Thursday, January 14, 2010

All IS Well

Well, yesterday I received my first e-mail encouraging me to come back. So here I am. I have been most grateful for the time “away”, not physically at some distant location, but time away from the daily demands I had placed on myself here. God had called me to come away and I had to give myself permission to let go and rest. They say music is sweeter after a rest, so I trust the melodies conducted through His hand here now will sound lovelier and more harmonious.

Saying that, I’m afraid today’s tune is punctuated with minor chords. I awoke this morning excited to read God’s Word. I crept silently downstairs, turned on a tri-lamp to a low light, stopped momentarily to ask the Lord to speak His Word to me today, give me ears to listen and then opened my first devotional for the morning.

This year I am reading from two devotional books. One is the classic, “Streams In the Desert” and the other devotional came from a precious friend at Christmas, “Jesus Lives” by Sarah Young.

Here’s my quandary today. What do you do when both readings speak of trials tomorrow? I mean, I know struggles come. None are immune to their appearance in our lives. But here’s the thing. I was feeling great. I was anticipating a wonderful day. I was looking forward to spending time in God’s presence and receiving His blessing. Suddenly, my entire outlook changed. Suddenly fear has me gripped in it’s vice. Suddenly panic presented itself in a quicker pulse, a pounding heartbeat and sweaty palms. God’s Word, which should bring calm, brought confusion. Peace departed. Anxiety entered. I wasn’t aware of any concern in my tomorrow. I am awaiting results from my Doctor, but they should come today. Why did two readings that call me to trust God with the hours before me make me fearful? Do I not really know Him? If I truly embraced His presence, would these words not bring comfort instead of distress? Suddenly these daily readings became a horoscope predicting gloom.

Father, please teach me how to read these treasured writings, apply them and meet You through their pages. Lord, I don’t want to be coming to Your Word in terror each morning. Today I should be thanking You for promises found. Promises of peace. Promises of provision. Promises of protection. Promises of presence. Promises of perseverance. Promises of a prepared path. Promises of power. Promises of purpose. Yet today what I hear loud and clear are Your promises of pain.

Father, I know your children are not exempt from suffering and persecution, but the warnings today in both devotions have left me so anxious. What have I missed? Where have I allowed the evil one to control my thoughts and replace delight with doom?

Using an expression I’ve often heard my mom say, I’m talking to myself like a Dutch uncle. I must remind myself that whatever tomorrow holds, God is already there. He is already in my tomorrow. Time is not the same to God. My ‘tomorrow’ could be years away. My tomorrow may not hold a direct hit, but a coming alongside sorrow. He reminds me that He goes on ahead of me. (John 10:4)

I don’t want to lose the gift of today held captive in the possible grief of tomorrow. Lord, help me not to miss the “splendors of the present moment” as they parade before me. Help me believe in Your sufficiency in every situation. Keep me from worrying about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

Dark is the sky! And veiled the unknown morrow!
Dark is life’s way, for night is not yet o’er;
The longed-for glimpse I may not meanwhile borrow;
But, this I know and trust, HE GOES BEFORE.

Dangers are near! And fears my mind are shaking;
Heart seems to dread what life may hold in store;
But I am His - He knows the way I’m taking,
More blessed even still - HE GOES BEFORE.

Doubts cast their weird, unwelcome shadows o’er me,
Doubts that life’s best - life’s choicest things are o’er;
What but His Word can strengthen, can restore me,
And this blest fact; that still HE GOES BEFORE.

HE GOES BEFORE! Be this my consolation!
He goes before! On this my heart would dwell!
He goes before! This guarantees salvation!
HE GOES BEFORE! And therefore all is well.

J. Danson Smith

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Leah said...


I think it is our human nature to be fearful, despite the fact that God tells us over and over not to fear. It is a result of the fall. Yet, I believe that fear is an invitation that we can send out to the Holy Spirit to overshadow us in an extra special way during that time.

I pray you have found peace today, despite your reading material for the morning.


morningDove said...

well - you are going through. i can only speak through experience of what i am going through - the big "C" diagnosis in Augt but God gave me the word "Healing" from the beginning of the year. rest in Him, cast all your fears on Him. in my diagnosis fear has never entered me; i can't explain that. But then my tomorrow has not come. i live for 2day.
trials are a part of everyone's life; i'm realizing its just how are we going to go through.
you have an awesome voice, He speaks through you to bless others.

Unreasonable Grace said...

Joy, this spoke to me in a big way. Thanks for your candor. I will strive to remember the promises when I get into that state of mind.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

This morning my husband visited with a dear friend of ours (church member) who has just been told by her dr.'s there is "nothing more" they can do. She is 38, wife and mother of two precious young boys. In September, she was diagnosed with Leukemia, even has two perfect matches as donors for a transplant. Problem is, they can't get rid of the cancer long enough to do the transplant. She now has pneumonia, a fungal infection that is very intrusive, and on Sunday evening had a stroke, leaving her left side paralyzed.

Two to three months at the most... that's what they told her. Joy, you wouldn't believe this woman. Very quiet, and up until a few months ago, someone I would have said might not be able to handle a difficult trial. I was wrong.

Through her acceptance and tears, she told my husband this...

"I will miss my family, but I am not afraid. I am ready to sit at my Jesus' feet." Can you even grasp that?

My heart has been well heavy these past few weeks, but especially in the last one. I have a new hero. Her name is Summer. She is teaching us all a great deal about faith by allowing us a very transparent window into her sickness.

I don't know what that means to you this night, except to say, you can conquer this, sister. God gives us what we need, as we need. And should you like to read further about Summer's story and today's update, go here...

I think you might find some encouragement.

Love you.


Lori said...

Welcome Back Joy! I love your writing-you speak from your heart!

You were awaiting results and the enemy new this; he is in direct opposition to God and he will do whatever he can to rob you of your peace and allow terror to grip you.

But. You've got God. He's with you now and tomorrow and he will take care of you no matter what the future brings. Lift up thanks to him and praise him. Tell the enemy to get behind you. :) No matter what, God will get the glory in your beautiful life because you are following God, step by step, day by day. He is pursuing you and you are clinging to him right back! Right where you want to be. Under his protective wings, safe and sound my sweet Joy!

Hugs, Lori

~Grace and Peace said...

I realize this post is a few days old now. I pray that you got through whatever was waiting on the other side and that it "all came to pass." If you are still in the midst of it, know that He carries you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Lifting you up in prayer: for peace, wisdom and assurance.

Terra said...

"He goes before" is such perfect wording, and I pray you are confident today.

lisasmith said...

God had called me to come away and I had to give myself permission to let go and rest.

I love that song by Norah Jones, Come Away with Me. I think of my Lord each time I hear it. Joy, I am praying that He will hold you,comfort you and bring you a good report. Sometimes the dreading fear we feel before a trial is much worse than any trial itself. I'm praying tomorrow's battles will be fought for and won today. I do miss you and can't wait to hear your melodious song of sweet victory, sweet blessings! lisa