Where to Go When You Feel Like It’s All Falling In On You.
Waiting in the pre-surgery area with family and friends from church, I was surprised to see my surgeon walk in. I had expected a nurse to come for me when the OR was ready. My husband and I stood to meet him. Before I realized, both of my girls and all of our friends were gathering around us in a giant ‘huddle’. After a quick exchange of greetings, the surgeon looked past me to my family.
“The OR is nearly ready,” he informed. “Remember, this will likely be a very long operation, eight to twelve hours at least. I cannot guarantee that she will survive the surgery, but we’re going to do everything we possibly can. We want to get as much of the tumor as possible. If she survives the surgery, there is a chance she will be blind or partially blind. Again, we’re going to do our best. A nurse from the operating room will call out here with progress reports every couple of hours.”
The surgeon turned to me and said, “You come on back and get ready now. We’ll bring your family back to see you just before we head to the OR.”
I don’t remember much after that. I have vague memories of hugging everyone there. I fought back tears as I hugged each of my daughters. I didn’t want them to be afraid, but after what the doctor had just said, how could they not? Mark and I had tried to prepare them. But hearing the reality of my situation from the neurosurgeon, it sounded so grim. It was a ‘Red Sea moment’ for me.
Have you ever had your own Red Sea moment?
Ever been terrified by something you were facing and there seemed to be no way out? A diagnosis? A job loss? Your children in danger? A time when life felt like it was crashing in on you from all directions? And you had no idea how you were going to get through it all? Perhaps you’re there now. If you are currently in a situation that seems hopeless, let me offer you some hope.
God specializes in the ‘impossible’.
In Exodus chapter 14, the Israelites were in a terrifying situation. They had just left Egypt and slavery behind. They were escaping to the Promised Land. Now God’s chosen people found themselves with the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army bearing down on them from behind. There was no escape, only death or a return to slavery. They were terrified! Moses, their leader, tried to assure them. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Facing danger of that magnitude and being told to “be still”? Seriously? How do you do that? Some of us struggle with ‘being still’ on the best of days. How do you lay it all down and take a deep breath when you are surrounded and overwhelmed by troubles?
Confess to God that you struggle with letting go.
God already knows, but he wants you to talk to him about it. He is God of the impossible. Take comfort in the words of the song,
God will make a way when there seems to be no way.
He works in ways we cannot see.
He will make a way for me.
Tell God the desires of your heart.
He wants you to ask, even if it seems impossible. Remember the scripture “…nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) Keep in mind that you are talking to the one who opened up a sea and dried the ground to create an escape route. The army of soldiers that were chasing the Israelites? They drowned in the same sea that God had opened up for his children. He made a way. Believe that he can and will do the same for you. Follow the example of Christ and end your prayer by saying, “This is what I want, but Your will be done.”
I asked for more time and the physical ability to care for my parents until they went home to Heaven. I begged to see my daughters raised to Christian womanhood and to grow old with my husband. I asked for it all. I confess that it was hard to say, “Your will, not mine, be done.”
“God will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
Fill your mind with the promises of scripture.
There are so many! Write the ones most meaningful to you on 3×5 cards and keep them with you. Believe God’s promises. When Satan tries to plant fear, get the verses out and read them.
Psalm 4:8 “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Luke 1:37 “Nothing is impossible with God.”
Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
Give thanks and praise.
Listen to beautiful, uplifting music if that helps you. Bring a sacrifice of praise. It’s nearly impossible to fret and stress when you are giving thanks for all of your blessings. Make a list of all the great things God has given you and all the times he has delivered you from trouble. This is so comforting! We have been blessed, “…immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)
This will look different for different people. For some, help might be a doctor, a skilled accountant, a lawyer, a therapist, a tutor, a team of prayer warriors, the list is endless. The kind of support you seek will depend on the battle you’re facing. Imagine the relief of having these people at your side, praying with and for you. I’m reasonably sure that while that cloud moved to protect the Israelites, many of them were clinging onto each other. So cling! Feel the comfort and support of having a team.
In the past year, our family laid both of my parents to rest. I am thankful that I was able to care for both of them to the very end. My daughters are maturing and moving into the world as grown women. My husband and I are enjoying our togetherness as we enter the ‘empty nest’ phase of life. My vision is wonderful, and I require only the use of reading glasses.
God has been so very generous with me.
I think about the Israelites at the Red Sea from time to time. I try to imagine what it was like being pressed against the sea with the Egyptian army coming at them. Then I remember that surgical waiting room and my surgeon’s solemn face and his grim words.
What about you? Can you picture yourself with your struggles in front of you and God standing there telling you to be still? When life is pressing, and you see no clear path, He’s right there beside you. He’s not a distant pillar of cloud. Just be still. Imagine Him doing ‘the impossible’ and bringing you through it all. Tell him. Trust him. He’s got this. Be still.
The words to the hymn Be Still, My Soul are beautiful. They’re a conversation you can have with yourself when you think you need to get up and do.
Be still my soul the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain
Be still my soul thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end
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