Where can we turn when we are afraid? Although there are many possible answers to this question, only one provides an effective solution to the problem of fear. Wave after wave of difficulty the past few months and years has pounded into me the reality that trusting God is the solitary means of peace.
A desire for fellowship with others who experience limitations similar to mine has resulted in an ever-widening circle of companions via social networking. Most of us are homebound due to physical difficulties; we are better able to manage health concerns at home. Interestingly, a common thread runs through many of our conversations: what do we do with our time, and how do we accomplish what we think we should be doing?
The battle for right thinking is hard; sometimes, it is very hard. Prolonged trials challenge the faith of a believer but have the potential to produce spiritual growth and nearness to God. Many of the Psalms illustrate this as the psalmist pours out his heart to God with words of anguish and fear alternating with praise for God and hope for His help.
As a prime example of this, Psalm 42 reflects much of what has been on my heart recently. I have felt anguish and fear after finding another breast lump. However, the Holy Spirit is bringing truths to my mind that challenge my thoughts, resulting in a spiritual war that is difficult, but bound to produce good.
A Song of Ascents, of David
1 Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
Several times in my struggles of the last several months, a friend has recommended that I reflect on Psalm 131 for comfort. To be honest, I found it hard to understand how a weaned child related to my situation until she and I discussed it further. She reminded me that a nursing baby is restless and searching for food, but a weaned child is easier to just hold. He trusts in the mother to provide for his needs and doesn’t need to keep fretting in an attempt to resolve his problems. As a result, he can rest peacefully.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
In the course of my continued early-morning walk through Psalms, I inevitably came to this beauty: Psalm 23.Read More »
All block quotes are from “Stephen’s Martyrdom” by Charles Spurgeon
“To be calm amid the bewildering cry, to be confident of victory; to be still and know that God is God; to stand still with the children of Israel at the Red Sea, and see the salvation of God; this is hard, so hard that only the divine dove, the Comforter, can bring us from above the power to be so; but when once the art of being still is fully learned, what strength and bliss is in it!”
It has been during some of my times of greatest struggle that I have had the sweetest communion with God. Here is a quote from my book:
From “More Precious Than Gold”
I adjusted the ice pack on my head gently as it started to conform to my head. The gentle coolness was a mild relief after two days of unrelenting pain. I was spent, barely able to move my arms, lips, or eyelids. Unable to produce many words aloud, I silently imagined what heaven would be like. I pictured my glorified body, pain-free and easy-moving. My body relaxed as I thought of God’s presence. On this third day, unable to talk fluently with people carrying on with their earthly lives, I experienced sweet communion with God in a way that I never had before: peace.
A few days after my recent complicated migraine, I continued to reflect on what I had learned. I accepted that God had put me in a position that seemed limiting to me, but I also recognized He was working good in it, whether I could see the good or not. The Holy Spirit brought truth to my mind, encouraging me to endure. However, even though my mind was focused on what I knew to be true, my heart broke one evening.
I had collapsed on the couch very early one morning after a night of writhing in bed with the pain and nausea of a migraine. My left arm was strapped to my body due to a broken shoulder that would take many weeks to heal. This confinement increased the difficulty of trying to nurse my throbbing head with minimally effective comforts.
All block quotes are from “Prayer, the Cure for Care” by Charles Spurgeon
Turn everything that is a care into a prayer. Let your cares be the raw material of your prayers, and as the alchemists hoped to turn dross into gold, so do you, by a holy alchemy, actually turn what naturally would have been a care into spiritual treasure in the form of prayer. Baptize every anxiety into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and so make it into a blessing.