Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Tea

For God has not given us the spirit of fear,
but of power, and of love,
and of a sound mind.
2nd Timothy 1:6-8
Last night was one of those rare nights where I tossed and turned, never getting into a deep sleep until I gave up at 4:00 and took a Benadryl to clear up sinus congestion. The real culprit was the pain in my right shoulder and arm... somehow I had brought about stress to the injured area.

There is an old saying that crosses my mind during times likes this. "Never doubt in the night what God has promised in the day." I find I can remain calm and full of faith most days but in the midst of darkness, when sleep fails to come, fear creeps in.

That's what happened last night, an overwhelming since of dread and apprehension came upon me. It is also when I pull out 2nd Timothy 1:6-8, for I know those feelings are never from God so they must be from the enemy of my soul, taking advantage of circumstances and inner fears.

There is a reason Churchill's famous words live on... "We have nothing to fear but fear itself". Simple words with deep meaning. For he knew a nation that allows fear to dominate their thoughts will make unwise decisions when facing overwhelming circumstances like... war, food shortages, and an uncertain future... all of which England experienced.

Our own local newspaper has been filled with large type headlines about plant closings and jobs lost, perhaps forever. There are many reports of suicides and mental breakdowns, some as heartbreaking as the father who shot his wife and children before taking his own life. His reasoning? He had lost his job and could no longer provide for them... so, life is not worthwhile when one can no longer keep up their standard of living?

This past week I walked down the gravel lane to pick up my mail and I noticed the quiet... the thick layer of snow silenced even the birds. There is a great beauty to winter, it allows us to see farther than we can when the days are warm and the flowers are blooming. The sky is never so blue and so clear in my part of the world as it is on a cold, sunny day following a snowfall.

It is that way when a Christian walks through trials and adversity... I've been there and I know it is true. I have never experienced the presence of God as I have when He was all I had left... no income, no saving account, no job offers in the near future, no... hope. When the cupboard is bare, the bills arrive each month, the mortgage is already past due, and I can make no plans for I have no idea what tomorrow holds... that is when I have experienced miracles that took my breath away.

Sometimes we're in the midst of the storm and all we can do is hold on while the winds are raging all around us. We anchor ourselves to the Rock as never before, remembering mental altars of those times He came through and rescued us before. The Bible calls it... faith, patience, experience, and hope.

This is when He becomes either real to us or we realize our faith is nothing but a shadow of the real thing. For it is only faith that can overcome fear, real faith and very, very real fear. The words that met me during the night... the words that helped me to smile even in the fear... God is in control.

Drop your anchor deep, hold on for dear life, He will make His presence known in the cold and storm and as the wind blows. Life will become an adventure instead of the end of the world, it is all on how you choose to look at it.


Anne said...

Thank you. This post is just what I needed today. I am going through a rough time with sickness, job problems, and a general lack of knowing what will happen next. I am trying to hold on to God's promises, but find that I am weak and doubtful. This is just the encouragement I needed.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for the words today. How much I needed to hear them and be reminded. And also that we are never alone. Blessings on you.

Tammie @ Are You For Real? said...

Again your words are poetic and encouraging ...

There is a great beauty to winter, it allows us to see farther than we can when the days are warm and the flowers are blooming ... It is that way when a Christian walks through trials and adversity ... I've been there and I know it is true. I have never experienced the presence of God as I have when He was all I had left.

Thank you for reaching out your hand to lift up those who are struggling along with you.

~~Deby said...

Through this recession I have not really experienced fear----that is until this morning---early....the what if's came--and here I am still sick almost 4 weeks with a cough that won't let up...fatigue--you know---thank you Brenda for this..I know I needed to hear it.


I heard this once and have never forgotten..hope you can use it.

scrappy quilter said...

Oh so very true. I remember when....that's when my faith see me through. It's times like we are in that we need to grasp to HIM and never let go. I can't imagine my/our lives with out our Savior.

Vintage Girl said...

He must have led me to this post of yours today. What wonderful, encouraging words, thank you so very much! Blessings, Heather

Vee said...

Strong words of encouragement, Brenda. I'm so glad that you are willing to use your life as an example for your readers. You don't shy away from the difficult things nor say that you are filled with faith at every moment. We all have such times of fear, but you are willing to say so and to provide the remedy.

(The media is not on the top of my happy list these days. They focus on fear mongering, which makes them beneath contempt imho.)

Leyla said...

Brenda, a word in due season. God bless you.

mom2six said...

Brenda - Your words are just what we all need to hear right now. The future is so uncertain, yet we serve the God of the past, present, and future. We can totally hope and trust in His unfailing love and grace. He is our hope. Daily I appreciate your words of wisdom!! In Jesus, Nancy

Heather L. said...

I want to remember that quote about not doubting at night what God has promised in the day. Ever since my thyroid episode I experience anxiety at night once in awhile, which I find frustrating and fear-inducing. This will be a good quote to hang on to.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Brenda...I missed something along the way. You mention in this post you stressed and so hurt your right arm and shoulder again...I hadn't remembered you mentioning a problem like this before. Do you have rotor cuff problems in your shoulder? Your post of today could not be more needed today for many. Again you write your thoughts with warmth and comfort but get to root of the lesson and plant it right in our hearts. You are a blessing. Jody

Anonymous said...


I, too, suffer from "middle of the night anxiety". Things that are merely speed bumps during the day wake me out of a sound sleep and I find it difficult to relax after that.

Some years ago, I read a news article about the physiology behind this. It seems that there is some body chemistry at work - I can't remember if it is hormones or not - and this causes the anxiety to peak at this time for some people.

I wish I could find that story again. It really helped me to think about that when I wake up at 3am and my mind starts to work overtime. I realize that it will seem a lot better in the morning.

And I will remember that quote next time too.


Anonymous said...

Brenda, That quote is actually from FDR. Just thought you'd like to know. I love this post and I am so glad that you are doing the recession posts againg. Thank you!