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.

Baba’s House

Kaiser_wilhelm_2.jpg (744×528)
The Kaiser Willhelm II, the ship on which my grandmother came to America in 1910. The ship departed from Bremen, Germany, on April 26, 1910, and arrived in New York on May 4, 1910.

 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1 NIV

Baba’s house is long gone, torn down because word was, after she’d moved to the nursing home, it became a crack house. I don’t know for sure. But half a century hasn’t erased the cherished memories of the times I spent in the small duplex she rented across the street from my own home.

A rare snapshot of my grandmother, whom we called “Baba”

Baba’s house was my refuge—from a mother who frequently let her temper get the best of her, from two older siblings with whom I didn’t always get along, from feelings that I’d never measure up, from missing my father whose job required extended stays away from home, from a loneliness that often was too much for an awkward young girl to bear. Baba wasn’t a counselor—I doubt if she ever got past grade school.

At the age of 20, she left her home in what is now Slovakia to find a better life in America. She never talked about her past—indeed, she rarely spoke at all. She mostly listened—and fed me. I could never visit Baba without getting something to eat, even if all she could offer was buttered crackers.

I didn’t go for the food, though—the physical food, that is. I went because that was one place where no one compared me to my sister, where no one found fault with what I did, where I could vent and know someone heard not only my words, but my heart.

But you know how it is with life—you grow up, leave home, get an education, launch a career, start a family, and the next thing you know you’re a baba yourself. And everyone who’d gone before you has, well, gone before you.

Where do I go to find a refuge from a world that is even more troubled and perplexing as it was when I was growing up? A world in which I still feel awkward?

In 1940 songwriter James (J.B.) Coates penned one of my favorite gospel songs after he’d asked a dying neighbor where he’d spend eternity. “Where could I go but to the Lord?” the man answered.

Going to the Lord doesn’t refer only to the afterlife, though. It also helps us to get through this side of eternity.

Perhaps that’s where Baba found her strength to face life in a new country where she didn’t even know the language, to raise nine children after her husband died, to overcome her own demons.

Life’s relationships change. People we love die, move away, or are busy with their own lives. One day we find ourselves alone—and not only in the physical sense. I’ve learned, though, that I’m never really alone. I have God’s Word and His presence, for He promised that He’ll never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), that He’ll be with be always, even to the end (Matthew 28:20).

So when “my soul needs manna from above”—and it does quite often these days—“where do I go but to the Lord?” For me, there really is no other place to go.

 When I feel overwhelmed by the world around me, remind me that You, Lord, are my “Baba’s house.” Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 46.

The page in the ship’s manifest that has my grandmother’s name on line 13: “Bortnik, Anna F 20y M Hungary Lenarts, Hungary” According to additional immigration information, she was 5’2”, had fair complexion, green eyes, and blonde hair. She was to meet her brother Johann Bortnik of Passaic, NJ.

© 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.