Tuesday, August 25, 2015

By God's Power, I'm Still Standing

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 5:22).

My husband and I recently visited a nearby tourist attraction called The Blowing Rock.  Legend says that an Indian maiden and warrior fell in love.  Torn between her and his duty, he jumped off the rock in desperation.  She prayed to the Great Spirit, and one day the wind blew the warrior back to her.  Since then a continual wind has blown up onto the rock, causing even the snow to fall upside down. 

Of course this is just a story.  The wind blows the way it does because of the topography of the land and weather patterns.

Several days after our trip, I was hit with a severe bout of depression.  It was a very dark and desperate time, but God brought me through it – yet again.

I thought about the blowing rock.  Many times I stand on the edge of hard times – times of pain or depression or difficulties.  Sometimes I jump off in despair. Other times those problems push me over the edge.

I fall for a while, but the power of God and His Spirit keep pushing me back up. 

Pain and problems may cause me to fall for a time.  But in the words of the Barnes Notes Commentary, “he (God) will not so appoint, arrange, or permit things to occur, that the righteous shall be "ultimately" and "permanently" removed from their steadfastness and their hope; he will not suffer them to fall away and perish. In all their trials and temptations he will sustain them, and will ultimately bring them off in triumph.”

God’s power is not just a story.  When life pushes me over the edge, His winds keep blowing me back onto His solid rock.  I will stand again. And the view from the rock is victorious.

Prayer:  Lord God, sometimes Your idea of falling and mine are not the same, and I don’t feel that I can keep standing through my problems.  Yet Your Word says that if I cast my cares on You, I will not fall. Thank you that You sustain me through all of my trials, no matter how overwhelming they may seem.  Amen.




Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Two Sources of Comfort During Difficult Times

“How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Psalm 104:24).

“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97).

Everyone has coping methods for difficult times.  These may include eating, drinking, escaping into movies or books, venting to a friend, taking a trip, taking a pill, staying in bed, or looking to God.  Obviously some of these choices are healthier than others.

What do we do in our most difficult times - when we get no relief from the pain; when the treatment is grueling, or when there is no treatment; when friends and family misunderstand us; when we must give up yet another activity or event.  All of these scenarios can lead to discouragement, depression, and despair.

Based on verses from Job, David Jeremiah suggests two sources of comfort for any trial – creation and Scripture.

When I was at my lowest with thyroid cancer, depression, and anxiety, I found solace in nature.  Just sitting on our lawn swing or looking out the living room window was helpful.  I would occasionally buy a flower bouquet from the store, and I looked at picture books on gardening and decorating with nature. 

We now live in an area full of mountains and waterfalls, and they both have a positive and calming effect on me.  God’s creation does that.

Scripture is also a huge comfort.  There are Bible verses that relate to any circumstance or condition. Sometimes I search a concordance or other resource, using key words relating to my problem or emotion.  When I find a relevant verse, I read it and seek how to apply it. Then I claim it in faith and keep bringing the words to mind.

There are many ways of coping with our suffering.  But creation and Scripture are two available and powerful ways that God speaks to us and brings us His comfort and peace. Let’s thank God for them and benefit from them.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, when I am suffering, the beauty of Your creation and the power of Your Word are able to restore and refresh my soul. Thank you for revealing Yourself in these amazing ways, and may Your Spirit prompt me to look to them as sources of encouragement when I need it.  Amen.