Friday, December 14, 2012

You're walking with me

3:34 p.m. Today's project began at 5:45 this morning, when I opened my morning devotional by C.H. Spurgeon.  I'd had a discouraging evening during which, out of nowhere, on a miserably rainy night, I was personally slandered, accused and disparaged. No point in writing details, but the accusations were outlandish. I'm perhaps not the most sensitive person you can name, but I doubt that I, or any other Christ follower, would be attacking a woman whose husband is rapidly slipping away.

It was a restless night, marked by the strange pain on the left side of my head and neck which my chiropractor's adjustment failed to snap away.  I got up at 4 a.m. to take some Tylenol, and was up less than two hours later in preparation for a doctor's appointment.  The devotional Morning & Evening has uplifted me amazingly this last year, because each selection is based on scripture, and more often than not, speaks peace to my heart when most needed. Today's verse was Psalm 84:7:

They go from strength to strength.

Spurgeon asserts that this progress is actually the opposite of our experience in the natural world, where we tire as we go along--we don't get stronger. He writes of this contrast,

But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle as when he first set out. He may not be quite so elate and buoyant, nor perhaps so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly, more surely.

I certainly agree with that statement after 33 years of walking with Jesus. While I feel no personal qualities of exceptional strength in our family's trial with late-stage dementia, there is no doubt that God's Holy Spirit gives uncanny wisdom, answers in confrontation, and, by the blood of the Lord Jesus, deliverance in the fiery trials of this life and eternal joy in the one to come! Spurgeon adds,

Thou shalt never find a bundle of affliction which has not bound up with it sufficient grace.

Once downstairs, I poured my coffee and sat down for my scripture portion, Daniel 3. Only our loving God would give me another dose of powerful, promise-filled encouragement. This is the chapter where Jewish provincial governors Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to fall down and worship King Nebuchadnezzar's golden statue. The three men declared, v. 17-18,

...our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.

The king became so enraged that he had the fiery furnace heated seven times hotter, killing the "mighty men of valor" who threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego bound into the midst of the burning furnace. (v. 19-23) Let's take up the thrilling end of this story, v. 24-25:

The King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, "Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?"

They answered and said to the king, "True, O king."

"Look!" he answered, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."

Verse 27 tells us that the king and his leaders

...saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed, nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.

Jesus was walking through the fire with them!

There is a contemporary song on Christian radio that contains the line, "You were walking with me all of this time." God is the strength of each day of my life, and will continue to be. Truly, having Jesus walking with me in even the severest of trials is better than comfortably strolling through life without Him!

1 comment:

  1. So sorry you were attacked. Hope you can do more with your accuser if he/she is a believer so it doesn't eat away at you, dear one. I have been so humbled when these things happen and the LORD uses EVERYTHING for our sanctification.

    For my current seminary class I am reading an excellent book called "The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict" by by Ken Sande. I quoted from it recently on my blog.

    Yes, our trials as caregivers/lovegivers are often not understood by others. We can be strong in the LORD, but not in our own strength as you always seem to write about. Then even as caregivers we can practice Phil. 2:4 and get our mind off of ourselves and look on the interests of others. This is why I write on your blog when I have a chance.

    Still hope to interview in January perhaps for my blog.

    Love and prayers,