Sometimes it is good to reflect upon what the Lord has done for you, for me, personally. It is good to reflect upon this great salvation God in Christ has wrought for us! I am in the state of mind to do just that, and so for the rest of this post I am going to get a bit personal and reflect upon what God has done for me, and how He has worked His life into my life through some really rather hard things.
I was in Las Vegas with friends, it was somewhere around 1994 (I was out of high school for around 2 years), and my walk with Jesus, even though I had grown up in the church, was a pastor’s kid, and had a sweet walk with Jesus prior, was now in a lukewarm state. We were in Vegas for a week, and every night as my friends were getting ready to go out and hit the casinos, every night around the same time, 7pm or so, I would get hit with a heavy hand of oppression and anxiety; I’d never had an anxiety attack before, but that’s what hit me at those times every night we were there. It kept me from going out with my friends, and eventually led me to leave Vegas, early ahead of my friends. It was through these circumstances that the Lord got a hold of me; when I got home I continued to experience these anxiety attacks, and it got worse. It was spiritual, spiritual warfare, depression, oppression, and it actually lasted for years, probably 7 or so! It is hard to describe exactly what I was going through, I shared it only with my parents at that time, and they walked with me through this. It drove me to God, it drove me to Holy Scripture, and caused me to commit myself to reading through the Scriptures over and over again (and that has lasted ever since); the Scriptures became my sanity, the mind of Christ had to become my mind by the Holy Spirit, my own mind was betraying me. This pushed me to despair of life itself, but to the point where I didn’t trust myself, but in the One who raises the dead. This pushed me to enroll in Bible College and finally Seminary. This pushed me to evangelize anyone and everyone I could; Christians and non-Christians alike! This pushed me to devour Bible commentaries, to read theologies, and this continues to be a fruit. This pushed me to have sympathy for people, in general, Christian and non-Christian alike; which I knew wasn’t me, but Christ in me, the hope of glory!
Then in late 2009, early 2010 I was diagnosed with an incurable, terminal cancer for which there was no protocol, and no real treatment; I was faced with my mortality, and the reality of life like I had never been before. The Lord walked with us, me and my young family through that valley of the shadow of death in such tangible ways that it is hard to describe. I was scared, and my life was narrowed down from having dreams and hopes for the future, to having dreams and hopes simply for each day. The Lord showed Himself to me in ways that transcend understanding; when I would wake up in the middle of the night full of fear of death, and feeling a sense of utter darkness and despair I would cry out to the Lord and He would lead me to just the right places of Scripture, the Bible would literally fall open to places where it was as if He, the Lord was speaking directly to me; and He was! When I would wake up in the morning and for a brief moment forget that I had cancer, but then only to quickly be confronted with that dire reality that indeed I really did have a terminal cancer, with all the attendant fear and anxiety that came along with that, the Lord would quickly rush to my heart and tell me it was going to be okay, that He was with me and that He would never leave me, or my family, and that He would never forsake us, I had just enough hope to get up and push on.
There is so much more I could share from both of these seasons of my life that I just covered, but that will have to suffice. The result of all of this is that when faced with life circumstances that seem overwhelming I have this deep and abiding confidence in my God, in my Father that it is all going to be okay! That even though I can’t see how something is going to work out, and there seems to be these huge mountains, these insurmountable mountains facing me, I can look back at God’s faithfulness and have real living hope. Because of the anguish and sorrow that has come in all of this, there has been a deep and abiding hope and joy pushed into my heart; and I know without a doubt that God is faithful even when I am faithless. I know that the provision I think I am providing for my family is really provision that God is providing for me and my family; I know that my sustenance, both physically and spiritually is not contingent upon what I do, but it is contingent upon who God is and what He continuously does in accordance with that. I know that God is a God of grace, and that He truly is Lord, that nothing in this world is greater than He is, that He has overcome this world! I know, and am continuing to learn that there is nothing too difficult for the LORD (Jeremiah 32:17).
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. ~Psalm 23