recognizing God’s voice speaking it and me living it were two different things. There was a head-on collision that day—between the supernatural of God and the natural in me.

But oh, how thankful I am that God wasn’t offended by my humanity! He sent His life-changing, eternal, supernatural word into my heart. What occurred when it encountered the barrier of my flesh was nothing short of a sonic boom! But thank God He knew in advance what was going to happen and He was patient with me!

As the Spirit led me back to Psalm 62 in the ensuing days, I meditated on it … and as I meditated on it, the words began to speak deeply to my heart. As the Spirit breathed hope and life through the words, I memorized the passage. And that—memorizing it—was a turning point for me.

As only the grace of God can do—He made Psalm 62:5-7 real in me! And when He did, my skepticism, anger at God, and offense at the truth of this scripture vanished. The Holy Spirit overtook my humanity and conformed my heart and my mind to these words.

As He enabled me to internalize this scripture and embrace its truth, He opened the eyes of my heart to experience it. By the inner working of God, the truth of this passage became my reality. I began to see, not just intellectually but experientially, that Christ and Christ alone was my Rock and Salvation, my defense and my fortress.

Gratefully Crucified

How did this become my reality? Jesus gave me experiences of Himself—right there in the midst of my suffering. Those experiences proved to me once and for all that nothing compares to knowing Him.

Not a single thing changed in my circumstances or my health. But as Jesus lived for me, I began to treasure the life of Christ within me. Jesus replaced my life with His. He gave me Himself. He became my thoughts, my joy, my faith, my perspective, my peace, my worship, my life, my hope, my strength.

The apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

I was crucified. It was no longer I who lived but Christ. The more things worsened—the more my ability to endure was exceeded—the more of Him I experienced.

Knowing Him intimately this way, I realized I would rather be crucified in my flesh and filled with the resurrection power of Christ than have all the health and success in the world.

He Is Enough

Jesus gave me Himself. … And that was more than enough. I needed nothing else. I wanted nothing else. I reached the point of waiting only upon Him … silently, as Psalm 62 says, not complaining, not angry, not resentful.

Nothing compared to Him. So how could I hope in anything else but Him? How could I possibly be moved by my suffering any longer? The suffering was the very thing that ushered me to this blessing, to this intimate encounter with Jesus, the Creator of the universe. He—the One who spoke the world into being—was living not only in me, but for me! How could I want anything else above this?

“So God,” I said, “if you leave me like this and never change anything, I’m okay. I’m content. I only want you! And what you choose to do with my life is up to you. I’m looking to you aloneNot a doctor. Not a medical treatment. Not a cure. Not a spouse. Not a parent. Not anything or anyone else.”

Perfect Timing

As soon as I reached this point and put my hope and expectation in God and waited for Him alone, He sent the medical treatment that began turning my health around. And no one sought it out!

The timing was not coincidental! God wanted to accomplish this in me first before He brought a change in my health. He left me in the suffering for a loving purpose. He was waiting on me to reach the point where I could learn this vital, life-changing lesson—that He alone was my everything. That my hope and expectation were from Him alone. That He only was my Rock and Salvation—my stability, my strength, my way through, and my way out. And in the process, He gave me Himself. The greatest gift of all! Now that was love. And patience!

Are you pleading with God to bring a change in your circumstance? Have you been praying and believing God for a miracle deliverance of some kind—for your business, your family, your health? Could it be that God wants you to learn this life-changing lesson first? Could it be He wants you to wait for and hope in Him alone?

Speak to Your Soul

I encourage you to memorize Psalm 62:5-7.  As you find yourself looking to another source to meet your needs, speak these words to your soul.

God will change your life through the implanting of the living, active word in your heart and your mind. He will produce in you what you cannot product in your own power. He will enable you to hope in Him alone.

Application

If you were to be totally honest, how would you complete the following sentences:

  • I have been waiting on ____________ and ____________ instead of God.
  • My hope and expectation are in ____________ and ____________, not God.
  • I am looking to ___________ for my present stability and ___________ for my future stability.
  • If ___________ happened, I would feel secure. I would no longer be moved by my circumstance.
  • Do you feel that if you got a raise, or the job promotion, or had the retirement you hope for you would finally feel secure? Or if your children come back to the Lord your worries would be over? Or if your business were out of the red . . . or if your health returned, you would feel secure and no longer moved?
  • Or are you no longer moved—right there in the midst of your unchanging circumstance—because God alone is your Rock and your Salvation, your Defense and your Fortress?

Our hope and confidence are to be in Christ alone. The plan, the power, the provision, and the perfect timing to meet your need are in Him! Wait only upon Him and hope in Him alone.

TweetablesTweetables

  • Are you pleading with God to bring a change in your circumstance? He could be waiting for you to do this first: http://bit.ly/NlGsDE  Click to tweet Tweet
  • “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” ~ Galatians 2:20 Click to tweet Tweet
  • In what are you trusting and hoping? A raise? Good health? Success? This source of hope never fails: http://bit.ly/NlGsDE Click to tweet Tweet
  • If you were honest, what would you say you’re looking to for security and stability? There’s only one reliable source…. Click to tweet Tweet
  • “My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.” ~ Psalm 62:5 Click to tweet Tweet
  • I’m glad God allowed my unrelenting suffering to continue for years. Here’s why –> http://bit.ly/NlGsDE ~ @NatalieGNichols Click to tweet Tweet
  • “He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved.” ~ Psalm 62:6 Click to tweet Tweet

 

A Moment of Worship: My Hope Medley

My Hope / The Solid Rock by Jason Breland | From the album Believe
Download from iTunes or Amazon

Questions:

  • Are you pleading with God to bring a change in your circumstance? Have you been praying and believing God for a miracle deliverance of some kind—for your business, your family, your health—but it hasn’t occurred? Could it be that God wants you to learn to wait only upon Him?
  • What are you looking to for your security—a raise, a job promotion, a retirement plan, marriage, health?
  • Have you reached the place of not being moved—right there in the midst of your unchanging circumstance—because God alone is your Rock and your Salvation, your Defense and your Fortress? 

OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:

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