Floyd is not doing well. He is battling a chest infection and was pretty miserable this week. He still attentively listened to everything I shared, but it broke my heart to see him feeling so awful.
I know it's hard for everyone to understand exactly what Floyd's condition is. I've tried to explain it, but it's hard to grasp unless you are here with him. One thing to clarify - he's not in a coma! He is conscious. He recognizes us, he listens attentively most days, he seems to understand, and he often responds in some way to let us know he is tracking with what we are saying. There are, however, some days when he just doesn't "connect" with us. His attention seems elsewhere. Because he can't speak to tell us things, we don't always know what is happening with him. On his good days, he greets us with a big smile.
We recently passed the 40 months milestone for Floyd's illness. It's a strange thing. In some ways it seems to have gone by quickly. In other ways it seems to have been forever. All we can do is just walk through one-day-at-a-time.
Lots of my days start off "normal" - calm, peaceful, with things to do that day, but not intense. And then suddenly, like a light switch being flipped.......things come along that bring storms into the day. The day becomes stressful and intense in an instant.
I've had some of those days this week. Each time, I immediately knew I couldn't make it on my own. I needed God's help. I needed Him to rescue me in a few situations. A couple times I've found myself saying to the Lord - "Really? You want me to have to deal with this?" He was probably chuckling at my attitude. I'm glad He is patient with me and has a sense of humour.
I'm learning once again, in very profound ways, that I can't just live on yesterday's grace and on the strength of times gone by. I need to receive afresh His mercies that are new every morning, and lean into them each day, for each new thing that comes along. Sometimes I have to receive that fresh grace and help many times a day!
Someone sent me the photo I've used at the top of this post. I absolutely love it! When I'm facing something overwhelming, I think of this photo. "Aslan" is right beside me!! He will help me get through anything. I can just picture the mighty "Lion of Judah" standing beside me in the daily battles.
There are so many verses about God "holding our right hand." Sometimes I stretch out my hand and imagine Him holding it while I speak out promises from the Word of how He'll be with me. I sense His presence with me in the "battle" of the day.
In the midst of these things this week, the Lord put the word BRAVE on my heart and gave me a simple understanding of what it meant for me:
B - be bold, in the strength of His might
R - be resilient, don't let the storms blow me over
A - be alert, watching for things I need to take a stand against
V - be vigorous, in my pursuit of God's grace
E - be eager to learn and grow
I think these are the things He is asking of me as I hold firmly to His right hand. I can be "brave" because of His help. Aslan is by my side!
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22,23
"For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.' " Isaiah 41:13
"He is at my right hand. I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:8
"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand." Psalm 73:23
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14
Our character will be shown in the great moments, the big moments of life, but it is formed and developed in the small moments. Each day when I encounter the small things that bring the storms - God is using those "small" things to grow my character. He is faithful to help me. Certainly my character has been formed and developed over all my years, but it's not over. I'm still learning and growing!
I've mentioned before that shortly before Floyd got sick, the Lord gave him a word about breakthrough. He didn't understand what it meant, but he knew it was an important word for him. Through his illness, we've prayed for that breakthrough. Maybe we've seen it - maybe not. Several people have suggested to me some ideas about what it might mean. I'm still not sure, so I keep lifting it to the Lord.
I've also mentioned often that I trust the Lord. I trust Him when we don't see the answers we'd like to our prayers. I trust Him when I don't understand some of the things we are walking through. I trust Him on good days and on hard days. I trust Him for Floyd's future - and for mine.
A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend, and he made the statement to me that "trust is better than breakthrough." Those words grabbed my attention, and I have pondered them in my heart over and over. I'm sure He is right!
There is probably nothing more important in our walk with the Lord than trusting Him. Absolute trust - in spite of circumstances, and especially in times when things don't make sense to our limited understanding. I tell the Lord - over and over, many times a day - "I trust you!!!" The more I say it, the more it becomes a sure anchor in my soul.
But I'm fully aware that trust isn't always easy. In fact, in our walk with the Lord, I think the enemy does all he can to keep us from trusting God because He understands how powerful it is when we do trust. The enemy tries to sow seeds of mistrust continually. He whispers lies into our hearts when we don't immediately see answers to prayer. He tells us God doesn't care when our suffering goes on for a long time. On difficult days when we're overwhelmed with all we are going through, the enemy will want us to believe that we're on our own. The enemy doesn't want us to trust God!
The simple reason for that is because trusting God is powerful. It keeps us steadily on course even when everything in our situation tries to pull us away from God. Trust keeps us focused on God's promises, His provision, His power. Trust takes our eyes off our situation and onto looking at our wonderful, faithful Father. Trust opens our heart to a place where we can receive God's help.
Trust in God drives away fear - any fear we have because of what we're walking through. Trust opens the door for the promises of God to be alive and part of our life each day. Trust gets rid of worry and discouragement. Trust brings strength when we keep our focus on the Lord's power. I've found trust to be one of the main "keys" for helping me persevere on this long unexpected journey. And trust is something we can all choose!
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5,6
"See, God has come to save me. I will trust in Him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; He has given me victory." Isaiah 12:2
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." Psalm 56:3
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me." Psalm 28:7
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
If you are struggling with trusting God, one of the things that's helpful is to speak out trust in His wonderful promises:
- I trust in your faithfulness. Deuteronomy 32:4
- I trust in your unfailing love. Psalm 52:8
- I trust in your lovingkindness. Psalm 63:3,4
- I trust that you are near to me when I call. Psalm 145:18
- I trust that you will help me when I'm weak. Isaiah 40:29
- I trust that you hold my right hand. Isaiah 41:13
- I trust that you give wisdom. James 1:5
- I trust that you have good plans for my life. Jeremiah 29:11
The list is ENDLESS!!! He has promised to meet our every need. We can trust Him.
In our situation, I don't know if we'll see the "breakthrough" we want or that we expected. But I know that I daily see the fruit of trusting the Lord. He is so good and so faithful! I have found that, truly, trust is better than breakthrough!