There are times I am overwhelmed by the trials of life. Sometimes I wonder how the calm can be shattered so quickly and peace seems like a Utopian ideal far out of reach of mankind. I recall a night when I was eighteen years old. I was laying in bed listening to the radio just about to drift off to sleep and I heard a voice. It was my grandma calling out for my mom as she was coming up the stairs at the other end of the house. As she got closer I could hear her better. “Ann, Ann, something’s wrong with John!” As she opened the door to mom and dad’s bedroom I rushed down the stairs to where my grandpa was sitting in his recliner. He looked bad. His skin was a gray color and his expression was filled with pain. Mom and dad came hurrying in and the next thing I know I was on the phone calling an ambulance. Then dad told me to go get in the car and go up the road to wait for the ambulance so I could show them where we lived. I think they would have gotten there just fine but this seemed like a good way for them to get me out of the house. I was really close to Grandpa and I probably wasn’t ready to watch this happen up close. It seemed like an eternity before the ambulance got there but when they did, they followed me to the house and into the basement apartment where Grandpa and Grandma lived. Grandpa looked a little better now and didn’t seem to be in so much pain. The paramedics asked him how he felt and he said, “I feel like I am going to die.” As he was rolling out of the house on the stretcher he was praying.
I remember driving down I-70 behind the ambulance. It was all lit up inside and I could see the paramedics suddenly working feverishly on Grandpa. I let the ambulance pull ahead so I couldn’t see inside anymore. After we got to the hospital I found out that they almost lost him on the trip. After a few hours, I don’t recall how many hours, of pacing on my one good leg and a cast I had on the other leg I sat down and put my swollen leg up and cried for my Grandpa. He was gone. I was stunned and my world rocked. I was defeated. Grandma on the other hand, wasn’t about to be. She was ready to go in that room and pray that God raise him right up from the dead. But not even her amazing faith was bringing Grandpa back.
Psalms 119:28 I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.
Prayer and meditation, the support of friends and family, church, worship and all sorts of other things can lift us up in these hard times. I think the most overlooked source of consolation, peace and encouragement has been God’s Word. It not only gives me strength to survive those times but it gives me wisdom. It may not change the problem but it always changes the way I see the problem. No one can bring peace and comfort like God can.
Psalms 119:165 Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.
For years the Bible was “the infallible word of God” to me. I felt like it was true and full of good things. But I didn’t treat it like it was alive. It is more than just a bunch of printed words. It is more than just wisdom. It is more than the basis of my faith. It is the living God speaking to me. It is the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. It is life-changing when it becomes a part of my daily communication with God. I become more than a God consumer, asking for all the things I need and want and being disappointed by not getting them. I was often angry with God then because I was an immature kid engaged in one-way conversations with Him. There is much more to talking with God. I am trying not to talk at Him.
Psalms 119:26 I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees.
I wish I could show you somehow, with words, a YouTube video, an image of God on a piece of toast, something you can see or touch how real the power of God’s Word is. But the truth is this, one must experience it for himself. I cannot express it.
Psalms 119:103 How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.