[Editor’s Note: We are forgetful and faithless people, so we need constant reminders of God’s faithfulness. This series of devotional articles will serve as stones of remembrance that God is faithful in every circumstance, even in our struggle with sin, loss, fear, and despair. Learn more about God’s faithfulness by studying his Word and walking in relationship with him through our new Faithful Collection featuring the Give Me Jesus Journal.]
Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
God’s Faithfulness in My Despair
It all happened so suddenly. In 2010, our family abruptly moved from Ciudad Juárez, México to El Paso, Texas to escape the war on drugs that plagued our city. For months, the situation had become increasingly worse. The military had slowly overtaken our city, imposing martial law and curfews and making our once vibrant city a ghost town. The war on drugs had begun two years before, but with every passing day, it got closer to home. A battle that felt once far removed inched closer and closer until it impacted our neighborhood, church, and our closest and dearest family friends.
In a matter of two weeks, we moved to the United States. Due to my dad’s role in our church, he stayed in Ciudad Juárez while we moved across the border to the sister city of El Paso. For the next six months, we’d see our dad once or twice a week—and on the weekends if we were lucky.
With increased uncertainty and suddenly living like a single parent, my mom began to struggle with depression. I remember walking over an hour home from school with my brother, only to find our mom crying in her bedroom and our two younger siblings gone. We’d spend the next hour knocking on our neighbors’ doors to locate our siblings, return home to make ourselves dinner, and then perform their bedtime routine. Once they were asleep, I’d help my mom take care of herself and console her and finish the day buried in homework.
The following years never got better—my parents divorced, my two younger siblings went back to Ciudad Juárez to live with our dad, and my brother and I remained in El Paso, living alone for two years.
Loneliness and despair were my constant companions. After reaching out for help without success, my wounded heart stopped trusting.
Tears flowed without control every day, and I lived with ongoing anxiety and panic attacks. In my despair, I questioned God’s goodness. I wondered, How long will trials plague my family? When will our city be safe? When will we see your mighty hand intervene and rescue us? How will my heart and soul find rest?
As our circumstances did not improve, the words of David in Psalm 13:1–2 resonated in my heart: “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” I cried out to the Lord daily for his intervention in our lives and restoration in my family. But I felt like he was silent.
Although it was hard for me to see at the time, God wove fingerprints of his faithfulness all through our story. Despite the hardships, despair, and lack of visible change, God provided for our daily needs in remarkable ways.
God faithfully met our financial and emotional needs. When I entered college, my brother and I began living alone. But right as we felt the pinch of financial instability, I was offered my first job—right at my brother’s school! This job that I hadn’t even been looking for helped us meet our daily needs. It also allowed me to drop off and pick up my brother every day without interrupting my work schedule or college classes. It comforted me to know that we were close to each other if anything happened.
God also faithfully met our spiritual needs. We finally found a local church close to our new home. Here we met two of our dear friends, a young married couple, that embraced us with love, company, and meals—lots of meals. We went to their home a few times a week for dinner. Their gracious hospitality was a balm for our weary souls and a comfort for our hungry bellies.
The despair that clung so closely started slowly losing its grip on my heart.
Everywhere I looked, I saw evidence of God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness in our lives. Our circumstances had not changed. Our family did not experience restoration. But the mighty hand of the Lord sustained our every breath. He provided in unexpected ways for our daily needs, and in the process, he mended our broken and despairing souls.
Twelve years have passed, and the journey has been hard, but his hand has never left me. His mercy and compassion still comfort my soul when I despair. His grace has mended my broken heart. He was faithful in my darkest season, and I know he always will be.
So today I sing, “I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (Ps. 13:5–6).
Meet the Author
Fernie is passionate about encouraging women to grow deeper in their understanding of the Scriptures and helping them apply this to their day-to-day context. She is a wife and mama and works full time as a child welfare social worker. In her free time, you’ll find her seeking outdoor adventures, reading all genres of good books, and pursuing her M. Div. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Fernie is originally from Cd. Juárez, México and lives with her husband and son in Connecticut. You can find more of her writing at “La Coalición por el Evangelio” and her book reviews on her blog ferniecosgrove.com.