"But God is faithful; He will strengthen you and guard you from evil." 2 Thess. 3:3
I stood outside this morning, as I do almost every morning, with my dog while she does her business. This morning, I heard the melody of songbirds that I haven't heard since last summer, and was immediately brought back to the promise of warmer days. Full blown spring is my favorite time of year because it holds such hope. (I say 'full blown spring' because here in Wisconsin spring can bring blizzards.) Sometimes all it takes is a whisper of the past to transport us back, lost for a few moments in the reverie of what was.
Not all memories dredged up are sweet, however, and sometimes it doesn't take much to stir those up either. Certain scents, interactions, places, bring you back immediately to times you would just as soon never revisit. While I was content to stand on my patio this morning, my fluffy pink robe pulled tight against the chill, dreaming of sunny days and green leaves shading my backyard, this week I was whisked back in my imagination to a dark time in my life... a time filled with fear, shame, and confusion. It happened unexpectedly; one minute I'm in the dentist chair getting a root canal, and the next, I am fighting back tears. Something about the procedure took me back to third grade, being abused in a way I didn't understand. Rationally I knew I had nothing to fear, except the root canal..., but my mind was having none of that. I had brought my ipod to listen to an Andy Stanley sermon and I could barely hear the words through the fog of everything I was feeling.
I made a conscious choice to call out to Jesus. I begged Him to come stand between me and the procedure, to be my Shield of protection from the ugly memories that were rolling over me. I needed to stand under the shelter of His wings, hide against the Rock in safety.
Sisters, He came.
His Presence flooded me, drowning out the present. I could listen to the sermon and not be aware of anything else. My Strong Tower became my Deliverer in that moment.
While I wouldn't have chosen it up front,I'm grateful for the experience, because it gave me a chance to see Jesus as Rescuer. When I go back on Tuesday for the follow up appointment, I will be ready. Not to be strong in my mind, but to be strong in my God. I can't say I'm looking forward to it, but I know that if the past invades my present again, I will not be there alone. And, because I know that God is already standing in all of my tomorrows, He has a plan in place. I just need to step into it.
I had to stand back and remember that God is not a God of circumstance. He did not remove me from the dentist chair, but He came to stand with me during that time.
Is there something going on for you, a hard time, a place that hurts, a circumstance that you would not like to be walking through, that you feel like you can't handle? May I gently suggest that even though you are in pain and praying for a different set of circumstances, that instead you focus on the God who has not left you alone.
Even if you don't feel Him, He is there.
Even though you are in a wilderness, you have not taken one step that He has not overseen.
And maybe, just maybe, He has led you there to show Himself faithful. I will pray for you, wherever you are, whoever you are, because God already knows you...I will pray that you cry out to Him in the midst of everything going on, so that He can be your Deliverer.