I never thought I would graduate from college.
Not necessarily because I didn’t think I was smart enough. And not necessarily because I didn’t think I was capable of handling the workload that comes from school while also balancing life.
No, these were not reasons why. But rather I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to finish. Or if I would be able to physically, emotionally, spiritually, or financially handle it.
I had the doors closed on me before. And I don’t know if you’re like me, but when I had doors closed on me that I really wanted open, that I prayed and believed and had Scripture to hold on to believing that God was perfectly able and capable of making a way, only to have Him choose not to, have Him say “no,” an earth-shattering, life-changing “no,” it made me angry. It made me bitter. And it left me questioning His goodness, His faithfulness, His power, and ultimately His love for me.
I was shattered, left wondering if I would ever be able to live a normal, healthy life.
But because the Lord is good, faithful, powerful, and loving, He never let me go. Even when my heart pushed Him away and all I could do in worship was stand and stare at the screen unable to sing, He remained tender and compassionate. His love never fails.
So I moved seven times from the time I started college to now graduating. I lived in five different states and attended three different schools.
I never planned on life going that way. But He has been gracious enough to allow me to finish what was started. I have seen that what He starts He is faithful to finish. And eight years later, I’m now finding much needed closure.
A passage that has kept coming up during my last semester of college has been in Exodus 15 when the Israelites complained about bitter waters. The Israelites had just been delivered from slavery, only to immediately be tested by the Lord.
22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah). 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
The Israelites then looked to Moses for what to do, to which the Lord showed him.
25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet..
The bitter waters became sweet. And it is here that the Lord first became known as Jehovah-rapha, “The Lord Who heals” (verse 26).
The first thing the Lord healed was a bitter heart.
And so, I have come to know Him more fully as Jehovah-rapha, the One Who heals bitter hearts. Hearts that doubt His goodness, faithfulness, power, and love as I have. The Healer of bitterness so that hearts can sing again in liberty and celebrate how He never fails.