At the beginning of summer, as my job as a crossing guard is shelved until September, and various church and school activities and other social gatherings shut down for nine to twelve weeks, God has repeatedly drawn me to this verse:
Psalm 46:10a – Be still, and know that I am God. (RSV)
I keep a pet Bible rock with this verse painted on it in my car to remind me that in moments of stress, it is not I who is in charge. Be calm.
We all need a quiet time to listen to the small, still voice of God, Who is not found in the clamour of daily living but in the quietness after the storm. But if we don't seek that moment, it just may be thrust upon us. And that's what happened.
Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established. (RSV)
About nine years ago, I began to have trouble with my shoulders after a seemingly harmless fall down the basement stairs nearly a year before. The doctor's verdict was that it was age, arthritis, or maybe a frozen shoulder, and I should keep it moving. So I did, raising my fifteen pound stop sign over head level and holding it for thirty seconds or longer. Then, I found that I was not able to sleep at night. Tired of waiting, on the Internet, I learned that lying down becomes problematic with a torn rotator cuff, so I tried sleeping in a recliner chair. I slept better, but by Christmas of 2009, my right arm hung like a pendulum, and my hands on both arms looked like golf clubs. Cortisone shots in both shoulders did help some. Convinced now that it wasn't in my head, the doctor sent me for ultrasound and x-rays. The search for a surgeon took over another year, as I was turned down by several due to age. It was six months to the referral visit and then another six months to very successful surgery for the right arm.
During that time of waiting, I could not drive much, did only essentials around the house, had to quit my job as I could not hold up the sign, and in general, felt pretty useless. So I spent most of my time reclining with my Bible and hymn books, and did a lot of daily devotions in my head, while I waited what seemed an eternity in the quietness that was thrust upon me. A return to session meetings (elder board) resulted in a study on God's faithfulness from Psalm 145 and the entire session singing with me, "Great is Thy faithfulness".
As I think of those who are ailing in body, mind, and spirit, I would like offer encouragement with these verses:
Psalm 46:1-3 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. (RSV)
God's faithfulness, grace, love, and mercy will strengthen you as it did me through that long wait. His healing peace kept me sane. Today, I have been restored to my crossing guard position, an excellent opportunity for retirees, and I am enjoying keeping young with the kids.
Prayer: Great is Your faithfulness, Lord God Almighty. Nothing is impossible with You. Your loving kindness, tender mercies, and saving strength carry us when we cannot carry ourselves. Thank You for Your healing powers. Thank You for forgiving our doubts and impatience in the face of problems and illness. Grant each of us a safe sleep in Your arms tonight and wake us here on earth or in Your heavenly light. Great is Your faithfulness. Help us as we strive to be faithful to You. This we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" (Lyrics)