|Photo by CE Watson|
As I've posted here before, fall is my favorite season of the year. But this fall hasn't given me the pleasure and peace I usually enjoy. There has been just too many stressors: Mom's continued decline in her health, my husband's upcoming back surgery, problems within the homes of some of our family members, all the chaos and unrest loudly broadcast on the evening news, and of course, the current Presidential campaign -- which grieves me to no end! Yes! Way too many stressors!
I know I'm a Christian, yet I have been feeling almost overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. I just couldn't seem to get my head above the black water and focus on the Lord, no matter how hard I tried. After church Sunday, I talked with our Pastor's wife, Mrs. Brothers. I've been at our church a long time and I know that during the 40+ years of their ministry there, Pastor and Mrs. Brothers have gone thru a great deal and now she is dealing with her husband's very serious health situation. Yet, she is still a gracious lady with a gentle and easy smile. And Sunday, in spite of all that she has going on in her life, she wanted to know how I was doing.
Mrs. Brothers talked with me for a while, letting me share my fear and anxiety. She agreed that we live in stressful times and they trouble her, too. Then I asked her how she did it, how she kept going. She gave me that gentle smile and said, "Going on isn't a choice. How we go on is." She shares some Bible verses with me that strengthen her and then she said, "I remind myself that God is good ... always. He knows, He cares, He's with us through it all.."
I have a print on my wall that my sister-in-law, Martha, gave me. She wanted me to have it because it is of a horse (my favorite animal!) and a Bible verse. The verse is "Be strong and very courageous..." from Joshua 1:7. I see that print every time I come thru my living room and I read it either consciously or unconsciously every time I see it. But I don't feel strong nor courageous. And after talking with my Pastor's wife, I thought about that verse and remembered that the Lord was telling Joshua more than just to be strong. The best part of what the Lord was saying to him is in verse 9 which repeats a variation of the phrase from verse 7,: "...Be strong and of a good courage; ..." and then gives the reason he could be, "... be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
"Going on is not a choice. How we go on is." Going on with the Lord is the only safe and secure path we have because He already knows the end from the beginning, He has a plan and a purpose, and He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.
I have a choice: but not about going on – that is a given, and I must get up every day and go on, too. But how I go on is a choice. I want to go on with the Lord, to see His strong and mighty hand making a path where there is no path; to see His Warrior Angels protecting us and bringing us thru; to see His plan for us ... for me ... fulfilled. So I told the Lord that, confessed that I'm weak and can't do this myself, that I need Him and His strength to handle all this. I know I'm on solid ground here because in the Bible, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:10, "... for when I am weak, then am I strong."
The line from a favorite hymn that says "Oh, for grace to trust thee more" is now the prayer I whisper more and more. And at least for now, the Lord has eased the anxiety and fear and given me again a touch of His peace.
So I stay on my knees and I keep looking up.
Shared in love,
Here are some of the Bible verses that were shared with me:
... for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. ... Hebrews 13:5
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.: Isaiah 41:10
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. Psalm 56:3
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. Psalm 118:8
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6
... whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25