I'm always blessed when I'm with Floyd and he seems to be doing well. It lightens the heaviness on my heart for him. But the reality is that he seems to have good days, and not so good days continually! It's like a pendulum swinging back and forth!
He tends to lie still most of the time, but the other day one of the therapists said he was quite "animated." Translation - he didn't like the therapy, so he tried to elbow her. :) I was glad to see he had some spunk! As always, I commit him into God's loving care and His plans for him.
Over the last few years as we've gone through all the various trials, I have read through the book of Job on a number of occasions. Job faced losses and trials in a way that few ever have - and yet his heart remained turned fully to God. I've wanted to learn from his example. I've hoped to find keys to help me get through the things I'm facing as I've read through his situation. In recent days, one verse in particular has stood out to me afresh.
In the first chapter, Job receives one messenger after another telling him that everything he had is lost - his 7000 sheep, his 3000 camels, his 500 yokes of oxen, his 500 donkeys, his 10 children, and even his servants.....except for the few who survived to come tell him of each loss. From the narrative, it seems that it all happened in one day as one servant would be speaking.....and another would come to tell of more bad news. It was quite a massive blow! He may have been the richest man on the face of the earth at that time - and suddenly it was all gone.
We know that calamities come into our lives - although not usually of this scale and scope all in one day. But what happens next is almost unbelievable. "At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship." Job 1:20
This is the verse that has been impressed on my heart over and over again. I haven't torn my clothes! But I did lose all my hair with cancer treatment. :) What I'm challenged by is that in the face of such tremendous loss.....Job worshipped! Wow! It's not what you think of in terms of circumstances for a good worship time.
I've found that it's easy to worship when there are answers to prayer......when the sun is shining and it's not too cold.....when the bills are all paid.....when the medical treatment is having good results.....when all the appliances keep working.....when no alarms are going off in the middle of the night.....when the rest of our family is well and healthy.....when life is going fairly smoothly. But - turn all those things and many others along with them upside down - and worship isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind!
This is one of the "disciplines" that I've been working on learning these last few years. I've found that it's a key to persevering and surviving. Worship doesn't always come easily when I'm staring something terrible in the face - but it does help lift the weight and heaviness off of what I'm facing when I choose to worship!
Worship, thankfulness, and gratitude helps turn the darkest moment around. The situation doesn't disappear - how I wish it would! But there's something about getting my eyes on Jesus and worshipping Him in the difficulty that lifts the weight of what I'm facing from my shoulders and onto the Lord's. Being able to proclaim in statements of worship who God is and that He never changes, and being able to "cast my burden" on Him helps give me fresh strength to keep going.
I've tried to walk in this on this unexpected journey - and God has been reminding me of it again as I face new challenges with my health, my energy, and my treatment. I don't like these things I'm facing, but I'm choosing with Job to worship in response to them!
"Go to the Lord for help, and worship Him continually." 1 Chronicles 16:11
"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
"Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." 1 Chronicles 29:11
"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God." Psalm 42:11
"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker." Psalm 95:6
"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens." Psalm 68:19
He is so worthy of our worship and praise - in every situation in our lives! I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating - there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for, to worship Him for. On the hardest day, in the most difficult situation, in every trial that comes our way - HE IS WORTHY of our praise. "He is God and He changes not."
There are so many things that I love about the Lord! If I made a list, it would be endless. He is so good, so faithful, so amazing. One of the things that would be at the top of that list is that HE SPEAKS to us. What an incredible, precious gift that is. The Creator of the universe speaks into our human hearts - it's hard to even believe it's possible, and yet it's so very true.
I first heard the Lord speaking into my heart as a young girl when I was about three years old - kneeling by my bed, saying my prayers, and I heard God speak into my heart. It was an incredible treasure that I held close to me. That began a wonderful communication that has continued over the decades.
I've heard Him speak with clarity of direction when I've sought wisdom. I've heard Him speak words of correction when I've failed Him. I've heard Him speak assurance when I've hesitantly stepped out in obedience to something He's said to do. I've heard Him speak love and acceptance in moments of insecurity. I've heard Him speak courage when my human strength has been gone. I've heard Him speak tender words of love when my heart has been broken by something. The list could go on and on and on of how He has spoken - the key thing is that HE SPEAKS!! In fact, I think He longs to speak to us - but sometimes we miss His voice.
I've had people tell me they can't imagine that this is true. I've heard sermons about this being something for olden times, but it doesn't happen now. I've read articles by scholars who very intellectually explain why this can't happen. But my heart knows it does. I don't think I could have survived the last few years if it hadn't been for God wonderfully speaking love, strength, direction, and courage into my heart. I am so very grateful that HE SPEAKS.
God speaks and out of darkness brought light. He speaks and a 100 billion galaxies are born. He speaks and a 100 billion failures disappear. We see His heart in everything He says. Oh how incredibly wonderful that HE SPEAKS!!
As I have meditated on this, I don't know how to convey the joy that has welled up in my heart in thankfulness that HE SPEAKS. I find tears rolling down my cheeks as I tell Him how awesome it is that He speaks to my simple heart. As the song “So Will I” by Hillsong says, "If the stars were made to worship, so will I. If the oceans roar with greatness, so will I. If creation sings your praises, so will I." I see those stars at night - I hear the ocean's roar - I join with creation in thanking Him for speaking.
"A voice came from heaven: 'You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.' " Mark 1:11
"The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the most high resounded." 2 Samuel 22:14
"After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19:12
"The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in His temple all cry, 'Glory!' " Psalm 29:3-9
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27
I thank God for speaking to me through the years of my life - and especially for speaking so wonderfully during these last few difficult years. God often speaks to me through His creation. The song says "every painted sky a canvas of your grace." I will definitely think of that as I watch our beautiful sunsets. I am so grateful that HE SPEAKS!