While my husband went to university, I ran a hostel for teenage runaways in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Kids from every small town came to the city for what they thought would surely be fun times and adventure, only to wind up beaten, lost, and alone, if they were lucky. Both boys and girls came regularly as the police passed them on to me, even in the middle of the night, after picking them up on the street. Some were newly pregnant, suicidal, and confused, needing mothering and common sense while they waited for the province to send them home.
I lived there full-time with my three small children. Agency social workers kept coming and going, so we couldn’t have visitors or leave the premises, even if teens were momentarily absent, especially on weekends, which meant no church. All the bugs hadn’t been worked out of the program to give me time off from that ceaseless flow of teenage angst.
The ensuing isolation took me down into what Pilgrim’s Progress calls Doubting Castle, where Giant Despair beats Hopeful and Christian until they are nearly dead and casts them into his dungeon. I, too, had become a prisoner, beating myself up in a dungeon that my mind had made. The doubts? I began to think that God had forgotten me or didn’t care or didn’t even exist at all. Doubts led me to think that there was no hope.
Prayer was a habit that I couldn’t stop, though. I also had many experiences of God’s love to call on from the past. Someone said, “Faith is believing when doubting would be easier.”
Back in Doubting Castle, Christian clings to faith and finally digs in his pocket to discover the key called Promise, with which he and Hopeful could have escaped all along. As I read the book, I began to remember God’s promises and care for me. The doubts melted away as I returned to the faith which has always kept me — and still does, all these long years later.
Don’t just sit around wishing that you could believe. Read your Bible! Daily Bible reading is the pocket that holds the key to our way out, with God’s promises and care for us. Collect all the keys — a lifetime search. It has been estimated that there are as many as 30,000 promises in the Bible.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)
Prayer: Dear Father God, how grateful we are, not just for Your always fulfilling Your promises to believers, but for the hope that infuses our every step, for the trials that only make us stronger, and for the sorrows that make us human. Forgive us our doubts and straying from the path. Reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer love Thy service find, in deeper reverence, praise. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2022, by Rose DeShaw <firstname.lastname@example.org>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Reprinted from PresbyCan with author’s permission