“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)
A week ago on Saturday, I visited a new good friend in my life – Tom, at the nearby Federal Prison. We spent about two and one-half hours together, just talking, actually. He calls me his “friend,” and I have come to think of him in the same manner. He told me about many of the problems and frustrations of prison life, and it touched me anew that life can suddenly become confining and stressful. After our visit, I could walk out of the prison with only a minimal delay, but Tom is not allowed to leave at all.
Tom and I said, “See you later,” to each other, and then I drove back to Long Beach, where I visited Dennis, our quadriplegic friend, whose life was so devastated by the paralysis that struck him, nine years ago. For the past year and one-half, Dennis has been confined to a bed because of the pain that came every time they attempted to place him into his wheelchair. Now he’s able to be up in his chair for periods of time, but his former caregiver decided she can’t help him and said he couldn’t come back. He went to a hospital, then a smaller acute care facility, and now he’s in a convalescent home; for now, he can’t leave.
After leaving Dennis, I came home briefly and looked at my emails while I ate lunch. Included was one from Pastor Dan, in which he asked me to visit Rob at the Long Beach Veterans Hospital. I went over to the VA, located Rob’s room and met not only him, but also his mother, Wilma. They are lovely people. Rob is under hospice care, which means he is not expected to last much longer. His mother told me that Rob’s sister, her daughter, died five years ago from a cancer very similar to the one that has attacked Rob. She cried when I anointed her son with oil and we prayed, not only for him, but also for her loss.
From the perspective of someone who has been a “secular” person and then became a pastor, I constantly see that life is not what most of us have expected. There are situations beyond our understanding. Tom is a Christian man – why did the events occur that led up to his incarceration? Dennis has recommitted his life to the Lord as a result of his injury – why has his life not improved as a result of his decision? Rob has recently come to the Lord – why is his cancer not in remission? The answer – we don’t know!
There are lots of answers available to us, some from Scripture and others from people who have the reputation of wisdom; but none of those will completely satisfy the grieving heart. From a human perspective, when we find people and situations in life that we truly like, we want, hope and EXPECT things to remain the same and even get better. But a look around the world and into the lives of people tells us that life often doesn’t work like that. Everything is changing, but we try to look in the mirror and pretend nothing has happened. Then we see more clearly and begin to see that our chief need is to trust in our God.
Here’s an example of trust, as shared by Monica Dickens, in “Miracles of Courage” —
“David, a 2-year old with leukemia, was taken by his mother, Deborah, to Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, to see Dr. John Truman who specializes in treating children with cancer and various blood diseases. Dr. Truman’s prognosis was devastating: ‘He has a 50-50 chance.’ The countless clinic visits, the blood tests, the intravenous drugs, the fear and pain – the mother’s ordeal can be almost as bad as the child’s because she must stand by, unable to bear the pain herself. David never cried in the waiting room and although his friends in the clinic had hurt him and stuck needles in him, he went in ahead of his mother with a smile, sure of the welcome he always got. When he was three, David had to have a spinal tap – a painful procedure at any age. It was explained to him that, because he was sick, Dr. Truman had to do something to make him better. ‘If it hurts, remember it’s because he loves you,’ Deborah said. The procedure was horrible. It took three nurses to hold David still, while he yelled and sobbed and struggled. When it was almost over, the tiny boy, soaked in sweat and tears, looked up at the doctor and gasped, ‘Thank you, Dr. Tooman, for my hurting.’”
Here’s another one —
Robert W. Sutton wrote about a television program preceding the 1988 Winter Olympics featuring "blind skiers incredibly being trained for slalom skiing. They were paired with sighted skiers and taught on the flats how to make right and left turns. When that was mastered, they were taken to the slalom slope, where their sighted partners skied beside them shouting, ‘Left!’ and ‘Right!’ As the blind skiers obeyed the commands, they were able to negotiate the course and cross the finish line, depending solely on the sighted skiers’ word. It was either complete trust or catastrophe." Sutton continued, "What a vivid picture of the Christian life! In this world, we are in reality blind about what course to take. We must rely solely on the Word of the only One who is truly sighted – God Himself." We can only finish the course through trusting our Lord.
Our ability to trust another human being is limited, as it should be. None of us is perfect, we make mistakes, and self-interest all too often gets in the way. But God is perfect, He never makes mistakes, and He proved His love for us by sending His Son to die for our sins. He loves you completely, His ability to deliver you from any harm is without limit, He wants to save you, and He will. He has proved His love for you – will you trust in Him?
George Boose, in his book, “Around the Table,” reported that “the emu and the kangaroo both appear on the coat of arms of Australia. Not only,” he said, “are the exotic emu and kangaroo natives of the ‘down under’ continent, but they also share an unusual physical characteristic. Neither of these animals is able to take a backwards step. Consequently, we are told that the Australian forefathers chose the emu and the kangaroo as national symbols as a means of reminding the citizens of future generations to always move forward as a country and never fall back.” So it is for us – we continue to go forward through trust in our Lord.
Wonderful times can come to us, but like it is for Tom the prisoner, Dennis the quadriplegic, and Rob who is in hospice – difficult times come as well. David, the 2-year old with leukemia, trusted in his doctor and was thankful, even when it hurt. Those blind skiers trusted in their partners, and so should we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Partner we’ve always needed. Like the emu and the kangaroo, let’s “move forward… and never fall back.” Our "understanding" is limited, but we can "TRUST in the Lord."
Thank You, dear God, that even when we don’t understand, you are with us. Thank You that You have designed us to trust in the Son and not turn back. Increase our faith so we might in all ways and at all times – trust in You. Be with Tom, Dennis & Rob. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Source : Friday Study