8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. - Psalm 107:8-9
Knowing I would have 4 hours sitting in a chair today for my first chemo treatment, I thought I would save my devotional time for then. I need something to do, so I set my alarm a little later when I went to bed last night. I have an early appointment at the hospital this morning for an echocardiogram, so I was hoping to catch a little more sleep. Physically, this whole process has taken a toll on me and I haven’t been getting as much sleep as I should be because I’m still in pain. I was hoping I could sleep in a little today.
But then I woke up with massive, overwhelming fear about the day in front of me, and the tears began to fall. I came right down to the spot I meet with God every morning and opened my bible. What was I thinking? There’s no way I can walk into today without being strengthened by His grace first. I won’t have time to finish before I head to the hospital because He’s got way more to say to me today than the time I have allowed, but I have already had enough time with him to feel His peace wash over me as I sit here.
I seriously don’t know how people do this without Him. I don’t know how people face these kind of trials without Him. He’s walked with me through some significant challenges in my life - so many that I do know and trust He is here in this one, but I do remember what life was like when I was in the desert.
The passage for our study this week focuses on 107:4-9, where the psalmist is speaking of those people lost in the wilderness, aimlessly wandering around in confusion. “Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in” conjures up images of people without the stability and comfort of a city or a home. A city is a community where you live. It’s where you find your friends, your job, resources that provide essential needs for survival. We need a community around us for support; those living in isolation are cut off not only from the essentials for physical survival, but also those critical needs for our emotional and spiritual survival. We need people. God designed and created us to be relational beings who thrive when we have people who have input into our lives. Right from the beginning, you can see we were never meant to be alone - look at what God did in the Garden of Eden. He created man *and* woman. He knew we needed companions for encouragement and support, for wisdom and discernment, for accountability. So often, God uses the people in our lives to speak His truths to us when we need to hear them - we may not always like those words, but we do need those words. Sometimes, it can be hard to hear God above all the noise in our heads. The people in our lives break through that noise and share His truths with us. The enemy knows this well, and works hard to isolate us from other people, especially as we walk through trials. He knows how God strengthens us with His grace through other people, and he wants nothing more than to get us alone so we can whisper those lies to us and convince us to stay alone. We need a city to dwell in. People wandering around in the desert without a city are lost because they are living without the support He created for us to enjoy. God’s plan is that we live in cities and communities because He knows we need people.
In the cities, we find our homes. For me, there is nothing more comforting than walking into my home at the end of a long day, it’s a place where I know I am welcomed and loved. I’m free to be myself, I know my place and my purpose here. No matter what I face out in the world, home for me means security, stability, peace, and love. Yes, there are plenty of times chaos enters my home, but it is still my home. It’s still a refuge where I can hide from the challenges and the attacks of the world. The people who live in my home know me better than anyone, and they still choose to love me and accept me for who I am. When I think about all those people in Puerto Rico and other places impacted by the recent devastating hurricanes without a home, my heart just aches for how they must feel. The lack of stability and daily comforts of a home must be overwhelming, and for many of them there is no end in site. I imagine they feel so vulnerable - to the elements, to attacks by thieves, to the fight for essentials - and they long to walk into the peace and comfort of their own home. Even those staying in some sort of shelter, or finding housing with others - we all know staying with someone else is not the same as your own home.
I am so thankful that He walked me out of the desert a long time ago, and led me to a community of believers before He allowed this diagnosis. I am beyond grateful that I live in a home where I find unending love, comfort, and strength in my husband and my children. I would be lost without the courage and grace He gives me through the community of believers in my life, who love and encourage me, who pray for and strengthen me, and who aren’t afraid to challenge my thinking in this trial. I don’t know how people who are in the desert face these trials without Him.
Press on ~ you are loved
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