After 911, Stacey Randall wrote, “A Loving Tribute,” a poem in which Jesus is saying, “I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.” We all remember the stories of how among the few who survived that terrifying time in the stairwell of the North Tower there were those who had a sense of the Lord being right there with them. They knew they were not alone.
Last August, our youngest son had open heart surgery. In view of other serious health problems, I tried to prepare myself, should he not survive. I feared my own heart would cave in if the news any parent fears should need to be heard.
“He has so much more life to live; please God intervene,” was my prayer. As Gary and I waited long hours, it was as if I could barely breathe or think. Then from deep within, I heard, “I am here with you.’” Strength, comfort and fresh hope arose. Rejoicing came with the doctor’s report, “Two bypasses—and His heart is pumping on its own.” We were assured the next few days would be “ify.” But, happily, our son is with us today!
Many of us have known times of feeling like we are about to “cave in,” yet were given an inner sense of not being here on the globe alone. Rather, we felt joined by the Almighty One, who is fully able to make “the necessary happen.” And, God alone knows what that is.
Are you noticing how each time we go through a trial, we come out stronger? Oswald Chambers put it this way, “The trial of our faith gives us a good banking account in the heavenly places, and when the next trial comes our wealth there will tide us over. If we have confidence in God beyond the actual . . . we shall see the lie at the heart of the fear, and our faith will win through in every detail.”
That heavenly bank account does at times seem way too small. Still, there is always enough for what is needed—if we hold steady and pray our way through. Jesus has told us to “pray always.” This way, we can stop short of panicking.
All of the above is about growing spiritual muscle, which is something we do not get by curling up in the corner fretting in fear of losses. It comes in exercising our faith, thrusting it over and over into the face of our fears.
Doing battle with fear is not easy as fear is an awesome boxer. Especially when our tendencies lean toward, “seeing is believing.” So, when we “do not” see signs of getting what we hope for, and when the odds seem entirely against us, it is easy to start losing our footing.
This battle is common to us all, but especially so when our children are involved. Countless times, while raising three sons, I have taken a troubling matter to God, while visualizing the act of putting the situation “on the altar.” (Remember Abraham’s great moment of putting his son there?) Then, I renege. My mind never seems to stop its efforts to “figure it all out.” I slip into varied mental gyrations. Waiting patiently gets passed by with my intense desire to “do something to fix it” more quickly. Waiting on God might take too long, right?
Spiritual battles call for growth. Persistence is gained as we work our way through them. There are times when it seems our backs are against the ropes and we find ourselves hanging on with all our might. With battered emotions, we remember to call on God. We may even recall a Scripture like, “Lo, I am with you always.” Strength comes! We stop gasping for breath and face up to that “old’ enemy in the ring.” Placing our trust afresh in the Lord strengthens our resolve and provides a “second wind.”
It is through winning the battle over fear that we truly are able to live on a higher level of reality. While in those tight and fearsome places we learn to look beyond actualities, and stay focused on the powerful truths of Scripture that bolster our faith—like, “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid or dismayed. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9).