Speed Bumps

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Floyd has been quiet, serious, peaceful, tired.  I understand the tiredness.  I, too, would be so tired after all he has gone through.  

Throughout this week I've had 2 prayers echoing on my heart to pray for Floyd.  I've prayed that he won't feel abandoned in the long hours when we're not there.  Floyd is such a "people person."  I know the long hours alone would be hard for him.  We have a "Care Team" that spends time with him, but we can't be there all the time.  The doctors, nurses, and therapists love him and are very warm and caring with him too.

I've also felt to pray protection for him from any lies of the enemy that would bombard his heart and mind.  I don't want the enemy to take advantage of Floyd being weary.  

We continue to pray for grace and strength for him for whatever is still ahead.

It has been 3 1/2 years since this unexpected journey began.  It seems like it has gone on forever…and, in other ways, the trauma of all that happened seems like just yesterday.  The only sure thing in it all has been God's goodness and faithfulness.  He has been my steady rock and refuge.  I couldn't have made it without His strength and grace.

There's a medical facility that I go to fairly frequently that has something that I don't particularly like - speed bumps!  The speed bumps they have seem like small mountains.  I understand the reason and need for them, but theirs seem unusually high.  You have to slow down to pretty much a stop before going over them.

I seem to encounter speed bumps on our journey too.  A "small mountain" that comes into my path that I can't avoid or ignore.  I pretty much have to come to a full stop before I can continue on my way.  Everything in my life has to be re-examined in relationship to the new bump in my path.

I hit one of those bumps a few weeks ago!  I had some medical checkups.  I am feeling good.  I look good.  Except for the "winter bugs," I'm healthy and have had no symptoms of cancer problems.  I was expecting to get an "all clear," good news type of report.  But, instead, I was told that there is a new tumor.  This is the 3rd return of this awful disease, the 4th time now that I'm battling it.  Needless to say, it was disheartening.  My heart felt bruised from the impact.

I received the news at the end of an exhausting week of medical and therapy appointments.  I know that things hit harder when I'm tired.  I took the weekend to talk to the Lord about it all.  I wanted to keep hope alive in my heart - but I found that I had to keep stepping over disappointment and weariness to get to that hope.  I realized I wasn't just tired from the week - I was tired from the 5+ years of the cancer battle.  I knew I needed to strengthen myself in the Lord.

I reminded myself that I'm alive!  That is very important, and somewhat unexpected according to my doctors.  It's definitely an answer to prayer.  The Lord brought this scripture to my attention. Luke 18:1 - "Jesus taught the apostles to keep praying and never stop or lose hope."  I chose to keep praying and keep hoping.  As I did that, the heaviness began to lift.  My heart settled with a gentle peace.

I heard Bill Johnson say that "our darkest situation is a table of fellowship."  I so believe that.  I've experienced it over and over again.  And I had the opportunity these past weeks for a new, fresh, deeper level of fellowship with the Lord as I processed the news I received - the bump in the journey.  I'm so grateful for that precious intimacy with Him.

"My life, my every moment, my destiny - it's all in your hands."  Psalm 31:15 TPT

"I raise my eyes toward the mountains.  From whence shall come my help?  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."  Psalm 121:1,2

"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6,7

"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint."  Isaiah 40:31

"I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

"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

This bump in the road (that felt like a small mountain) has pushed me closer into the heart of God.  My trust is in Him.  My hope is in Him.  As Psalm 121 says,  I know God doesn't slumber, and I'm asking Him to "not let my foot be moved" from walking close by His side holding His hand. 

During my recent checkups, I had to do one of my least favorite things - WAIT.  I had to wait for results, wait for advice on treatment, wait to see what my days and weeks ahead were going to look like.  The hours and days seemed to drag by as I waited.

We have waited a long time on this unexpected journey, too.  We've waited to see what God plans to do.  We've prayed up a storm, and then we've waited for answers.  Will God heal Floyd?  Will He take him to heaven?  Is there another answer that we don't see?  It's been a very long season of waiting.

One of the things I've learned is that the waiting time is not wasted time, it's a time of preparation.  The only way to "shortcut" through hard times is to walk hand in hand with the Lord, keeping my eyes on Him, and whispering "Jesus" when I need Him to help me in times of weakness. 

I think another thing I've learned is that the waiting time is as important as the answers we get.  It's during the waiting that I have the opportunity to choose to keep my focus and eyes on the Lord - regardless of what the answers are.  Keeping my focus on the Lord, on His Word, on His promises, on His character is so very important. I've had to choose it over and over and over.  As I've done that, I've had such deep and precious revelations about who God is.  And as I understand who He is, it releases His grace to wait for the fulfillment of all He has for us on this journey.

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord."  Psalm 27:14

"Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters.....so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God." Psalm 123:2

"Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day."  Psalm 25:5

"Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield."  Psalm 33:20

"But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation.  My God will hear me."  Micah 7:7

I realize that the waiting is easier said than done, but it's so important.  I learned that afresh in my recent situation.  I heard someone say that difficult times will diminish us, define us, or develop us.  I want to learn and grow in the waiting times.  And we don't have to wait alone - He's right with us!

Whenever I face "hard" news about Floyd, myself, or one of our family - I find I need to be on guard to keep things in their right perspective.  It's good for me to do this - to make sure I have the foundation stones of truth laid in regard to the things happening in my life.  There are many of these foundation stones, but I thought I'd share a few that have been helpful to me.  These are like a "grid" that I look through in facing the events that come my way.

