Lying awake while thoughts wrestle with each other for my attention. “I must not forget. . .”,
“What if. . .?” “Will. . . do what they threatened?” “How can I forgive. . .?” Sometimes it isn’t thoughts as much as feelings. Fear. Anger. Frustration.
Then I remember, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone. My hope is in Him.”* David wasn’t pleading with God to give him rest, he was reminding himself where to find his rest. His hope, his confident expectation was in God alone.
So I begin to trap each thought as it tumbles into my consciousness. “Is God able to remind me of what I need to do tomorrow?” I know He is. I will rest. “Is God in control of the future? Will He help me with whatever I have to face?” I know He is. I will rest. “Does God forgive me?” He does and I can forgive those who hurt me. Usually by the time I have answered a few thoughts like this, I start thinking about my Father.
He is bigger than any boulder I could hide behind. He saves me, not only eternally, but from so many troubles I get myself into. He is my fortress, a place of protection from the attacks of the enemy. I may shake, but my foundations will not be shaken. My salvation and any honor I receive are safe in His hands.
A friend recently reminded me that the 23rd Psalm is not about the Shepherd, but about the Lord. The pictures used are from a shepherd’s life, but the truth of the Psalm is that the Lord gives us all we need. When I am troubled about many things, He makes me lie down and He restores my soul. He guides me and never leaves me, even in the darkest, worst times of my life. I don’t have to be afraid because He is always with me–He never leaves or forsakes me.
I think of all the times He has protected me–probably most of them I was never aware of. But I think about the times I know He protected me. I think about all the times He has provided for me. My husband and I have lived 37 years dependent on Him for all we have. When I look around my home, there is not one thing that didn’t come from His hand. He has healed me and He has kept me healthy. He has comforted me when nothing or nobody else could have. He was there when I grieved. He has given me a foundation for my life that has never failed me.
When my heart is full of these thoughts, the next thing I think about is how I want to urge others to find their rest in God too. I want to tell those I counsel, “Trust in the Lord at all times. Pour out your heart to Him for He is our refuge.”
Women will pour out their pain and fear and frustration to me. I know my own impotence to help. I have no power or authority or even wisdom to help, except what God has given me. I can’t change the minds of others who are making their lives so difficult. I want to tell them that they must trust God. Trust Him all the time, for everything that affects their life. I want to tell them to pour out their hearts, all that is in them, to Him. He is their refuge. As He is mine, He will be theirs.
When I know there are some actions they need to take, I will give them the best counsel I can in those cases. However, often, when I tell them to trust God, their response begins with, “But. . .” “But you don’t understand.” “But they won’t. . .” “But it is too late.”
At those times I just want to say, “If God doesn’t understand or can’t help, what do you think I can do for you?” I’m usually not quite that blunt, but if I can’t get them to look to God for their help, I despair of being able to do anything for them.
Are you letting a present problem trouble your mind? Are you afraid of something? Has your reputation been damaged by some lies? Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you worried and burdened by many things?
Take time to quiet your soul. Pour out your heart to Him. Turn each one of your troubles over to God and confidently expect Him to help. Trust Him alone.
*Psalms 62: 5-8