“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7). To remember the Lord’s name as David does in Psalm 119 v 55 is to meditate upon and enjoy the very essence of God, which Exodus 34 tells us is God’s mercy, grace, patience, love, faithfulness, forgiveness, and justice.
I once did. It felt like a balloon in my chest quickly deflated. As I ransacked my mind for Scripture to keep me hopeful, my faith’s air level neared zero, and then it was too late—my heart decided to blame God. I never experienced this before. Even when life served its worst circumstances, I had faith that God saw and heard me.
Not this time. I have often heard of others who reached this pit, and I somehow knew I would not go unscathed the day disbelief came for me. But my faith in God’s care didn’t drain away in the ruins of one of my jovial dreams like I always thought it would. No. It chose to leave me on a winter night as I watched my mother mentally calculate how much time she had before her car would be repossessed. And like a mother who tries to grab her toddler before they run off, I grasped at the last strands of my faith and mustered an encouragement. “Things will be okay, mom; just pray.” I half-believed that prayer would help, and I reasoned it would be easier to survive my own distrust than survive my mother’s.
Being raised by a single parent has its challenges. It is often characterized by lack: lack of food, lack of clothes. And this was just another instance of not having enough. It wasn’t until I took a walk that I remembered the words of my precious Lord: “Do not be anxious about your life” (Matthew 6 v 25). The reminder was a balm to an ache. Verses 31-32 came to my rescue next: “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”