Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fashioned for Faith not Fear: Chapter Three

The authors words are in red

In the section entitled Under God's Sheltering Wing Micca talks about how often instead of giving our fears to God we turn to other methods. "One false method is putting our confidence in self. This method teaches that the answer is within you. Find yourself, love yourself, and help yourself. You have the answer."

This may work just fine for the small troubles in life that just need to be weathered,  but when the big storms come it is of little help. When facing a terminal disease, an unexpected death, or perhaps a debilitating accident many people find themselves unable to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" to coin a popular phrase.

The truth is that when the big storms of life come they are generally not just brief downpours but long lasting hurricanes that can rage on and on, bringing with them a myriad of troubles. 

I loved the psalm Micca quotes here " It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man." Psalm 118:8 Now good sound counsel from a loving brother or sister in Christ is one thing but too often people are quick to throw out "advice" without really praying over it. 

I have a dear friend who is in the midst of several stormy situations. She loves the Lord with her whole heart and seeks Him regularly in bible study and church. She called me up last week to see if we could have lunch. I jumped at the chance since I have been a bit of a recluse lately (weathering my own storm). As I listened to her share her troubles my heart went out to her because there are no easy answers. I was somewhat aghast at some of the advice she has been given. It seemed clear to me that in one instance the advisors, though I believe they meant well had no idea of what she is really facing. They are a good twenty years younger than her and have yet to face the kind of trial she is in. They even used a scripture totally out of context to back up their opinion. She is weary and though they meant well all they managed to do was to open a door to doubt and fear that she has made a wrong decision. A decision that I fully believe was made out of love and is indeed a right one.

I encouraged her to take refuge in the LORD. Stacy from Soul Restoration had posted a wonderful excerpt from a study Charles Stanley did on the armor of God. I e-mailed it to my dear friend and have been praying for her. I am certain that she will find just what she needs as she takes refuge in the shadow of the Most High. 

Just as Micca writes " Taking cover under God doesn't mean that our financial storm will suddenly dry up and the sun will come out. No sometimes the storms of life can go on and on. Yet God's grace is sufficient." Yes, I am learning that for sure. My storm is still raging, yet I have a peace now that I didn't have a month ago. I still have days when the rain seems to be coming down much harder than others. Yesterday was one of those days. I leaned on my Father, felt his love and woke up to a new day today. 

There is just so much wisdom in this book! I underlined several things in the next section Casting Your Cares. I smiled when I read " We forget that God is painting on a large canvas. He sees the big picture. We only see what's happening to us at the moment. God may allow events to come into our lives - good things and bad things, things that make sense and things that don't. ..... What you and I may think is harmful, God is using for our good - to bring us to completion in godly conduct and character.

I smiled because recently my daughter and I were talking about how since our family's troubles were broadcast on the local evening news and then printed in the paper, many people who know us but aren't close enough to call or talk to us about it must be feeling so badly for us. On the surface it certainly looks awful. Yes it has been difficult, but my daughter and I see a bigger picture. We see that our Brett is no longer strung out on heroin. We see him seeking God every single day. We see our son, and brother who was lost but is now found.

 I received a letter from him yesterday. A letter that made my heart sing. It is the first letter he has written me, since we talk on the phone regularly and I visit him twice a week there hasn't been much unsaid. None the less it was so wonderful to see his handwriting and read what is on his heart. He wrote " so much good has come out of this already, like my renewed walk with God, and our restored relationship." Yes!! God will not let our hardships destroy us. Though they may be tragic, He will use them for our good"

I remember early on as I encouraged Brett to go to the cross, I told him that I had no control. I told him that only God could help him. I also told him that I was determined that God would be glorified in my life regardless of his decisions. As those words came out of my mouth I realized that it was something I could only do by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is something I have been living day by day. I am thankful that Brett did decide to lay it all down at the foot of the cross. He has found forgiveness, mercy and grace. He, like me is living in the shadow of the Most High. The enemy has had a day here and there when he has gotten the better of me and I have given in to fear, thankfully those days are fewer and fewer.

For Brett, God has protected him in a mighty way. He does not live in fear and has even formed some friendships that God is working in. I have begun corresponding with a young marine who is in there with Brett. He is alone in the world, no letters or visits from family. I encouraged him to seek after God and filled my letter with God's word. I am praying that the seeds will grow into a saving faith for him. Reaching out to him in the love of Christ has lifted my soul. 

Micca wraps up the that section by pointing us to Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. What a beautiful picture this paints for us. Life's troubles can surely become too heavy to bear. Jesus is waiting, wanting to carry them for us. If we would only give them over.


Laura said...

Hey, tina!

I want to jump up and down with joy as I read this post! I'm so rejoicing with you over the content of Brett's letter.

Oh, friend, God is so good!

Another resurrection to celebrate this Easter.


Stacy said...

Tina, this post made my heart smile in so many ways.

I loved your words on how the different perspectives that exist when something so public occurs with your loved ones. I have experienced that duality when a loved one’s actions made front page news.

I remain amazed at how God works in all situations and how so often, it’s the “rear-view mirror” view that one sees His handiwork.

Have you ever heard the song that includes the words “Sometimes God calms the storm; sometimes He calms His child.” I can’t think of the artist and not sure about the correctness of an exact quote but I prayerfully think of you each time I hear the song.

I am in awe that you, in the midst of such a storm, can lovingly support and encourage another. You must be truly abiding in Him because that is of supernatural strength.

Equally in awe of your words: “I remember early on as I encouraged Brett to go to the cross, I told him that I had no control. I told him that only God could help him. I also told him that I was determined that God would be glorified in my life regardless of his decisions.” Another moment led by the Spirit…I can’t even imagine how heartbreaking that time must’ve been.

I am so thankful that your Brett is beginning a new journey.

Continuing to be thankful for and in prayer for you.

Happy Easter!

With Love in Christ,

Gail W. said...

Hello, precious Tina! Thank you for directing your troubled friend to the truth of God's Word. Thanks be to God for the miracles in your family's life - may they refresh and sustain each of you. They have certainly inspired me.

Carol said...

This was so beautiful and encouraging. I'm so thankful that Brett is finding restoration in this situation, and you are finding peace. Praise God! My heart is also filled with the way you are sharing that love with the young marien.

Off to read your next post.
Lots of love and Hugs to you and your family.