“Your mother-in-law has terminal brain cancer.”
“Uncle Ted died.”
“Your father-in-law had a heart attack.”
“Honey, I got in a wreck. I’m ok, but the car doesn’t look so good.”
These are all things that have been said to me in the last year and a half or so. Each time I heard these life-altering phrases, anxiety welled within me. I felt panicked. Overwhelmed. Beside myself.
When news came of my mother-in-law, I wondered if it could really be true. Just the day before, we went on a picnic. She seemed fine, if a bit tired …
When Uncle Ted died in his chair as he dozed off to take an afternoon nap in the warm sunshine, I was shocked, despite the fact that he was 80-something …
When my father-in-law had a heart attack, again, I was shocked. He had always been so strong …
And the car. Oh, that stupid car! I was convinced we had purchased a car previously owned by a witch who put a curse on it! Between this wreck, the wreck last year, and the wrecks my girls had been in, the men at the auto body shop knew me by name …
Call it life. Call it trials. Whatever it is, not a single soul is exempt. We all go through bad stuff here on earth. It’s not really a matter of if it will happen, but when. What kind of trial it will be isn’t so important. What’s important is what we do with the trial.
As Chuck Swindoll says:
“Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.”
One of my biggest desires is to get to a place in my life where I no longer feel anxious and uprooted when bad news comes knocking at my door or calling on my telephone. I want to be assured and peaceful come what may. Storms, trials, bad news, sickness, health, success, defeat … all of it. I want the “peace that passes all understanding” that God so freely offers.
Close to where I grew up, there’s a tree nestled beside a long, country road. It stands alone, next to a canal so large it might as well be a river. The roots of the tree are enormous, and if you stand beneath the limbs, you feel as though you’re a part of something bigger. Something stronger. Something that literally cannot be moved … come what may.
Being strong isn’t something I’m familiar with. Cardiac problems as a kid and digestive diseases later in life have always made me small and weak. And while I know I would thoroughly enjoy being robust and energetic, it won’t likely happen this side of Heaven.
Likewise, my sin has made me spiritually sick. The difference is that spiritually, I can be strong.
Strong, because of His forgiveness.
Strong, because I’ve hidden His Word in my heart.
Strong, because I humbly bow before Him in prayer. Purposely repentant, thankful, and reliant on Him for power.
No phone call in the world has the power to dig me up by my roots if I am well grounded in Him. Bad news, chronic illness, sudden deaths, and more can swirl about my limbs, causing them to sway in the storm. It’s not that I will be completely unaffected. But my core being will remain firmly planted and immovable.
Not because of my own strength.
But because I have purposely drawn strength and nourishment from the river.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper. ~Psalm 1:2-3
-Brenda R. Coats
I’ve found that the stability everyone wants only comes when there’s less of you, and more of Jesus. He’s the stability everyone wants…it’s not some idea out there floating around, and that if you get lucky enough you’ll clench your fist at just the right time and catch it…it’s Jesus, and He’s just waiting for you to say you need Him, and that you want to be a “channel only…”
I agree. You have to just stop looking for stability everywhere that the world has to offer, and turn to the only One who can truly offer it. 🙂
Amen, sister. Nothing is as encouraging as knowing that the most powerful being in the universe, who has control over every single molecule of said universe, loves me and you and is taking a very personal interest in our good. Thanks for sharing!
Good summary, Kate!! 🙂
You ARE a part of something bigger, Brenda.. bigger than our minds can conceive. And I’m a part as well, not because of who we are, but because of Who He Is.
You are so very right, Karin!! Thank you for the encouragement!
This is very uplifting and heart-warming Brenda. I love reading the Psalms, I always find something I need. Thanks and keep it up lady.
Yes! I love the Psalms, too. Well … all of them that I understand thus far. 🙂
I want to tell you what this post did for me. I was on my way home from my tax appointment, feeling the weight of $2500 worth of taxes, and I thought about how I too, can be immovable. With God, I don’t have to feel the weight of these things. I need to simply continue putting one foot in front of the other, and give all the honor and glory to God.
My strength lies in Him.
Thanks so much for sharing your heart!
…God is bigger than the Boogie man … and $2500 worth of taxes, right? :))
It was my pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity!
“Being strong isn’t something I’m familiar with. Cardiac problems as a kid and digestive diseases later in life have always made me small and weak.”
Small and weak? No….it sounds as if your struggles have made you certain of where to find strength. 🙂
Yes! You got the point! That makes me happy. Happy, Happy!
“Bad news, chronic illness, sudden deaths, and more can swirl about my limbs, causing them to sway in the storm. It’s not that I will be completely unaffected. But my core being will remain firmly planted and immovable.”
I love this part because, yes, these things affect you. Yes, you tumble, but you do not fall over. 🙂
Yeah, I think it’s important to remember that we’re not supposed to be invincible. Just sturdy! 🙂
I like this post. There are many times when we feel that way (shaken, shattered, insignificant), but feeling that way isn’t the evil, the evil comes when we (Christians) believe that to be true even though we are held so tightly in the hand of our Saviour, which is held so tightly in the hand of Our Father- The Ancient of days, the Rock of ages, the Almighty, The I AM, the only Holy-Holy-Holy. I may be strong physically, as a larger man, but then the temptation is to think I am something…I don’t know if its easier to always feel weak, or believe that you are not and find it to be a lie…
Well that certainly gives me something to think about. I guess I’ve never really considered what it would be like for a strong person, but I can see how that would be tempting to falter the other way, and be tempted to think I am self sufficient.
Either way, as you said, we are held tightly by our Father. For that, I am grateful …
“I want to be assured and peaceful come what may. Storms, trials, bad news, sickness, health, success, defeat … all of it. I want the “peace that passes all understanding” that God so freely offers.”
Thank you for posting this. I too long for this response because it is there just for the asking. Our loving, gracious, loving Heavenly Father waits for us to reach out and lean and stand on his promises.
So true. Maybe we should add “patient” to those list of God’s attributes, eh? 🙂 So glad He is patient with us, waiting for us to reach out, as you said.
I have so been there, too! Such crazy drama in my life…but YES on the peace of God!! There is nothing quite like it! Love the quote from Swindoll, too.
This was an encouraging post. Thanks for sharing!