This afternoon I opened my Bible to an unknown page, deciding to read whatever scripture emerged. There it was...
Psalm 119:105: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (NRSV)
Sometimes it is astounding how we snuggle closer to God during heartache. Or, turn from Him.
The news of a lay-off stiffled me on a sunny Friday November afternoon before Thanksgiving. Suddenly and without warning, I was no longer employed. My growing feelings of fear hungered for immediate relief, as I craved a transformation from fear to faith. But, how was I to make this happen? Could I do it all by myself?
Every horrific thought possible entered my questioning mind. Continuing to quiz my self, I wondered over and over again, "What am I going to do?"
Devastating thoughts such as losing everything materially tormented my mind and soul. And the timing. How would I survive the Christmas holidays? Questions continued to torment me, "What did I do to deserve this treatment? I'd work really hard, not to mention long hours."
Finally I arrived home drained of energy. My spirit fell deeper into depression until I was so despondent, I had no spirit. Throwing my body across the bed unable to stop sobbing, yet exhausted, I grieved myself into a light sleep.
Upon awakening I drifted aimlessly into the kitchen and poured a cup of hot coffee. It’s amazing how stagnant a moment can become while simply focusing on one small segment of a day, like a cup of something hot on a wintry day--a cold one, inside and out. While sipping my freshly brewed coffee, I shifted my thoughts to God.
Suddenly, without warning, God moved a moment of comfort in my direction. I realized that God was the One who had enabled me to remain stable enough to pour my coffee. I grew aware that God was in my presence because I had become present to God.
I was terminated from much needed employment, having no idea what would happen to me. Yet I felt a moment's peace. While becoming fully present to God, nothing could unravel my serenity. For the first time in my life I realized that I cannot fully place my attention on a God of love and feel fear at the same time, if I listen to His words.
My fingers flipped through a few more pages in my Bible, until I found the following passage:
Matthew 6:25-34 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,” or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear? For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (NRSV)
Thankfully God delivered work to me the day after my position was terminated. I would not be paid monetarily. But later I was to become aware that such a conclusion of this day would be okay.
My daughter Kim had recently moved into her new condominium. She excitedly called to invite me over for a bowl of chili. I literally forced myself to go help Kim, or was that another nudge from God?
The afternoon turned into delight, as we arranged furniture and hung pictures on the wall to the melodies from the soundtrack of "The Sound of Music." After humming while we worked, with a bit of laughter in there, I fell into bed around ten o’clock, receiving the gift of a good night’s sleep.
Sunday morning arrived, with glorious sunshine rays drifting through the two windows in my bedroom. But I didn’t feel the spirit of the bright light. Hence, I decided not to go to church. When was I to learn?
God had another plan. I was nudged time and again. Finally, into the shower I stepped, and then I dressed and drove to church.
Something amazing happened in my early group meeting. I began to cry even though I was trying with all my might to hold it in and refrain from any outburst. It was then that someone said, “Let us remember this week to say a prayer for Bev.”
After those words, God performed a miracle. At the close of our meeting, the facilitator requested that I stand still. She asked the members of our group to form a circle around me, placing their hands on my shoulders.
A prayer evolved with the mention of love, God, and my name. Though I was sad when I walked into the meeting, I was energized before departing. My state of mind was moved from a fearful stance to one including complete security. Calmness once again filled my heart, along with assurance.
God did these all of these things for me this weekend. God lifted me from depression and surrounded me with a sense of gratitude, which offers nothing less than stability. God worked through my friends, who helped me more than they will ever conceive. Ah, yes--God will show me the way.
Where do I go from here? I have no idea. I do know that I am safe. I do know that I am loved, and I do know that God’s love lifts me more than just a hair. All I need do is listen and share gratitude for what I do have by becoming fully present.
The above words were written in November, 2001.
Little did I know--a lesson from God was evolving. "When God shuts a door, he always opens a window."
On January 8, 2002, I was offered a position at a church in my hometown. Needless to say, I have just celebrated my one-year anniversary January 8th. Thankfully, I have my job today because I stepped out of God's way.
As a result, today I have a new perspective. I believe my pitfalls come at a time when I truly need to be reminded to lean on God. Once I become fully present to God, He will lead me.
I'm grateful. More than words can say, I'm grateful.
No question about it--"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Copyright Beverly Murrelle 2003
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