“Like apples of gold in settings of silver
is a word spoken in right circumstances.” Proverbs 25:11 (NASB)
Rob and I walked through the streets of downtown Savannah two afternoons ago. The sun was blazing in the sky as we walked down near the riverfront. Wanting to escape from the heat, we decided to go to one of the many city squares where tall, majestic oaks offered their cool shade from the sun. The first square we visited was dedicated to John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church here in the United States in the 1700s. A sculptor had formed his likeness that stood on a granite obelisk in the middle of the square. Each of the four sides had information about his life, but the side that caught my eye was the one with the following phrase chiseled into its white granite:
“We have all this, and God with us also.”
Even though I have been on vacation, my thoughts have never been far from the sadness that has visited our family in the last two months. In fact, I sometimes chide myself for having fun or laughing. The grief has threatened to swallow me up, trying to convince me that life will never contain joy again. Reading those words had the effect on me that a deafening clap of thunder has in the quietness of the darkness. It startled my soul with the glad reminder that although this weeping may endure for the night, joy WILL come in the morning!
I have looked at the bank of the ocean where the waves have continued to pound against the same stretch of land. I can see the path of erosion which has stripped the bank of its soil. The waves of grief that have battered my soul have threatened to do the same thing. If I do not anchor my soul against the never ending blows of the lies that Satan taunts me with concerning the faithfulness of my God, my faith would erode into despondency as the bank’s sand has done. I am coming to see that faith is not faith until it is exercised. I can say that I believe when life is calm and peaceful. But when the darkness closes in around me, faith is the only way out of its clutches. Faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is faith only when my spiritual eyes see and believe what my earthly eyes cannot. I do not see all the reasons God has allowed the angel of death to visit our family, not once but twice, taking its youngest members. My anchor will be the promise of Isaiah 45:3:
“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in the secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
My soul is not an eroded beach battered by the waves. No, hear this my sad soul:
Who shall separate me from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...No, in all these things I am more than a conqueror through [Jesus] who love[s] me. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons [who taunt me with their lies], neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37-39)
It is okay for me to remind my soul again and again that this is the truth when the waves come crashing against me. That is not a lack of faith. That is what faith being exercised looks like.
Jesus, thank You that I have all this and You with me also. Thank You for meeting me in a park in the middle of Savannah and giving me this word right when my soul needed to hear it the most. Thank You that You promise to continue to sustain me through whatever is to come.