A Breath of Fresh Air

airminiwoman-1493125474961-2-HR.jpg (2000×1500)

So then faith comes by hearing … – Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

t took more than two months for me to get used to the CPAP machine. CPAP stands for “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure,” and I need it every night to keep me breathing. Without it, because of sleep apnea, the oxygen level in my blood wouldn’t be up to par, resulting in a constant fatigue that saps my joy of living.

But wearing a mask that covers my nose at night—even though it provides me with the air I need—took some getting used to. Once I did, though, I was able to sleep for several hours at a time, waking only once or twice through the night. The fatigue slowly dissipated.

But one night I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. When sleep still evaded me after a bowl of cereal and a cup of Sweet Dreams tea, I asked the Lord, “Who am I to pray for?” Immediately the name of someone who’d been fighting a vicious recurrence of MS came to mind.

The next day I emailed my friend and told her of my midnight prayer. She responded that one night was particularly bad for her and she’d gotten little, if any, sleep. But she seemed to have turned a corner and, although still feeling weak, she felt the worst of the attack was now behind her.

I almost didn’t tell her of my midnight prayer session. I mean, aren’t we supposed to keep quiet about our good deeds, never letting our left hand know what our right hand is doing?

Nah. That verse is for those who do good only for the attention and praise it gets them. Letting my friend know I prayed for her and then getting her response that she’d needed prayer that night bolstered my faith.

Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do—build each other up and encourage one another? One way we do that is by telling how God met us in our time of need, often in the person of a friend or brother or sister in Christ. Each testimony we hear is like a breath of fresh air for our faith.

But how often do we hear such stories? Have we become too busy in our personal lives or too organized in our church life to take the time to give others the opportunity to tell of God’s grace?

I don’t know about you, but not hearing how God is working in the lives of others does to my spirit what sleep apnea does to my body. The result is spiritual fatigue and a shriveling of faith.

What we need is a CPAP for the soul—the frequent telling and hearing of Continuous Proof of Answers to Prayer. For “how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them?” (Romans 10:14 The Message)

Do you have a story to tell? Are you telling it?

I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the story, because I know it’s true; it satisfies my longings as nothing else would do.*

Thank you, dear God, for giving me a story to tell. Let me never be ashamed or afraid to tell it, for only You know how badly someone else needs to hear it. Amen.

Read and reflect on Romans 10:14–17; Matthew 5:13–16.

*From “I Love to Tell the Story,” by Katherine Hankey (public domain)

© 2008 by Michele T. Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The Rearview Mirror

Image by Erin Alder from Pixabay

Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced. – 1 Chronicles 16:12 NIV

Before the days of digital devotionals, I used the blank backside of the front cover of my printed copy of Our Daily Bread to record prayer requests. This way, my prayer list and my daily readings were all in one place. When the month was up, I often tore off that cover and stuffed it into the new booklet until I had time to copy the prayer list.

One day while cleaning out my devotional basket, I came across those old prayer lists. Reading them over, I was amazed at how many of those requests had been answered. Perhaps not in the time or manner I’d wanted them to be, but, looking back over time, I could definitely see the hand of God. And my flagging faith was fortified.

While we focus forward and avoid looking back at our past mistakes, that doesn’t mean we never look back. We need to.

For it is only when we peer into the rearview mirror of life that we can see the hand of God more clearly than we could at the time, when doubts and despair, like dust swirling through the air, cloud our perspective.

As I look in the rearview mirror, I see ways God provided for my needs—a tank full of heating oil just before winter when we didn’t have the money to buy it, boxes packed with groceries left on our front porch by an anonymous giver at a time we didn’t have two nickels to rub together, money for gas so I could drive to Alabama to see my mother one more time before she died. Oh, I could go on and on and on … but you get the idea.

In the rearview mirror I see God’s faithfulness, deliverance, presence, protection and provision.

What I don’t see in the rearview mirror are my mistakes, my sins. For God has removed them from me “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). If God forgave me and remembers my sin no more (Jeremiah 31:34), why should I remember and beat myself up about it?

I often quote St. Paul, who wrote that he forgets what’s behind and reaches for what’s ahead (Philippians 3:13). What Paul was forgetting was his utter failure to meet up to God’s standards on his own.

And so we, too, should forget our failures.

But God wants us to remember the good things—His able protection, His abundant provision, His abiding presence. Why else would He command the Israelites to set up a memorial with stones from the Jordan River (Joshua 4), to observe the Passover Feast, to never forget the many ways He delivered them from the time He saved them from the Egyptians to the time they entered the Promised Land, 40 years later?

Why else would Jesus say at the Last Supper over the bread and the wine, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19)?

What do you see when you look in the rearview mirror of your life?

Thank you, God, for what I see in the rearview mirror. Amen.

Read and reflect on Joshua 4.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.