Monday, April 20, 2009

The Pressure's On -- Chapter 4

Well it's back to the routine almost, I'm posting tonight on Chapter 4 in our Yes to God study hosted by Lelia. We are in the book An Untroubled Heart, by Micca Campbell. Once again Micca's book has given me much to reflect on in my life. I can say that I've been under the pressure and stress before and God has always pulled me through. What do they say, as believers we are either in the midst of a trial, just coming through one, or getting ready to enter one.

I can't say that my life is pressure free, but I don't feel like I'm in a trial at this point, as some of my friends. I'd say we are more on the just coming through one stage. So I was struggling with how to share with you all. I think my favorite part of this whole chapter was all the reference to:

Psalm 23.

A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside the still waters,

3 He restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness

for His name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever. (NKJV)

(bold emphasis mine)

Goodness and Mercy, Micca introduces them as our bodyguards. What a visual that is, since reading that I picture these two mighty angles with me all the time. These bodyguards represent God's promise to us. No matter what we face they are with us, God is with us.

So what does Goodness as a bodyguard look like? Micca shares this,"The biblical concept on concrete experience of what God has done and is doing in the lives of His people. The goodness of God is experienced in His creative work, saving acts personal deliverance, and freedom from captivity of things such as fear, anxiety, pride, malice, and sin. God's goodness is extended in His name, His promises, His gifts, His provisions, and His providence in shaping personal and world events."

What about Mercy? "According to the dictionary, mercy means kindness or forgiveness to somebody you have power over or the easing of distress or pain. The biblical concept of the word mercy always involves helping those who are in need or distress. It's clear from the descriptions that Goodness and Mercy are God's aids that rush to our rescue when we are full of anxiety and in need."

Powerful stuff isn't it? There is so much more in this chapter, but tonight I feel the leading of sharing a story as discreetly as possible of a family we know, who we found out today is going through a trial that just left me in thought and pondering all through the day.

A family that we have grown to love and care for very much for the last 5 years is in what the world would call a rock and a hard place. They are a family strong in faith, and we have watched as God has lead them through many places that to people who don't know God would just give up on. So as I share this I also ask your prayers over this family. I can't give names, but we know God already knows who you are praying for.

We spoke with our friend and asked him how he was. Frustrated, mad, and stressed. You see he cares for and loves deeply his wife and family. He lovingly and diligently cares for his wife who suffers from an illness that has declined her health to the point of being wheel chair bound and needing care givers. He is not a wealthy man financially, but works hard to keep his family in a loving and safe home and fully intact. The children are smarter beyond their years and have also learned to lean heavily on God.

In order for our friend to work he must have caregivers for his wife while he's not there. In California state aid is available, and has been helping up until today. Today we found out that the state feels that he makes to much money to continue to provide her the assistance they need. He has at this point two choices quit his job, so he can be the caregiver, or divorce his wife so that she can be considered unable to provide for herself. The amount needed to cover the expenses is the equivalent to another entry level full time job, but of course that can't happen because they's need another caretaker for that.

As we talked with our friend today, we could see the great burden he feels. My husband and I walked with him arm and arm as we talked, listening. Our friend said two things, that made my heart leap, "I don't know how it'll turn out, but God always wins." Then he said, "even if God moves us to a one room shack, it'll be where God wants us to be and He will take care of us." I had to hold my tears. We talked more about the roads God has brought him down, but this one he said is the first one he just can't see past today. He can't figure out where the money will come from, but God does. We prayed and hugged. We prayed for his strength, his health, his wife's health, for their children's peace. Our friend is also having deep chest pains from this stress. We told him we will help in anyway we can, and we'll pray for others to step out in faith and help them as well. I wish you could meet his wife, she always shines God's love and faith in her smile.

I honestly don't know how this will turn out, I just kept reminding myself all day that God see's the picture much bigger than I do, and nothing is beyond Him. I know one thing those bodyguards Goodness and Mercy are encamped around my friends home. Micca reminds us that " What we can count on are His agents of Goodness and Mercy for deliverance and provision. Sometimes they show up in unexpected ways."

Today as my thoughts would stray back to my friends, I went through a wave of emotions. I'm the first to admit that as far as California goes, it's system is messed up. Money goes in all the wrong places, but I can't focus on that. It's a world system created by fallen man, and let's face it it's not getting any better. No I must take the anger and frustration that Satan so longs to feed, and turn it into praise and worship for my Mighty King, and Soverign Lord over All. Praise and worship because I have faith that God will take this situation and do glorious things for not only my friends family, but will be used to show His glory to so many people.

There is so much more to this chapter but I'm going to leave you with this, that no matter what pressure we are under, when we can't see past the pain, and fear and we don't know how this will work out, God does. We must lean into God during the times, this is when God refines us into the person we are suppose to be. This is the time when we need to ask people to pray for us and pray for us without ceasing. As my friend said today we must remember that "God always wins." He has gone before us and prepared the way.



Tina said...

I am praying for your friends. Yes, God always wins. The times when things seem so incredibly hopeless and discouraging are the times when God shows up in a mighty way. Because if not for those times it would be far too easy for the enemy to convince us that it is of ourselves that we find our way.

When we can only see a bit of the big picture that God is painting and that little bit doesn't look good to us, it is then that our faith is stretched and strengthened. He never leaves us in that place forever. Often He allows us to see the big picture and have the Ah Ha moment.

I will pray as one who is also only seeing a little bit right now, I hope that soon they will see more.

In Him,

Anonymous said...

This has been wonderful to read... thank you! I have really needed to read these words, and to receive the encouragement that's just waiting in them... I'm glad all is well for you - thinking of you... Naomi x