I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?
So many people I know are going through really difficult times.
All of a sudden many of my friends are struck by various (and strange) illnesses, including Anita, some by serious financial issues and others with relationship issues. The economic uncertainty is also not helping – what is going on? Like them, there are times that I feel like standing with my back against the wall.
The year to date has been a very busy and stressful time. My friend Gerrit’s illness; Anita’s foot operation and all the planning of the new sportsgrounds at the Eduplex – where will the millions come from that we need for the development? All I could do was pray. I was even more busy before I left for Europe in May for a combined short holiday and conference. I needed the break.
The danger of being so under pressure is that although I still had my quiet time, I felt stressed and my time with the Lord was often rushed. I forgot the words “Only in returning to Me and waiting for Me will you be saved; in quietness and confidence is your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15)
The past 3 months, my best friend Gerrit was severely ill and in and out of hospital. In fact, the neurologist thought that he was not going to make it and that his children had to come from the USA to be at his side. Sitting in his hospital room praying for him while he fitfully slept, day in and day out, while watching one’s prayers seemingly going unanswered, drains you mentally, emotionally and physically. I reached the stage where I started feeling powerless, as if God was no longer hearing my prayers. In fact, I was beginning to wonder whether I really know God as I was experiencing an increasing distance between us.
I continue to be amazed.
Over the years I have tried to encourage people to spend time in prayer and reading (the Word as well as daily devotionals) with the promise that God will answer them. Some of my favourite scripture passages that I used to illustrate this point was from
Matthew 7:7 (New Living Translation) – ‘Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.’
Those of you that follow my blog know that the Lord usually ‘gives me’ a verse for the year ahead. Towards the end of the year, I re-looked the various promises He gave me over the years as I started feeling more and more concerned, worried, depressed and fearful about the year ahead.
The Economist (19 Dec 2015) so aptly summarised the situation in South Africa under the heading ‘The hollow State’ where the article refers to how the country is rotting from the top. Add to this the whole of Europe fearing yet more terror attacks and a general worldwide picture of doom and gloom starts to emerge. This forced me back to the Word and to relook at God’s promises over the years. After all, when God gives you a promise it is not just for the pending crisis but also for the years to come.