Part One of a two part Series: Please read this part first!
NO DESSERT BEFORE YOUR DINNER!
NO DESSERT BEFORE YOUR DINNER!
I know the title seems to be a bit of a paradox....and to those of you who know the Bible verse, "Be Still and Know that I am God;" you will see that it is also a bit of a play on words.
I want to talk a little about the paradoxical end of things. Actually I'm having a ton of things going through my head very quickly at the moment...making connections --and then forgetting them as quickly as I've made them.--and the result is a morass of writhing confusion. What should have been a moment of enlightenment, has instead been an exercise in frustration.
Let me see if I can back up and untangle myself.
My friend, Narky, (http://ifnarky.com) recently took a huge exam - a major milestone in the process of getting her MA in a difficult foreign language. For weeks---no! ---for months, she anguished, feared, panicked and eventually was in a state of hysterical fear. I've been talking with her via email....and eventually God did a beautiful thing in her life...bringing her to a new understanding of "ABANDONMENT" and TRUST in regard to a life spent with Christ. (for the story read this post and the ones right around it. : http://ifnarky.com/2011/05/23/abandon/ )
She learned that God loves her; is in full control over everything that happens to her; and EVEN if He allowed her to bomb this exam and even to not be able to pursue the line of work that she's been dreaming about for years...to trust that if that happened, then he had a good reason for it...and would do something even better in her life. Big lesson. Scary thing to do...to just let yourself let go of your dreams and put them into the hands of God and then fall yourself into those hands to allow him to carry you WHERE EVER it is that he desires to take you.
I know--Because I had to learn that myself.
At a time in my life when things were good. I was stable, in a nice condo. My marriage was in fairly good shape...and we had a healthy family and daughter.....I used to go to bed at night and literally get so panicked at the thought of the "what if's"...."What if the economy goes bust and Eric is unemployed??? We don't have a dime saved! What then?? What will happen if one of us should lose our health and have massive medical bills?? What then??? What if my schizophrenia makes a recurrence after these years of stability??? What will I do?? What if we lose our house?? our car?? OUR DAUGHTER???"
I probably don't have to continue because I'm sure that all these thoughts have occurred to you too at sometime...and whether or not you are conscious of the power of that fear....some part of you is...Your stomach?? Your anxiety?? panic attacks?? Fights with your spouse?? Too much drinking??? We all , I believe come to a point of crisis like this. And I struggled with mine, much like Narky. Because I was a Christian and told myself that I shouldn't be feeling this way...that I should just TRUST....I heaped a pile of guilt on top of the fear. It was a horrible time in my life....and i didn't have a soul to go to with it , but to God.
I cried, pleaded, confessed my fear and begged him to take it from me. I collected every tract and book on Anxiety and fear that I could find. I memorized verses like this one, "I am the Lord the God of Israel who says to you, DO NOT FEAR for I will take you by your right hand and help you." And little by little I began to grow into the understanding that I serve a very BIG, POWERFUL, and LOVING God. And that if he wanted to send a bird down from the sky with a steak in it's beak should I be hungry...well, he certainly would.(ummm. seems he 's already pulled that one off before for a starving prophet. )
And what finally sealed my peace is this. God began to do things for me. Some were little, others larger. And I began to write them and every other answer to prayer that i could think of into a book. Every time God bailed me out of trouble,...I wrote it down...and thought long and hard. I began to see that God is a supernatural being...unworried and unencumbered by the things that terrify us. And that He loves me personally. Me , Cynthia...this mess of doubt and fear... And the verse in Jeremiah 29 did me in verses 11 and 12, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster....to give you a future and a hope. In those days, if you pray, I will listen...."
Finally I saw. My God is good. Apart from what ever crap this life throws at me: MY GOD IS GOOD AND WILL DO GOOD FOR ME IN IT. And I began to relax into this trust. I realized that a God who had provided for our every need through long years of Eric 's schooling and then directed him from a career program which would have been a disaster from start to finish...through what at the time seemed to be a terrible catastrophe, into the PERFECT career path for his gifts and personality. And not only that but paid the way for us to get there. And not only that but used every bit of learning that he'd acquired in his two other false starts...to be a huge boon and advantage in his field...putting him way ahead of the game in being successful at his job. AND when our money dried up completely on the week he graduated from college...he got a great job offer and has been there happily for the past 14 years. As I thought over that long road....and the struggles and the times we thought we were at the end of the line....And GOD MADE A WAY THROUGH EVERY HARDSHIP AND BLESSED US THROUGH EACH OF THEM AS WELL.
HOW COULD I NOT TRUST AND LOVE A GOD LIKE THAT/??
And since that time....the hardships did not stop. Nope. Almost every single one of those "What if " fears that I'd had...have actually occurred in our lives. And you know what?? My anchor holds and grips the solid Rock. (as an old hymn says). I don't think I've ever had more than 5 seconds of worry or fear...even in the worst possible events. Because I've learned Who it is that I am serving.
So why the title? I can be still in my heart and go forth in my life in perfect confidence and without fear. yes, I have other lessons I'm learning. But that one, I learned. And I learned it GOOD.