Our Unexpected Journey

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Floyd is doing better.  It seems he has had 2 infections.  He's not totally well, but he's much better than a few days ago.  He tries to focus in on our visits, but gets tired easily.  We continue to pray that he will feel better.

I was watching a Hallmark movie recently (I'm a fan of them).  It was about a woman trying to conquer her fears.  She said "when do we stop being a worrier and start being a warrior?"  I thought about that for a while, and realized that's pretty much what I face each day.  I have to step over the worries of all that's happening in our lives, and choose to put my hand in the Lord's......and go to battle to overcome the challenges and fears that I'm facing.  I want to be a warrior!

My mother was a very Godly woman.  She was a woman of prayer and intercession.  She had great faith, and was very generous with the limited resources we had.  She modelled so many wonderful examples of living a life of trust in the Lord.

But she was also a worrier.  It was her weak spot.  I can understand it in terms of things she had to face.  She lived through the Great Depression and the war years.  She lost her first husband, and had to raise 4 children as a single mom in those hard years.  She had lots to worry about!  I'm not sure I could have survived all that.

But her way of worrying made an impact on me.  I've had to work to overcome that in my life.  And on the unexpected journey we've been on, it's been a big test for me.  I'm sure it's why God has highlighted trusting Him to me over and over.  Trust in God protects me from worry!  As I make the choice to trust God, I can't make a choice to worry at the same time!  They contradict each other.  Thoughts of worry may be because I'm not fully trusting God.  Worry can be unbelief in disguise.

In fact, I've found it important to resist the temptation to worry.  When worry tries to creep in, I have to make conscious choices to turn my thoughts and attention to God and His faithfulness.  Often when I find worrying thoughts filling my mind, I realize I haven't given these things to the Lord.  Many times they are "little" things, small issues.  God is concerned about every detail of our lives.  There's nothing too small to talk to Him about.

I was looking over some old sermon notes of Floyd's.  In one of them he said that there are 2 words that make up the word worry - to divide.....the mind.  That's what worry does.  It divides our mind from focusing on trusting God!  And we don't want to be double-minded.  The Bible warns against that.

For every worry we might have, the simple antidote is to focus our heart, mind, and emotions into trusting our wonderful God.  And instead, we can be mighty warriors of trust in God!

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:34

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6,7

"Then Jesus said to His disciples: 'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.' "  Luke 12:22

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken."  Psalm 55:22

Many of us are in the thick of the battle in terms of things we are facing.  We do feel like "warriors" trying to overcome the things we're going through.  I read an anonymous quote (often attributed to Winston Churchill) - "If you're going through hell, keep going!"  We can purpose our hearts to trust God in the midst of the big battles we're facing!  We can push worries away and choose to be warriors of the faith!

A few weeks ago I had a throat infection/chest congestion/cough, etc.  I had to take some meds to get rid of it.  I was so glad when it was gone.  I was fine for about 3 weeks, and then last week it seemed to return with a vengeance.  I now have a raging infection in my mouth and throat.  I'm feeling really weak, worn down, and quite awful.

It's been a bit discouraging to me because I have worked so hard at building up my system and immunity.  We're in winter, so there are lots of "bugs" going around.  I seem to be vulnerable to them.

A couple days ago I was looking through some of Floyd's files trying to find some notes for someone.  I came across a large sheet of paper with only 3 sentences on it - hand written by Floyd.  It said:

"Pain and suffering are God's gifts to us to drive us to Jesus.  In our sufferings we share in His sufferings.  In our shame we meet His glory."

It felt as if Floyd himself was speaking to me in the midst of my being so sick.  I could hear his "voice."  It was very special to my heart.  And it put things back in perspective.  I need to keep my eyes and my heart focused on the Lord - even as, or maybe especially because, I'm feeling weary and worn down.

I'd be the first to admit that I'm not a fan of suffering when it comes along!  But I'd also have to admit that I've seen the "gift" of what God brings into our life through it.  The closeness, the intimacy, the grace, the comfort, the daily release of His sufficiency to help us - those are all things that I don't know how we can experience any other way.  No one can meet us in our suffering in the way He does.  I'm grateful for that gift.

"God met me more than halfway, He freed me from my anxious fears. Look at Him; give Him your warmest smile.  Never hide your feelings from Him.  When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot.  God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray.  Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see - how good God is.  Blessed are you who run to Him."  Psalm 34:4-8  The Message

I am running to Him in my physical weakness today.  I am speaking out my trust to Him - opening my heart to receive His grace and strength.