Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our Refuge and Strength

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

There are moments when I feel completely overwhelmed....
don't we all?

It is in these moments that I miss Mom the most.
One of my first instincts...
one of my first knee-jerk reactions....
was to pick up the phone and call her.

One thing I never had to question with Mom,
is that no matter what was going on,
she was in my corner.
She cared....from the heart.
And somehow, I could count on her
to snap me out of my doldrums
and point me back to the path of faith...
every time.

Did you ever notice that when you are at your lowest point....
when your composition is most compromised....
when you feel the weakest and most vulnerable....
the smallest thing can seem more than you can bear?
Something that wouldn't seem like the smallest challenge at any other time,
seems impossible and far beyond the range of your own capability.

We all know that our archenemy, satan, 
does not cut any slack when the chips are down.
In fact, that is when he seems to hit the hardest...
with the most force....
and violence and cruelty.
He is unfair.
He plays by no rule book.
He always kicks you when you are down.
He is an unfair opponent.

I guess you could say this hasn't been my week..

I have missed much,
I've been fighting some physical ailments,
and I've been feeling so anxious and uncertain.

Zachary went lizard-hunting on our front porch
and nearly put his hand directly on a snake.
It was coiled in one of my plants 
on a table just outside our living room door.  
It was the second snake we have found
on our porch within a few weeks' time.
Kevin killed it and was almost certain it was poisonous.

I have no words to thank God enough for keeping His eye on Zachary.

The engine in the pressure washer I bought Kevin for Christmas blew up.
We've only used it one time.
Now, we have to deal with warranties, hauling it to the repair shop (it's heavy), getting it fixed, etc.
Just the thought of dealing with the hassle
seems to almost put me over the edge.

Our computer crashed...almost completely.
Thank the Lord for RescueIt.
It looked pretty hopeless last night and this morning,
but they came through this afternoon and discovered and fixed the problem.

Then, I got a disappointing email today.
It was kind of like the last straw.
Oh, it was nothing that would seem at all earth-shattering....
to anyone else.
It's just that a project that I've been holding out a lot of hope for...
something I've been looking forward to....
concerning the fruition of a dream,
was completely shot out of the water today.
A door was closed.
My dream shattered....
in that email.
Working on it has kind of helped me get through the last few months, 
and now it is over and it seems that all of my careful effort was in vain.

And there have been other things.....
one thing after another....
small things....
that when weighed against the heavier things of life
 seem trifling and unimportant.

I know we aren't supposed to sweat the small stuff.
I need to take my own advice.

Nevertheless, when you compile enough fragments of small stuff....
all of it together can pile up to big stuff....
and seem even bigger.

I am not complaining....honest.  :)
I am very thankful.
In fact, my heart is full of gratitude to God.
I worship and praise Him,
and I appreciate Him and every blessing in my life....
with all my heart.

It has just been very trying lately, and during the course of things, 
I've had the impulse to call Mom
even more often than usual.

Knowing she isn't there....
to call....
sure is hard to accept.

She was a pillar...
that I...
and several others....
leaned on for support.

I was praying.
Telling the Lord all about how Mom was my pillar,
how much I miss her,
how I wish I could ask her to pray for us, 
when He came to me.
He stopped me in my prayer, 
and in my mind, He showed me a large, white pillar.
It was at the corner of a building....
helping support its weight.
I realized that pillar symbolized Mom...
her strength,
her faithfulness, 
her love,
her prayers.

I saw the pillar removed....
taken out of the picture.
The building didn't fall,
even though the pillar was no longer there
supporting its weight.
I looked and wondered, 
but not for long.
Because behind the spot where the pillar had stood,
standing strong, firm, and solid....
was none other than Jesus Himself.

I saw that He had been there all the time.
That He had been the One all along....
who was standing behind the pillar....
supporting the building...
holding her up....
so she could hold us up.

He was the Source of her strength.
He gave her what she needed,
so she could pass it on to us.
He was her Rock.

Jesus said,
"Child, I've always been here....
behind the pillar.
I'm still here."

I saw Him.
I saw Him standing there,
even though the pillar is gone.

He gives the sweetest invitation in Matthew 11:28-30.
"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  
Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; 
for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  
For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

He made the sweetest promise in Matthew 28:20.
"...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

Sometimes, He wants us to get to the place where we rely solely...
upon Him.

There are times in each of our lives,
when He gently removes a pillar.
Something or someone we have trusted in....
and leaned upon....
to get us through.

Because He wants to show us...
in the most personal, intimate way....
that He has been there all along....
that He will always be there.
No matter what else changes.
No matter what other means of support is removed.
No matter what direction the winds of change may blow.

He is the Solid Rock.
He is the foundation upon which every pillar rests.
He is the source of all strength.

And when our leaning post gives way,
He'll still be standing there...
behind it...
arms wide open....
to break our fall.
To hold us up.
To make us stand.

When every earthly pillar is removed,
the foundation will still stand...
He'll still be there.

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