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Devotion 29

Fear or Faith?

Murphy's Law. Not only have you heard about it; no doubt you've experienced it.

Take the last few months, for instance. Or the last year. We have had so many bumps in the road. Up. Down. Up Down.

Jim has been so sick the last two weeks with bronchitis. Sometimes I have thought I couldn't bear to hear him go through that deep-gut, violent coughing spasm again. "I'm sorry," he said as if there were anything he could do to change it.

It all started on the trip to Florida. A little scratchy throat at the end of a short cruise he didn't even want to take. It didn't seem like much. But it went on and on and on. Then we thought I was also developing bronchitis, but I didn't. Nevertheless, we produced antiphonal coughing. He'd finish his clashing verse, and I'd answer with a more genteel, but deeply felt chorus.

What a pair we have made!

And yet as we drove home from the emergency room Sunday, we remembered our many blessings, chief of whom are our children who rallied around with visits, meals, and phone calls.

I have been weary; no I have been exhausted mentally and emotionally, watching Jim struggle physically. And yet, we had seven years from his major heart attack — which resulted in major damage with four by-passes and the removal of a quarter of the heart wall — to his mild heart attack a year ago this Sunday.

Even though the last year has been decorated with the up/down syndrome, we have never felt abandoned by the Lord. Always we have felt the comfort of His presence.

As I thought about all of this Sunday evening, I was thankful for His sustaining peace.

Christ brings to us a simple faith embedded in the love of God that surpasses any love we can know on earth. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life," the apostle wrote in John 3:16.

Regardless of our pasts, regardless of our sins, the love remains constant. God never withdraws His offer *; Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever; ** and the Holy Spirit will never leave us


The Godhead is there for each of us: first and foremost for the salvation of our eternal souls, but the list goes on and on and on.

We are the weak-hearted, stubborn-willed, and self-blinded enemies of our own peace of mind.

I believe that He has an abundance of love to pour out on us, so much He will do for us and through us if we pay attention with our hearts, minds, and wills.

But let me be honest. Fear would like to ride on my shoulder. "What ifs" line up behind each other with the underlying chorus: "All this coughing can't be good for his heart....What if..."

This is where the rubber of faith meets the road of life. The better the tread, the easier the battle against the mountain of fear rising within me. True, a bald tread can survive — God's help is always available, but I have a choice today and every day to re-enforce that faith, to under-gird the tread. In the long run, it makes everything in life — especially crises — run more smoothly.

I remind myself of Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:6-7, I Peter 5:7, Matthew 11:28-30, and Psalm 27 (especially verses 13 and 14).

Being human means we have illnesses; begin human means some day we will die, but I know God does not intend for me to live in fear. The choice is mine.

Is it a one-time battle? Not usually. I turn to the Lord as often as I need to, and He always is there to help me.

I have learned that the best way for me to start my day is with this: "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)

* II Peter 3:9

** Hebrews 13: 8

*** John 14: 18

For Further Consideration:

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed They hand hath provided —

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.


Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;

As Thou hast been Thou forever will be.

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

Words by Thomas O. Chisholm (b. 1866)

Music by William M. Runyan (b. 1870)


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