Floyd has had a quiet week. He was very solemn and serious when I was with him - attentive, but not very responsive - but completely at peace. I so often wish I knew what he is thinking. I'm always grateful for the peace and rest he has. A few times over these long months there have been times of agitation - which always bring "agitation" to my heart to see him like that. When he's at peace, I realize what a gift that is! Thank you Lord.
In my everyday life, continuing to persevere through everything in the daily routine - I am keenly aware that I am dependent on the Lord. I need Him every hour of every waking day! I couldn't make it without His grace, strength, help, and wisdom. I would be so lost without His help.
The world might think that that kind of dependence is a sign of weakness, but it's actually completely the opposite. Knowing we can't make it on our own, that we're dependent on Him, is acknowledging where our strength comes from! Our strength comes from the maker of heaven and earth!! It's not a negative thing. It's the most wonderful thing in the world that we can trust God to be our help in all the details of our daily lives.
I am dependent on God in so many ways, in so many areas of my life. If I'm not careful, it can seem overwhelming at times. One of the things that helps significantly, is that underneath the cares and needs there is a deep well of joy that He puts in my heart. I know that might sound crazy! Heavy problems - and deep joy. Only God can balance that out and make both possible. In the midst of hard situations, I've found I can even choose joy. I ask for His "mantle of praise instead of a spirit of heaviness."
Sarah Young in one of her devotionals uses the phrase "joyful dependence." I like that! There is a beautiful joy in knowing that we are dependent on Him, looking to Him, trusting Him. It's not a contradiction. There is dependency and there is joy - and they go beautifully together!
In thinking of this, I was reminded of a poem. The author is unknown. It was found on the body of a soldier at Gettysburg in the American Civil War.
"I asked for strength that I might achieve;
He made me weak that I might obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given grace that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I received nothing that I asked for, all that I hoped for -
My prayer was answered."
I often ask God for help to make it through some of the hard things in the day. He graciously answers - and He also gives me joy. What a wonderful Father He is. His answers aren't always what I expect, but He is always faithful!
"My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:2
"To give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified." Isaiah 61:3
"Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Psalm 55:22
"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13,14
"When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." James 1:2
"Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever shout for joy." Psalm 5:11
"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy." Psalm 16:11
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." Psalm 94:19
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines; though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food; though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour." Habakkuk 3:17-18
"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." 1 Peter 1:8
These verses are food to my soul. They are my lifelines into the promises of God. I am so grateful that He has given us a rich bounty of verses that speak to every need, every situation in our lives.
As we look to Him, He will meet our every need. He never fails us. He never leaves us. He never rejects us. He never gives up on us. He never grows weary. And as we lean into Him, He gives us joy unspeakable! I am joyfully dependent on Him.
Life in Africa is always interesting! :) A few nights ago our alarm went off in the middle of the night. We weren't alone. Two neighbours nearby had theirs go off too, so something was definitely happening. All the dogs were barking in the neighbourhood as well. Fortunately none of us were broken into!
We have a camera that looks out to the field behind us. I could see something moving, but it was too dark to determine what it was. I thought it was either a very large animal, or a person kinda bent over carrying something. The security company came to check our area to see what was going on.
Everything was quiet/no one was around, but they did find a HUGE porcupine in the field - probably with all its quills out, which is why it looked so large on our camera screen. They are known to roam our area at night. That doesn't explain the alarms going off, of course, but at least I know what was moving in the field behind us. I actually wish I could have seen it better.
This whole experience got me thinking about the unseen world around us. I can imagine in my mind's eye the angels that were watching over us! There are times when I have sensed God's divine presence and protection. I'm sure there are many, many times that I wasn't aware that God was watching over us too. Every night as I lay in bed, I ask God to send angels to watch over me, Floyd, and our family. I'm so grateful for His constant watch-care - especially since Floyd isn't with me.
There are times when I've been with Floyd and he will look at something beyond me. He's not "blanking out" - he's very focused on looking at something. But I can't see anything. I've found myself wondering if he's seeing angels. I've prayed for angels to watch over him, and keep him company in his hospital room. I hope God allows him to see them. I asked him one time if he was seeing angels, and he smiled.....so who knows. I'd love to see one (maybe I have and didn't know it), but whether that happens or not I know God sends His angels to watch over us. They might have been walking right beside that porcupine!
"He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways." Psalm 91:11
"God will order His angels to take good care of you." Luke 4:10
"I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." Exodus 23:20
"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them." Psalm 34:7
"The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:8
We were in a bad accident one time in Colorado. We hit black ice during a snowstorm. Our car rolled several times and ended up upside down. With the help of some passers-by, we managed to get out of the car - with only a few bumps and bruises. When the state patrolman arrived, he asked how many people were killed in the car - he said no one could survive that! He was shocked when he realized we were okay. There's not a doubt in my mind that God cushioned our movements as that car rolled. He was definitely protecting us.
I remember another time when we were traveling with a team across Turkey and Iran. We had misjudged our time to get to the next town, and ended up stopping late at night to camp in a field to sleep. The next morning when we awoke we saw a man (or angel?) on a nearby hill. He said he watched over us all night to make sure we were safe. I have used a picture from that occasion at the top of this post. I’m the one right in the front : )
There have been so many times when family members have been in dangerous situations. In looking back, we've often thought there had to be angels watching over them, guarding them, protecting them. I've never seen an angel - many people have......but I'm sure they've watched over me and our family. I'm very grateful for God's protection!