“God is our refuge and our strength. Always ready to help in times of trouble.”
April 17, 2020
As I was sitting with the Lord today on April 15, 2020 (the fourth week of the pandemic), I was led to read Psalm 46. I noticed I had recorded three prior notes in the margin of my Bible when God had led me to read Psalm 46 during other crises in my life.
The first crisis was in December of 2013. I was having severe heart palpitations for several days, and the doctor didn’t know what was causing them. I asked a dear friend, my spiritual mentor, to pray for me. She called me back saying Psalm 46 was on her heart for me. She reminded me that “God is our refuge and strength, ALWAYS ready to help in times of trouble.” I was greatly comforted by those words and her beautiful prayer.
One year later in December of 2014 my husband and I were faced with another crisis. Our first grandchild, Gabriel, had been born prematurely at 27 weeks in Midland, Texas. We didn’t want our daughter and son-in-law to be alone for Christmas, so we hit the road as flights were too expensive. The second day into the trip my husband became quite ill. It was Christmas Eve and we could only find one urgent care clinic open in this little town in New Mexico. (On the outside it seemed so sketchy, but we had to get help.) Many were ill in the waiting room. We patiently waited for our turn, and finally we saw this very kind doctor and staff. It turned out my husband had strep. The doctor gave us samples of antibiotics that were on hand in his clinic and we were on our way, thinking in 24 hours this would be better.
As time went on, I started to get ill too. We got to our hotel in Midland and waited it out until we could see our precious grandson. After several purchases of humidifiers and thermometers, changing hotel rooms as the current room needed to be disinfected, and trying to see another doctor in Texas, I broke down crying and feeling bitter before the Lord. I asked my spiritual formation group to start praying for us! (I have met with these five wonderful women for fifteen years now!) The Lord, once again, brought me to Psalm 46. I wrote in the margin of my Bible, “Dave and I have been sick…unable to see sweet Gabriel! It has been hard. Yet, God has been our strength. Papa, forgive me for my bitterness; I don’t understand this trial.”
Three and one-half years later, we faced another challenging time in May of 2018. My husband had been in remission from cancer for over a year, but was in excruciating pain on the left side of his arm. He would rock at night in pain, trying to ease the discomfort. It was so hard to hear his silent groans at the side of our bed. My husband has a strong constitution and rarely complains, but this was wearing him down. He had neck surgery a month earlier, and we were told this would clear up his pain. Instead, it had gotten worse. Once again, I cried out to the Lord, “Deliver us Papa from this pain!”
Yes, the Lord did deliver us all three times. My heart palpitations ceased, although I never knew what caused them. We eventually saw our grandson and were so grateful that we had driven instead of flying because we would have unknowingly infected our grandson with strep, which could have been fatal for our sweet Gabriel. (He is now a bright, rambunctious five-year old who loves Star Wars, LEGOS, and all-things that relate to animals!) Thirdly, my husband’s pain has diminished significantly, but that was after we found out he had a cancerous tumor that was causing the pain. His tumor is now completely healed as well…which is another whole story.
You are probably starting to get the point. Our God delivers! He is in the deliverance business. He is ALWAYS ready to help in times of trouble. He is our refuge and strength. So, as we face this pandemic now, remember God is creating rescue stories for you as well. A history of deliverances, if you will, that you can share with your family and friends. Mark them in your Bible, or write your stories in a journal. Look back at them and remember how God got you through this time. Oh yeah, share them too because this encourages all of us.
May We Never Lose Our Sense of Wonder
I was at my family’s cabin this weekend for a family reunion, and we gathered around the fire pit, roasting marshmallows over the hot embers. Eventually, conversations started to die down and a comfortable silence ensued. Some were starting to get colder, and retired for the evening. I wanted to stay and just gaze into the stars as they were unusually clear that evening. As I was sitting back in my chair alongside my two brothers gazing at the stars, I suddenly noticed an extremely large burst of light moving across the sky! It was the Perseid meteor shower! I was so surprised that I just screamed like a little girl. My brothers and I stayed a while longer, hoping for more to appear. I gasped a few more times as the meteors randomly illuminated the night sky, and finally called it an evening after seven more streaked across the night sky.