·      It's important to remember that each day is a gift.  Even the hard days!  As I open and receive the gift of the day, it then allows me to look to God to help me with whatever happens that day.

God is with us on the good days - and I think even more especially on the hard days.  I find I can easily see Him on the good days, but I might have to look more carefully into the mist of the unwanted circumstances of hard days to see His hand at work on my behalf.  Somehow the enemy wants us to think on the hard days that God escaped and took off somewhere.  But as I whisper His name and tell God I need Him - the light of His presence shines brightly into the mist of the hard day.

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:38,39

·      I remind myself of the foundation stone of hope.  There is ALWAYS hope - even in the bleakest situations - because we serve a God of hope.  If I look at the circumstances, I'll probably be overwhelmed.  But if I focus on God, on His power, on His might - then hope rises in my heart and the heaviness of the situation lifts.  I have to keep my eyes on Him throughout each and every day.

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long."  Psalm 25:5

·      I also affirm the foundation stone of His grace and strength.  I can't do whatever I'm facing, but He can!  His grace is sufficient.  His power is perfect in my weakness.  He gives strength to the weary.  He adjusts His strength and grace according or our need.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:9

·      I mustn't forget the foundation stone of "casting" my cares on Him.  I'm not able to carry the burdens and cares, but He easily can!  My burdens don't weigh Him down.  As I give them to Him, my load gets lighter.  I can continually throw my cares into His strong, waiting hands.

"Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."  1 Peter 5:7

·      And a very, very important foundation stone - remembering that I'm not alone!  Not even for once second, one nano-second of the day or night am I on my own.  He is continually with me, watching over me, holding my right hand, bearing my burdens, giving me grace, building up hope in my heart, and reminding me of the gift of "this" day that He has given me.

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip - He who watches over you will not slumber; Indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord watches over you - the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life;  the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."  Psalm 121

As I said, there are many, many foundation stones - but these are a few that help me.  Whether the day holds good news or bad, I "filter" the events of the day through the grid of these sure and steady foundation stones to guide my day.  And I stand firm and secure on Him, my Rock, as I navigate what comes my way. 

Then there is one foundation stone that overlooks all the others.  One of the most important foundation stones in my life - continually choosing to trust the Lord come what may!  He is absolutely, 100%, always trustworthy with both the big things and all the little small things that crop up.

It's so important when we hit a "bump" in the road (one of those speed bumps that I don't like), that we choose trust.  I sometimes see people immediately blame God when something happens. "Why did God do this to me?"  "Why did God allow this?"  "Why didn't God step in and keep this from happening?"  "Where was God when I needed Him?"  "I've served God all my life - why am I going through this?"  "How could a loving God allow this?"

Maybe it's human nature.  We want to find something/someone to blame when things go wrong.  It has to be someone's fault!  But, actually, we live in a fallen, imperfect world.  Bad things DO happen to really good people......and it's not God's fault, or anyone's fault.

I remember a time a number of years ago when we had gone through a particularly difficult and trying season......and then something else happened that was very, very hard.  My initial response was to say to the Lord - "Haven't we had enough?  Why are you allowing more to come our way?"  The words were barely out of my mouth when I felt so convicted - although I'd already had enough time to tell Floyd how unfair I thought it was. :(  But I knew that wasn't the right response!  I repented to the Lord and to Floyd.  And I asked God for help and grace to go through the new trial.

That was a good lesson learning experience for me.  I know that I know that I know that it's so important when a hard time comes along - that I immediately need to say to the Lord "I trust you in this."  I pray this out to the Lord daily.  I don't understand a lot of things that have happened to us, but I trust God in them.  I may never understand!  Some things will probably never make sense to my finite mind, but I can still choose to trust God.

The other foundation stones that I mentioned are all under girded by His trustworthiness in every situation that comes my way!!!  All of those foundation stones are solid and secure because of who He is.  His character is sure, unchanging, and true.

I have written about trusting God before - on a number of occasions actually.  But I know that I myself have to keep coming back to this - so it bears repeating.  We lived for a few years in the high desert in southern California.  The area where we lived was a granite mountain range.  One day we had a pretty strong earthquake.  I wondered if the house would come tumbling down.  But we actually "rolled" through the earthquake.  I watched the ground as the whole house rolled.  It was the most unusual experience.  The only damage we had was a stone on the corner of the fireplace hearth fell off.

The granite mountain, our foundation, was strong.  It absorbed the shock of the earthquake, and we could just roll with it.  When a new shock comes our way - I remember that very visual image.  God is my sure, strong, faithful, trustworthy foundation.  As I hang onto Him, He can help me "roll" through the earthquakes that come our way.

I'm still walking through some "aftershocks" of the diagnosis of my cancer returning.  Some of those have hit pretty hard.  I am choosing the rock solid foundation of God's trustworthiness.  There is no better place for me to be.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock."  Matthew 7:24

"The Rock!  His work is perfect, for all His ways are just: a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He."  Deuteronomy 32:4

"There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides you, nor is there any rock like our God."  1 Samuel 2:2

"He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken."  Psalm 62:2 

"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ."  1 Corinthians 3:11

"He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord."  Psalm 112:7

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because He trusts in you."  Isaiah 26:3

We live in a constantly changing world, but the one sure thing we can count on is that our wonderful God is completely trustworthy!  He is the firm foundation on which we can stand - come what may!  How faithful He is.