Psalm 121–“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”
2 Timothy 3:12–“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Sometimes I forget about spiritual attack. We should not be surprised when we experience spiritual attack after some spiritual victory or time of fruitfulness in our lives. But God is our helper and protector.
I’m reminded, also, that our family can always expect attack when my husband is going to preach. This week is no exception. (It’s a reminder to me to pray for the families of our elders, who preach every week!) My husband, not a full-time preacher, is filling in for Mr. T., whose son is getting married on Saturday. I have also found that we often are attacked in the very area that he is preaching on! Guess what he is going to preach on–1 Corinthians 13–the love chapter! The avenue of attack for me has been to discourage me and make me feel unloved by those closest to me, and a failure in the areas I most care about. But I find great help by going to my bedroom (my “prayer closet”), closing the door, getting down on my knees and crying out to the Lord. It is very important at times like these. (“What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Have we trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere? We must never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer.” Psalm 55:16-18–“As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud; and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me…” Psalm 62:8–“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”)
Also, it is crucial to bathe myself in the Word. Psalm 130:1-2, 5–“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His Word do I hope.” Psalms and Proverbs are very good, but God never ceases to amaze me by using whatever Scripture I am scheduled to read in my “Read Through the Bible in a Year” plan from Discipleship Journal to speak directly to my heart.
God also uses unique and very personal means of speaking truth to me at times like these. In the last few days, this is what He has done:
I confess to having fretted this week over the events scheduled. So, on Monday, God reminded me in two ways not to worry. First, He brought to my memory the fact that every time I feel truly overwhelmed, and sure that there’s no way I can do what appears that I have to do, and I go to Him for help, He removes some of the load, often (surprisingly) through the illness of myself or one of my family, or adverse weather such as a snowstorm, which cancels one or all of my responsibilities or events that I was worrying about. It has happened so often, that in the past I had learned not to worry, because God always canceled the things I was worrying about before they happened! But He had to remind me of this on Monday. Then later in the day, He confirmed this rebuke for my fretting when He allowed my daughter to become sick! (Not that I’m rejoicing that my daughter got sick! Please don’t write me nasty letters!) However, this canceled the dinner scheduled for Wednesday which I had been fretting about.
(Psalm 61:1-3–“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.”)
Then on Tuesday, God used my very own words to speak truth into my heart, as I exhorted and encouraged a friend on the phone: to lean on the Lord, to trust Him to help, to not grow weary in welldoing and finish the course well, persevering–Every word was what I also needed to hear! In getting my introspective eyes off of myself, and trying to help someone else, God encouraged and helped me. (Isn’t He wonderful?!)
Today, Wednesday, God used the words of special people in my life to humble me, and I felt very broken, but when I went to my knees before Him, I was in a very teachable state, as I cried out to Him in prayer. I realized there on my knees that I have been asking for “grace” a lot lately, and that in the Word, God says that, “He giveth grace to the humble.” So, I thanked Him for the trials He had brought me through recently and the humbling words I had just received, which were the prerequisites for the grace I’d been praying for. I then cried out to Him to enable me to “succeed” through His Spirit in the three areas I felt so much a failure in, but also knew were my “work”: being a wife, being a “nurse” to my daughter this week, and learning Spanish fluently in order to share the gospel with Hispanic people, a desire which the Lord has placed on my heart.
Tonight the Lord encouraged my husband and me through dinner with dear old friends whom we had not seen for years. This month was their 30th wedding anniversary, and they are celebrating, in part, by getting together with people who’ve been a part of, and who God has used in, their lives from the beginning of their marriage. They took us out to dinner, and we had wonderful fellowship sharing, catching up, rediscovering our friendship and likemindedness–it was so encouraging! I had been fretting, I confess, about seeing them and cooking dinner for them, but of course my husband was right to invite them to our home and I was happy to have them here and have the opportunity to show hospitality to them! It’s just that our house is in an unusual state of turmoil due to changing and lack of furniture; my children (my right arms) were not going to be here; I don’t feel I am a great cook and she is a fabulous one, etc., etc. etc. Every bit of my fretting was foolishness–but isn’t what we fret about usually just that?? Anyway, God reminded me how foolish and sinful it is to fret. “Trust Me.” “Yes, Lord, forgive me.”
We went to the doctor today and found out that my daughter, Kelsey, has strep throat. She is now on antibiotics and we’re praying she’ll be able to attend the “Celebration Dinner” tomorrow night, fulfill her serving responsibilities at the wedding of Derek and Rachel on Saturday, that no one else will get sick, (especially my husband, who is preaching Sunday), and especially especially that the father of the groom, Mr. T., doesn’t get sick, because Kelsey worked with him the day she got sick. But, for now, I am not fretting, but obeying His command, “Be careful (or anxious) for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication With Thanksgiving Let Your Requests Be Made Known Unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
I’m sure that it’s no accident that what follows these verses are instructions on what we are to spend our time thinking about!
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Ps. 56:3