I Still Believe

Image by christels from Pixabay

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I trust.” –Psalm 91:2 NKJV

 One of our favorite movies is Beautiful Dreamer, the story of a World War II pilot who was shot down and captured by the enemy. He’d just married his childhood sweetheart when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and catapulted the US into the war. Patriotism exploded throughout the country, and Joe enlisted. Every morning as his company of pilots prepared for the day, they recited Psalm 91 as a group.

That was the first time I really took more than a passing interest in this psalm. Since then, I’ve read it over and over, in different Bible translations. I even attempted to memorize it, repeating several verses at night as I lay in bed so it would be the last thing on my mind before I fell asleep. A lady I know recites it every morning.

In these uncertain times, with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading like wildfire and a roller coaster economy wreaking havoc around the globe, fear seems to be knocking on every door. I’m not going to tell you not to be afraid. None of us has ever experienced anything like this.

We have much to be concerned about, but we don’t have to let fear control us. As Paul wrote Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

I still believe in an omniscient, sovereign God. He’s not lost control. I believe He is working through this crisis to draw people closer to Him, to open their eyes and hearts. I pray that many will come to saving faith and a deeper faith.

I still trust Him to provide for me. I’m not afraid I won’t have enough because His Word says that God will supply everything I need – and not sparingly but generously, “according to His riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19). I don’t have to stockpile for fear I won’t have what I need when I need it. Jesus told us to put God first and strive for the attitude and character of God and “all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). What things? Food, clothing, and, yes, even toilet paper.

I believe each day’s need will be met when it’s needed. Remember the Hebrews and the manna? God gave them just enough for each day, no more, no less. This same God will provide my daily bread.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow,” Jesus commands us, “for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Read Matthew 6:25–34.)

In these uncertain times, how can we keep fear at bay?

Put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–18). Take up the shield of faith (see Psalm 3:3) and wield sword of the Spirit (the Word of God and prayer).

Trust Him. “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” (Corrie ten Boom)

Use this sequestered time as a spiritual retreat. Read, meditate on, and study God’s Word. Read through the Psalms. Conduct a word study using a concordance. Start with the word trust and list verses that refer to trust. Write them out and read them frequently.

Or do a verse study, taking one verse apart. What does it say? What does it mean? What is God saying to you? How can you apply this to your life?

Keep a promise journal and list all the promises of God that you come across in your Bible reading and study.

Pray. Unceasingly. When you wake up through the night, banish worry with prayer. Prayer isn’t just a religious activity. It’s a relationship. (Henry Blackaby)

And finally, “never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” (Corrie ten Boom)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1)

Under Your wings, Lord, I find refuge from the fear that stalks my door. Thank you for being my shelter in this time of storm. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 91.

(c) 2020 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

The Joy Stealers

Third in a series on The Fruit of the Spirit

“Grace,” photo by Eric Enstrom

The fruit of the Spirit is . . . joy. –Galatians 5:22 NIV

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. –Philippians 4:12 RSV

My grandson and I had an interesting conversation in church one Sunday. The pastor was preaching on the Ten Commandments, and Brent, as usual, was on the fidgety side. So I gave him a notebook and pencil to help burn up some of that nervous energy. He spent the next several minutes copying the Ten C’s in the notebook then showed it to me.

When I got to the last one, I noticed that “covet” looked like “cover.” I wonder if he knows what “covet” means? I thought. At eight, probably not. So I asked him. (Writing in the notebook, of course. It wouldn’t do to talk in church, and with my hearing loss, even with my hearing aids, I can’t hear whispers.)

He shook his head.

“It means to want something that you don’t have,” I wrote. “To want something that belongs to someone else. It’s a sin because it makes you feel jealous and envious of others—and ungrateful for what God has given you. It also leads to stealing, and it robs us of joy.”

I underlined joy twice.

I don’t know whether Brent understood what I was trying to teach him, but it sure gave me plenty to think about.

You see, the past couple of months had been lean as far as my freelance writing and editing go. It seemed as though everything had dried up. The outgo exceeded the income. And we needed both incomes—from my husband’s job and my freelance work. And focusing on the debt was sucking the joy out of life.

So we decided to streamline and simplify. I canceled the satellite TV and the newspaper subscription, and dropped my gym membership. Walking is cheaper and will give me the same results. I substituted skim milk for the expensive protein shakes I’d been drinking and warm skim milk at bedtime in place of ice cream.

I borrowed a relative’s unused bread machine and began baking bread from scratch.

My husband was okay with this.

“It’s what you get used to,” he told me with an I-really-don’t-want-to-do-this-but-I-will-if-you-say-we-have-to look on his face.

I was okay with it, too. After all, I’ve spent most of my life on the “have not” side of things. It’s taught me resourcefulness. And I love a challenge.

One day I pulled out my verse for the day—Philippians 4:12.

I’d always read that verse from the have-not perspective, but this time it hit me: I know how to be abased. I know how to face want and hunger. What I don’t know is how to abound. How to handle plenty and abundance.

I’ve had the chance, and I was unwise. I took the plenty for granted, felt a false security in it, and wanted more—so I could keep up with others whom I secretly envied.

But the abundance didn’t bring me the joy I thought it would. I worried I’d lose it, that someone would steal it, or it would be burned in a fire or otherwise destroyed.

It may be that not having enough steals joy. But the more dangerous joy stealers are covetousness and not knowing how to handle the blessings we’ve been given.

Deep, lasting joy comes from knowing that God will supply all my needs according to His glorious, abundant, limitless riches (Philippians 4:19).

And that’s a promise I can bank on!

Give me neither poverty nor riches, O Lord. Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may become content without You. And if I am too poor, I may steal, and thus insult Your holy name. Amen. (Proverbs 30:8–9)

MORE TEA: Read and reflect on James 4:1–8.

For more on joy and joy stealers, read Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 6; Philippians 4:4–7; Romans 12:12. And, when you’re feeling down, sing a verse or two of “Count Your Blessings.”

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3, © 2019 Michele Huey.