I so desperately want to cling to these words, this promise from my Heavenly Father. Much of the time, I am able to confidently faith that God is in control and He will not leave me. But there are still many times that the fear and anxiety take hold and I cannot shake them, no matter how hard I try to trust in what I know to be truth.
"...if it shall come to pass that for Christ's sake and the gospel's you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not, but rejoice in the honour thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord; and joy also in this-that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform, from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus." -Charles Spurgeon
Reading this, my thoughts go to Pastor Saaed, imprisoned in the Middle East for simply professing his faith in Jesus Christ. He has been separated from his family, he has missed the birthdays of his children, wedding anniversaries, and so many other special moments. All the while, he is rotting away in a prison cell, but he is praising the name of Jesus! Y'all-that is faith in action. This is a living example of what the Apostle Paul experienced in Rome.
I look at this faithful servant's situation and I contemplate and mourn over the loss of Christian lives at the hands of radical terrorists and I think, Lord-how could I handle that? Could I be so brave?
I have always struggled with some amount of social anxiety. I experienced betrayal by people I thought were my friends at a young age, and not just once. I am just now, in my mid-thirties, learning to trust others and allowing a level of vulnerability in my relationships that I have not been able to allow in the past. But it is hard for me. I have days that I just curl up on the couch and block everything out.
But then I remember God's promise in Deuteronomy and I am encouraged. Friends, He knows this is my struggle. He knows my innermost thoughts and feelings. Yet He is there, standing firm, covering me with his protective wings, guiding my steps and never leaving my side.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to belss,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt they; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
-How Firm A Foundation, Robert Keane