The next day I was still filled with so much wonder and awe. I kept thinking of God’s goodness and how He loves to show up and show off and shower us with His little blessings! (He knows how much I love the stars.) As I pondered the evening sky, I thought about the song, “Wonder (Spontaneous)”, by Bethel Music.
Yes, even in the midst of dark times and disturbing news, may we never lose our sense of wonder…
Blocked From Your Godly Dream?
God places dreams within us to fulfill His kingdom and His glory. We were destined from the beginning of creation to co-partner with Him to carry out and complete what He began in us (Philippians 1:6). The moment we embrace Christ, we begin to walk out this path. But this godly dream can be difficult to achieve, and we can easily lose sight of the goal.
If you are feeling blocked or distracted in living out your calling and gifts, ask the Father to reveal what the block is and what purpose the distraction is serving. Sometimes the Father is blocking the journey because we have more lessons to learn in a season of trials, temptations and tests. He grows us up in His timing and for His purposes. Perhaps it is for greater sanctification, greater maturity, a greater faith or trusting in the Father that His ways are always good. He may block our ambitions for the greater good of others such as when God blocked Balaam from going one step further through a talking donkey for the protection of Israel (Numbers 22:28-31).
God may allow the enemy to block our way. The enemy, at times, seems to be given greater access and power to foil our dreams. Satan came against Job, by God’s permission, to destroy his family, his health, and his livelihood (Job 1:9 – 10). It wasn’t God’s plan, but He allowed it. Yet God redeemed Job by restoring even more than what was lost by the destroyer (Job 42:12), and so showing us how we can hang on when faced with these “open seasons of warfare.”
We can even block the journey and the dream from being fulfilled. Maybe it is our unbelief…the dream is too big and we are feeling incompetent and unworthy. Maybe we are worn out, disheartened, embittered. We feel betrayed by God, our fellow believers or even ourselves. We give up, get distracted, and/or start living through other’s dreams instead of living out the personal calling God has placed in our lives.
If you are feeling blocked in pursing that godly dream, ask God to reveal what the source of the block is—i.e., is it from God, the enemy or yourself? Ask God to also reveal what purpose is the block serving. If you still can’t sort it out, seek godly counsel through a trusted advisor or friend. Be patient in the process. God has deposited a precious dream and heart longing that is worth pursuing.
I am reminded of the beautiful lyrics and melody by Rodgers and Hammerstein that was sung by Mother Abbess to Maria in the Sound of Music and, maybe, it can be your song too:
“Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, ‘till you find your dream.”
Recommended reading to further explore this topic: From Dreams to Destiny by Robert Morris
Come and Talk With Me
“My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” (Psalms 27:8, NLT)
Over the years, God has shown me that prayer is a dialogue, a sweet communion between two intimate friends. He woos me to talk with Him, and my heart is wooed to respond. It is not a one-sided conversation of talking only to God; rather it is a dialogue of talking with God and expecting Him to converse with me.
As clients begin their counseling journey with me, I ask about their relationship with their heavenly Father. Often, they are unaware that God wants to speak to them, and that they too can expect to hear their Father’s voice. So I begin to model for them and teach them how to develop this relationship and discern the Father’s voice.
A wonderful little devotional book I often recommend to clients when beginning this journey of dialoguing with the Father is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. She shares in her book how Jesus speaks to her daily through Scripture and His living rhema word. Clients often remark with delight how they are developing an intimate relationship with God and the insights they are gaining from this devotional book.
I am privileged to witness the growth and joy in my clients’ journeys of knowing how to talk with their Father and follow only His voice. I also know that I am only with them for a little while in their healing process. But their heavenly Father is with them always—ready to talk with them at any time and to listen to their hearts’ cries, joys, and experiences.
Deborah A. Heitman, MA, LPC Psychotherapist | (303) 204-7230 | firstname.lastname@example.org 6343 W. 120th Avenue, Suite 105 | Broomfield, CO 80020