Friday, August 26, 2005

Weekly Word for August 26 - September 2, 2005

Weekly Word - August 26, 2005

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12: 9)

I was at my wits end, not sure that I could deal with anything - anymore! My physical condition was getting worse. And even though I was praying, and asking others to pray as well, my spine and neck injury just wasn’t healing. I had done everything the doctors had asked me to do, and still my right arm wouldn’t work properly. I needed surgery, and I didn’t want to do it!

I didn’t feel like it was fair that I was still in pain. And even though I didn’t want to feel like this - - - I felt sorry for myself. And then, to add even more stress to my life, I was worried about my parents. My mother’s condition seemed to be getting worse, and my father was still very weak. It seemed like they might need some help in the near future. But first, someone had to talk to them. And I didn’t want to be that person! Didn’t I have enough problems? Why couldn’t someone else deal with it all?

Concerning this . . . I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, . . .”
(2 Corinthians 12: 8 & 9a)

As I thought about all that was going on, I realized how many times I have been afraid - - - and didn’t want to do something . . .

I was 14 years old, and just starting to date a little bit. My parents had agreed to let me go out on a few dates, with the son of one of their closest friends. I had known him since I was very little. But it was still dating, and that’s what made me happy. He was 16 and could drive, and that really impressed my friends. So even though I didn’t like him romantically, I liked dating!

At 14, I still belonged to church groups and girls clubs. I was just getting to that age where I wondered what was cool, and what was not. And church groups seemed to fall in the “not” category. So when he called and asked me to go out that Saturday night, I said “yes”. Excitedly, I went to tell my parents about the date. That’s when I was told I couldn’t go. I had a church meeting, and I wasn’t allowed to miss those.

I pleaded - I yelled - I tried to reason with them - - - and then I lost it! To this day I remember it. The emotions became too much for me, and I started to shake and cry. I did not want to go to that meeting - and the anger and hurt seemed more than my body could take. All reasoning was gone. I just shook, screaming and crying, as my mother pushed me into my room. Somehow, I ended up in my dress - and in the car being driven to the meeting. It didn’t matter - - - that I didn’t want to do it . . .

For I determined to know nothing among you - except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness - and in fear - and in much trembling.
(1 Corinthians 2: 2 & 3)

Through the years, there were so many times when I was afraid, and really didn’t want to do the thing - that I knew I should do. I never quite “lost it” like I did when I was young, but there have been times when I shook, or cried, and really begged the Lord to find someone else . . .

And I was with you in weakness - and in fear - and in much trembling . . .

She had told me that I should go with her to the meeting. It was a meeting for Christian counselors, and it was being held in another part of the state. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, but said yes anyways. As we got in the car, my stomach felt awful, and I knew that meant I was nervous. As we drove, I asked her what I should expect. She laughed and said that it would only be a small group, going over the types of work we do. So I sat and fidgeted, wondering what I had gotten myself into.

When we reached the meeting place, I realized there were more men than women. I wasn’t that comfortable with strange men, so I stayed pretty close to my friend. The chairs were set up in a circle, around the large room. I sat beside my friend, trying to remain invisible, as the meeting started. It was a very good meeting, talking about praying and helping each other with problems in counseling. I listened, and liked what I was hearing. And then it happened. They decided to break up into small groups, so that we could discuss the teaching. As they numbered us, I realized that my friend was heading out the door. Staying seated where I was, a group of men soon surrounded me. I was the only girl. I really didn’t like it . . .

We talked, or maybe I should say - they talked about the lesson and how it applied in their work. I sat listening, trying again to be invisible. But I wasn’t! They then decided it was time to pray. We had broken up into small groups of 5 or 6 people. So this small group of men sat around me, bowing their heads to pray. As they did, I too closed my eyes. I prayed and then I saw a picture. When I saw it, I started to shake and quietly ask the Lord if I really had to say anything. “Please Lord, I don’t know these men, I don’t want to talk!” But the picture remained, and I opened my eyes . . .

