Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
share post

Hope for the Weary Soul

January 22, 2024

Jessica Mathisen

At the beginning of 2021, my heart was open and ready for encouragement. I longed for fellowship with other women and time in the Word of God together. I participated in a study on the Names of God by Tony Evans, facilitated by a dear friend of mine. Week after week, I listened to incredible teaching about how God reveals His character to us through His names.  

One week, as we learned about how God is Jehovah Jireh, which means provider, Dr. Evans told a story of how he and his wife were dirt poor during seminary, barely able to pay their bills. When the expenses exceeded the income, he came home to a dark apartment because his wife didn’t have the heart to tell him that they weren’t able to make the electricity bill payment. To add insult to injury, they also had a repair that needed to be made on their vehicle. Broken and confused, he cried out to God, wondering where He was and why He was silent. The next day, he met with a man who had felt led to write him a check that was the exact amount needed to fix his car without even knowing he had an issue. I sat there, amazed at God’s kindness, thinking to myself, “One day, I want a story like that. I want to experience God in that way.”

Two years ago, my heart was broken and shattered. The weight of grief felt all consuming, and I didn’t know how I was going to move through the pain that suffocated me day and night. 

While many people suffered through unthinkable loss and pain in 2020 as we navigated a global pandemic, there were still many private griefs we all quietly bore. As the pandemic continued without signs of stopping or slowing down, we welcomed 2021 with hope in our hearts, knowing that surely, things couldn’t be worse than they were the previous year. Boy were we wrong. 

In 2021, our family endured a wilderness season unlike any I had experienced before. Over the course of several months, we walked through:

  • job loss
  • the death of our family dog
  • financial instability 
  • health complications during pregnancy 
  • secondary trauma from foster parenting
  • the death of my mother-in-law 
  • strained relationships 
  • an unexpected move

During this time, I truly began to wonder if my family was cursed. I couldn’t fathom why we deserved such suffering, which led to anguish and despair. It was only through the kindness of the Holy Spirit that I began to understand the truth about suffering—it is part of walking with Christ. 

So often, our American version of Christianity tells us if we are suffering, we are doing something wrong. May I posit to you a different theory, one I believe is rooted in Scripture? If we’re suffering, it may not be due to sin. It most certainly isn’t due to bad luck. If we’re suffering, it is because we are being made more like Christ, and this is a good thing, friend. 

In the midst of the wilderness season, everything within me cried out to God, begging Him to rescue me from the awful storm that raged within and around me. The circumstances didn’t change, but I did. Over time, He began to open my eyes to see His goodness around me in ways previously taken for granted. 

My husband lost his job when I was one month shy of giving birth to our daughter. Fear coursed through my veins as I wondered how we would be able to pay for the birth, the diapers, and the everyday bills that wouldn’t stop just because of his new unemployed status. But God. He helped me see that my hope was not found in material blessings and the physical provision for my needs. Yes, those things were taken care of, because I have a loving Father who sees to my every need. But the real hope was found in the presence of a God who was not afraid or taken aback by my questions, longing, and grief.

My hope was found in knowing He saw me, He cared for me, and He was not going to leave me, even when it felt like He was nowhere to be found. 

With a newborn baby in tow and hearts wrapped in grief after losing my mother-in-law to cancer just three days after our daughter’s birth, we made our way to the church office to see our financial secretary. Earlier that day, she called and said, “I’ve got something for you, and you’re going to want to come get it today.”

Curious as to what it could be, we loaded up our car and made the ten minute drive. When we walked into the office, the financial secretary told us the person who dropped off the gift wanted to remain anonymous. With anxious hearts, we opened the envelope to find $2500 in cash. Our shock gave way to gratitude, which gave way to tears. Our God was not only Jehovah Jireh in that moment, He was also El Roi, the God who sees. 

We felt alone, crushed and perplexed by the multitude of trials we experienced simultaneously. But we were not destroyed. We did not grieve as those without hope. We found hope in the person of Jesus Christ, who held and sustained us through every dark day and brought light and life to our weary bones when we didn’t know how to take another step. The dark days of winter can feel daunting and unrelenting. Whether it is a physical winter season or a winter of the soul, the cold, harsh winds can feel all too much to bear. But God. Those two little words are some of the sweetest in the Bible.

But God. 

Made a way for us. 

Rescued us. 

Loved us. 

Redeemed us. 

Gave us hope. 

And He will do it again and again until we see Him face to face. 

The featured image, “Pointing Northward in Snow,” is courtesy of Lancia E.Smith and is used with her glad permission for Cultivating.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

A Field Guide to Cultivating ~ Essentials to Cultivating a Whole Life, Rooted in Christ, and Flourishing in Fellowship

Enjoy our gift to you as our Welcome to Cultivating! Discover the purpose of The Cultivating Project, and how you might find a "What, you too?" experience here with this fellowship of makers!

Receive your complimentary e-book

Explore the

Editions Archive


organized for ease by author and category.

View Our Editions Archive