No one’s journey in life looks like another’s - this can become a source for an overwhelming sense of loneliness for some, yet it can also be the catalyst for a deeply personal relationship to form...With God!
Here on Martha’s Vineyard, a world-renowned vacation destination, there’s always more to explore somehow, an island of only 100 square miles holds limitless natural treasures - all God’s astounding creation. From the first moment I understood my family and I might suddenly & soon come to live here year-round, God began to use the island as an object lesson - that with GOD, ALL things are POSSIBLE!
Leading up to the development of this opportunity, over a span of almost four years, God taught our family how to endure a steep, rocky, tiring journey - one that involved only pain after pain, yet in time, victory upon victory. He taught us that a Christ-following Christianity WILL involve discomfort, loss, even seasons of chronic trauma.
We were blessed - even then...We’re blessed now. God’s love for us and His care and faithfulness did not change, but instead, our understanding of His character changed. We LEARNED, and we learned that the God of our hearts could be trusted! And isn’t that all that matters?
And now, WE can be a source of comfort and compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ and their families when they are blindsided by pain and dilemmas that threaten their emotional and spiritual strength (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). We tell them, “If God could see us safely through our horrific trials, He can and will do the same for you, for His love for you is eternal & unconditional. Nothing separates you from His love! Hold onto His promises and stay the course.”
This earth, and what we experience here, my friends, is not the destination- it’s never THE destination. Our true home, our heavenly one, is every believer’s journey’s END. How we live the journey will determine the sweetness of our destination experience.
May I share with you what came to bring us the truest and deepest help & comfort in our season of prolonged distress? It was learning that:
WHEN you face a long road ahead without the promise and hope of change - Remain Honest with God - Yet Yielded (Psalm 51:6). [See next photo]
WHEN you face the daunting task of climbing - when all you feel you can do is crawl, lean on God and cast every care at His feet so that you’re relieved of your heavy burdens (Isaiah 58:6b). [See next photo]
WHEN you face your worst nightmare in your circumstances, take shelter in the shadow of God’s wings through prayer and private & public worship, even when it seems futile (Psalm 36:7). [See next photo]
WHEN you face fears and accusations that come directly from the Kingdom of Satan - rest in the loving arms of Jesus for a time & seek a word of comfort from Him (John 15:9). [See next photo]
WHEN you face an abyss of worries and doubts, look to God to show you how to walk on firm ground - which is the constancy of His devotion & of His sovereignty (YOU are not alone)! (Isaiah 41:10) [See next photo]
You may have noticed my repeated use of the phrase: “WHEN you face...” It is for this purpose -
One of the critical principles Jesus taught me as His daughter was that: in order to thrive and not just survive my Job-like troubles, I had to FACE them - I had to push through the pain to the other side no matter what. Did I come away without scars? No, much like a grim heavy-weight boxer after his bloodying fight, I had wounds needing care and healing. And those needs, God was gracious and careful to provide through the love and support of a life coach, the few friends who remained constant, and through divine revelations & ongoing restorations.
Our journeys may be different, yours and mine, but our God loves us the same - and if we remain faithful to Him, He promises to give us the destination we yearn for deep in our spirits! Allow God to grow you in the journey so that your destination experience might become the very cry of your heart and the sweetest of experiences. God desires our love to be tested and proven - even Jesus endured this... He obediently let Himself be our salvation and only hope of true life even unto His physical death! My friends, true life can be yours only through trust in Jesus Christ.
And know this - THE DESTINATION IS WORTH THE JOURNEY ~
Joshua 1:9 - “This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." For with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)!
God Bless you~
All Photos by Liz Splittgerber
MEET THE AUTHOR….
Liz works alongside her husband, Rev. Matt Splittgerber, Senior Pastor of Vineyard Assembly of God church on the island of Martha's Vineyard. She is a devoted Mom of 3 school-age children, she leads the church's Teen Ministry, and teaches English & piano.
Liz Splittgerber is a published poet. She currently has a book of her poetry & photography exclusively showcasing the beauty and allure of Martha's Vineyard waiting to be published & another book project fully underway. She loves to teach, write & song write. And she is a nature and photography enthusiast - living near the ocean again as an adult is a dream fulfilled.
Liz battles with multiple chronic Auto-immune diseases daily, yet her greatest desire is to glorify God with her life and to be a blessing to others - young and old. And the promise she holds on to like the hem of Jesus' garment is God's promise of her physical healing. Her heart is happiest when she sees God at work drawing people to Himself~