And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.
And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, . . .
(1 Corinthians 2: 3 & 4)

As I looked at the men sitting around me, they seemed to be waiting to hear what I had to say. I looked straight at the man who I had seen in my prayer. And then I took his hand in mine, and told him the picture I had seen. His tears started to fall, as I told him that the Lord was right there - to help him with his grief - over the loss of his baby . . .

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me.
(Psalm 27: 7)

Crying, I woke up from my dream. Shaking, I picked up the phone to call my friend. As I told her the dream, she told me I had to tell it to our other friend. “I don’t want to!” I said. “ I want her to get well, I don’t want her to die!”

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
(Psalm 27: 1)

As I drove to the restaurant to meet my friend, the fear inside of me made me shake. Maybe I was wrong, maybe the dream didn’t mean anything. Norma had been battling cancer for almost 3 years. And after her surgery, we had been sure that she was going to be fine. But just recently she had gotten sick again, and the doctor was afraid the cancer had come back. So as I drove, I prayed. I begged and pleaded with Him - telling Him how I didn’t want to do this. “Please Lord . . . I can’t . . .”

When I pulled into the parking lot, I realized that she was already there. Going into the restaurant, I sat down across from her. She had already ordered her coffee, and soon I had one in front of me. It was something that we both shared - we loved coffee! As the waitress took our order, I looked around the room. In front of me was a picture of a farm yard - with children and ducks playing in the yard.

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee.
In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.
(Psalm 56: 3 & 4)

I tried so hard not to shake, as I listened to her talk about her doctor’s visit. She had gone for more tests, and the cancer was back. They had done all the treatments, but the cancer was still there. Now they wanted to send her to another state, to try a brand new type of treatment. Finally, she looked at me with tears in her eyes, and asked me what I thought she should do . . .

When I am afraid . . . I will put my trust in Thee . . .

Oh Lord, what do I say? I asked silently. And then haltingly, I told her my dream. It was a dream about her. In the dream, I had watched as she was taken away. And then I watched as she was brought back, very sick. In the dream, the doctors apologized for how sick she was, and said that they couldn’t do anything more. They had brought her back to die. And then I told her what I heard in my dream. It was a voice, that said that she would live all the days that she had been given - and it was up to her how she wanted to live them . . .

In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.

I hated telling Norma that dream. And I hated it even more - the day that she died. But the time that we had, in between, was amazing. She had decided not to go away, but stayed home - to live - for the rest of her days.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.
(Proverbs 3:5)

Now, I was having to deal with surgery, as well as how to help my parents. I really didn’t know what I should do. And then this past week-end Ted and I went to a picnic. I wanted to have some fun, and forget about all my troubles. There were lots of things to do - canoeing and paddle boats, miniature golf and volleyball, as well as all sorts of food. We had planned on playing miniature golf after we ate. So when one of Ted’s bosses came over to visit, just as we were finishing eating, I wasn’t too happy about it. From the corner of my eye, I could see our friends heading off to play. And I wanted to go! But instead, we stayed and talked.

We talked for almost two hours. We talked about our families and work. We talked about our children and other things that seemed important. And then he started talking about his own parents. He told us all that he and his sister did for his mother as she got older. He told us about her illness, and it sounded so familiar. As he talked, he answered so many of my questions. He didn’t tell us that it would be easy, but he did give us some direction. And then, just as he finished talking and got ready to leave, he looked at me. “You make sure that you pass on everything that you learn as you are helping your parents - - - to those who are going to need to hear it!” he said. And then he walked away . . .

And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 2: 3 - 5)

The times when God has been the most powerful in my life, haven’t been when I have planned it. It has been in times of fear and doubt. It has been times when I really didn’t want to do something. He was there for that man who’s baby had just died. He was there for Norma, showing her how to live the rest of her life. And He was there when we were at that picnic, showing us what to do next . . .

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity - to give you a future and a hope.”
(Jeremiah 29: 11)

Where will you find God? In your fears and your doubts - when you really don’t know what to do next - He will be there. All you need to do - - - is ask . . .

But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him . . . .
(Mathew 14: 30 & 31)

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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