I stood with a group of believers tonight, hands reaching out and wrapping around a sister who had just told us that the chemo wasn’t working and the tumors weren’t shrinking. I heard my name called out to lead in prayer. My throat constricted. I know the fear cancer stirs up. I wasn’t sure I could do it. I wasn’t sure I could articulate what was in my heart. I am not very eloquent when I pray. But love won out and I opened my mouth and asked God to do something. We prayed for God to give her a miracle. She needs a miracle. She’s been battling cancer for months, in the middle of a pandemic, and there she was, defying the cancer by standing before us and saying she was ready, if this is what God has for her. She is brave…..and she loves Jesus. If she can do this, I can pray over her. We believed God for a miracle three years ago. We trusted God. We walked the road He was taking us down, not knowing the outcome, not knowing if it was even fair to ask for healing or a miracle when so many are taken by this ugly disease. We walked with Him and learned to trust Him no matter what was down that road. No matter how it turned out. She trusts Him, too. She knows that however this turns out, God gets the glory. Why? Because He is the Almighty God, creator of the universe. He is a God that loves us so much, He made a way for us to be able to spend eternity with Him. He gave part of Himself, His Son, for us. A sacrifice for our sins. To make us clean. To have the ability to stand in His presence. He is faithful to us. We call out to Him and He hears us. And when His plan for our lives is to find ourselves facing death through cancer, ALS or even old age…He is there. Holding us up, whispering our names, and wrapping us in His love. We can hold tight to His hand and trust Him, knowing that closing our eyes here one last time, means we open our eyes with Him on the other side. So while we have breath, let us be like my sister standing before us tonight, let us give Him glory for the good and the bad, for the planned and the unexpected, for the hard and the easy. Thank you, sister, for showing us in that moment what it looks like to be real about the hard, and to resolutely give God the glory either way. But most of all what it looks like to trust His hand. Please pray for this sister as she places her hand in the hand of Jesus and trusts where He is taking her.
Isaiah 26:3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel the need to escape the constant onslaught of COVID19 information. I’m over this being the topic of conversation and media 24/7. I want to sit with friends and drink coffee (or tea) and talk about something else….anything else! I want to drive to the beach and enjoy the waves crashing on the beach. I want to go to church!!!!
With the constant broadcasting of information and conflict over COVID19 social or physical distancing, statistics of state by state cases and deaths, and whether to have partial or complete quarantining, I have to wonder if there is anything else going on in the world!!! Or is there something going on that we don’t know about.
At any rate, this morning I ran to scripture for encouragement and truth. And there it was, the best wisdom possible….God’s Word telling me to let my mind stay on Him. He is my everlasting rock. He is trustworthy. So simple, but so true.
I am choosing to take a step away from the constant blasting of pandemic information and to focus back on regular life. (Whatever that is right now). I will let my mind be on His Word and His character. I will let other things occupy my thoughts other than the uncertainty that is shaking our country.
Wherever you are right now, whatever you are doing, take a deep breath. Read these words in Isaiah written way before 2020, but so applicable for us to cling to right now. Allow His perfect peace to wash over you and spread through your spirit like a warm blanket. Snuggle up in it and enjoy some time with Him.
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”
Today has been a heartwarming day. The weather was gorgeous, we started the day at 9:00am doing Lifegroup on the Google Duo (we’ll use Zoom next time) with our 10-12th grade girls class, followed by online worship with FBTC praise team and Pastor Derek. It almost felt normal. While it was awesome and unique, it just doesn’t replace the face to face fellowship with our church family. But we have to keep telling ourselves this is temporary. We must keep our eyes on Him and let Him be our strength and shield. I like the shield part…..shielding us from the Corona!
A quick word knowledge right here. The word “exult” means to feel or show triumphant elation or jubilation. That word “elation” means great happiness and exhilaration. Chew on that for a moment. Re-read that verse with that definition in the place of exult. It’ll totally change the impact of this verse.
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts and I am helped; my heart feels triumphant exhilaration, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”
I want to insert a happy dance right here. I don’t know about you, but I needed this today.
I’ll stop right here with a little bit of transparency. I had a rough evening last night. I think the week of “self quarantine” and lack of contact with friends and regular schedule, plus the constant news updates from my big guy caused a meltdown. Sadly, my last 5 days of encouragement didn’t seem to hold a candle to the overwhelmed feeling in my soul. I allowed the chaos and confusion of this world to seep in and start a small fire of fear. I told my big guy to stop talking to me and after I cried a few tears of uncertainty, I was better. I read some more scripture. Prayed really hard. Listened to worship music. And I felt myself stepping away from the edge of the pit. However, sleep evaded me. I tossed and turned and could not get to sleep. I resorted to Melatonin and within an hour I drifted off. I woke this morning with a much better outlook. I reminded myself of the complete truth of this verse…..He is my strength. He is my shield. And I DO TRUST HIM! And I am helped. My spirit was lifted. He reminded me with His Word that whatever happens, whatever the next weeks look like, I can trust Him. I can choose to declare His faithfulness and redirect my emotions when I feel things closing in.
So let me encourage you right now. This ain’t over yet. Be strong and courageous. We may be staring down two weeks of lockdown, tighter than the last week or two we’ve experienced. We will need to sing…..a lot! We will need to declare His faithfulness….a lot! We will need to remind our hearts that we trust Him….a lot! Because we are silly humans who have the attention span of a gnat. We will need to connect via Zoom, FaceTime, Google Duo, Skype or whatever else is out there to connect over the internet with friends and family and a remind them as well. Let’s commit to having an attitude of gratitude over the next couple of weeks and to treat each other and ourselves with kindness.
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Keep the faith