Dear Devotional Readers:
Many of you are going through really hard circumstances right now. Believe me when I say that I understand what you are facing. Perhaps this devotional will encourage you.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7
This devotional is for those of you who seem to live in the path of the storms. Regardless of what you do, the storms keep coming at you. It is wearing you down and covering you up. Well, it’s time to dig out. I hope this will help you because I am just like you. I constantly face adversity in my life and at times I can’t see the surface from the pit I seem to be in. Can you relate? This is not a pity party devotional. It is a call to action. We’re digging out!
I loved March this year. The weather was perfect for launching a massive project to clear out a fence row filled with underbrush. The grape vines and climbing brush were literally suffocating our trees. We couldn’t even see the beautiful field adjacent to our property. For years we had planned to clear out the fence row and take the fence out. We found a friend to help and before we knew it, we were outside with chain saws, clippers, shovels, rakes and other tools to get the job done. Every day Bruce and I went outside and worked until lunch time. Then we would quit and do his dialysis. Most of the time we were out again later in the afternoon if Bruce felt like it.
It was a wonderful time. We both got banged up and bruised at bit, but it was fun. Then, the first assault came in April. Bruce fell down when a tree branch he was sawing with the chain saw rebounded back and threw him to the ground. He suffered a huge skin tear. I rendered first aid and thought it was secure, but in the middle of the night he woke me up with severe bleeding. After two visits to the ER; a wound clinic visit; 48 hours later the wound stopped bleeding.
In May we got a double attack. Bruce injured his wrist. We think it was while using a posthole digger to dig holes for tomato plants. We had moved on from the fence row to the garden. The fence row was clean and the beautiful meadow next door was fully exposed. Then, Bruce spiked a fever during dialysis and we were in the ER for blood cultures. The next night, he was awakened in the middle of the night with pain in the wrist so severe that I had to take him to the ER for pain medicine. They gave him steroids and a hand splint.
The blood cultures were negative, so they chalked it off to a virus. It took almost a month to find out that Bruce’s wrist had multiple stress fractures and get it into a cast. The breaks didn’t show up on the x-rays and the doctor didn’t think an MRI was necessary. Bruce suffered and took strong pain pills before the doctor decided to do the MRI and found the fractures.
Bruce had stomach pain; saw a GI doctor; he did an upper GI scope and found an ulcer. He was placed on medication for it. Then, he developed signs of a GI virus which eventually led to the ER with diarrhea and bleeding. All this was going on at the same time – wrist pain, stomach pain, diarrhea, bleeding. It calmed down a bit only to start up last Friday with a spike in fever and chills at the end of dialysis. He had an appointment with a new doctor who is an infectious disease doctor. She drew blood cultures and MRSA grew out. Now, he is on IV antibiotics and we have to go into the Dialysis Clinic three times a week for treatment. He may have to have his dialysis catheter pulled and a new one placed. He may even have to have surgery to try to get a dialysis fistula in his arm. The storm is still raging and causing turmoil all around us.
Last week I felt the weight of it. At times I felt like I was suffocating. I kept praying and praising. I knew God was where my help comes from. I did two other things to get free. First, I had Bonnie give me an oils massage. It freed my soul and relaxed my body. The healing oils calmed me and got me in a place where I could receive from the Lord. The other thing I did was started reading in a book from my library that the Holy Spirit led me to. It is called Be Anxious for Nothing by Joyce Meyer. Perhaps many of you have read it. It reminded me that anxiety and stress will steal my joy and keep me focused on the storm instead of the Lord. That is why He tells us to be anxious for nothing – not just the big things, but all things. He tells us to come to Him in prayer because He is waiting to hear from us. He knows the circumstances are getting you down, but He wants to lift you up out of that pit and place you on higher ground.
Anxiety causes worry and worry saps you of your energy. What can you do about it by worrying? Can I get rid of the circumstances surrounding me? Can I stop the storms from coming? No, but I don’t have to worry about them. God has me and He has Bruce. It may not seem like it if you look at the wall of problems we have been facing, but God does have us. He dropped this little phrase into my heart last week while I was sending out a prayer request:
Prayer is the answer that leads to the solution.
The plan of the enemy is to get us so focused on the problem that we forget to bring it to God. Prayer is always the answer. In it the solution is found. Maybe that is why we are instructed to bring our petitions with thanksgiving. The solution is already there. Prayer activates it. I may not see it or it may not come as I expected it to appear, but the solution is in the prayer. Sometimes God even gives you the answer as you pray. You know what He is going to do. Even if you don’t, casting the care of it and settling down in the peace of God will keep you while you wait.
If you feel weighed down like I did, you can listen to His voice inside of you. He may tell you to go do something to help your body or He may direct you to a book. However you do it, you must get your focus off the problems around you and trust them to the only One who can help you. He doesn’t need us to worry or be anxious to get the circumstances to change. We need to stand in faith and join in prayer with our prayer partners until we see deliverance. The peace of God promises to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, if we don’t worry, but pray.
I am still living out this storm, but each day brings new hope and perhaps God will bring a new surprise that will change things. If not, I will continue to pray and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit for help and encouragement. The Psalms are definitely my friend. Don’t stay in the pit. Reach up and let God plant you firmly on solid ground, even while the storm rages.