"When you pass through the waters, I
will be with you, And through the rivers,
they shall not overflow you. When you
walk through the fire, you shall not be
burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you."
Lately we seem to have been bombarded with an awful lot of bad news. And yes, like so many others, I too have been impacted by the economy, as well as by a couple of large, unexpected expenses that threw me completely off course. If I were to be moved by what my eyes see, what my ears hear, what my intellect tells me, and what my circumstances are looking like right now, I would be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, even panicked. And yet I'm not. I'm feeling unbelievably calm.
Surely this must be the "peace of God, which surpasses all understanding," that is mentioned in Philippians 4:7, and that comes when we put our trust in the Lord. I can do that now because of all the times in the past when I have experienced His faithfulness. There has never been a need that was not met, and more often than not, met in some awesome way that could only have been orchestrated by Him.
A few days ago I attended a memorial service for a friend of mine who put all his trust in the Lord, despite the cancer that ravaged his body. After the eulogy, his widow read the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage, which so beautifully illustrates the love of a father who never leaves or forsakes his child, no matter what things may be looking like in the natural. It goes like this:
When the youth becomes of age, his father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him, and then leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night through without removing the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help, even though he is naturally terrified by all the noises he hears, and he cannot tell the other boys of his experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.
Wild beasts must surely be all around him, and maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blows the grass and shakes the stump, but the boy remains stoically on his perch, never removing his blindfold, because he knows this is what he must do in order to become a man.
Finally, after a horrific night the sun appears and he removes his blindfold. It is then that he discovers his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.
We, too, are never alone. Just because we can't see God doesn't mean He isn't there. No matter how bad things may seem, He is right next to us, watching over us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.