In my deepest moments of need, I find that the Bible is my truest friend, always leading me to a path I can take. I have shared a few verses that have helped me in my walk – maybe one will speak to you?
I find inspiration in many places – in poems and plays, in sunlight dappling thru trees to dance across flowers in my garden, and in my children. In my deepest moments of need, I find that the Bible is my truest friend, always leading me to a path I can take.
All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea [is] not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. – Ecclesiastes 1:7
This verse brought me so much solace in the aftermath of 9/11. My younger brother, Tommy, was killed on that blindingly beautiful and terrible day. The idea that he had returned from whence he came was deeply comforting to me and to my son. In my mind, we were droplets of water set to run our course thru rains and rivers ‘” some moments cold and dark, others murky, and still others sparkling brightly in the sun ‘” until we meet Him once again in the sea.
My son struggled terribly with anger and doubts – with how a loving and merciful Father could allow such a terrible event. We talked and talked. We shared our anger, our pain, our love. Finally, my dearest friend asked him, “where were you before you were born?”, which sparked a conversation about time and eternity. Finally, he came to see that he has been there more than here — that he was in the Sea and then, after a brief sojourn on Earth, he will return There.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. – Psalm 23
Several years ago, I took a short walk to the local hardware store to purchase seeds. The store was about a half a mile from my home. As I walked, I noted dark clouds blowing in and the rich scent of earth that precedes a storm. From the looks of the clouds, I figured I would be “there and back again” before the rains started. I was in the shop for a total of about 10 minutes. Seeds selected and paid for, I turned for the door and gasped as the bright midday light had been replaced by a dark green-grey gloom. Now thinking I had just enough time to jog home before the rains, I started running. I hadn’t gone 100 yards before the skies opened and a torrential downpour commenced. I slowed to down to a walk as the road gutters quickly flooded and became roaring streams. As I reach the “halfway point” between the store and my house, cars stopped in the roads, winds picked up to hurricane strength, and great jags of lightening flashed all around me. The force of the wind-driven rain was actually bruising me! I felt completely alone. I ran up the steps the tiny church on the corner, hoping to seek shelter there, but the doors were barred. Branches and entire trees started coming down from the winds, and I realized I had to make a decision. So I prayed. The words “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” resonated with me, creating within me the ability to walk thru my fear. When I finally made it up our driveway, I was soaked to the skin, shivering with cold and fear, but secure in the knowledge that He was watching over me. Later in the evening, I learned the storm was in fact three separate (and unpredicted) microburst storms that slammed into each other right over where I was walking.
A sound heart [is] the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. ‘” Proverbs 14:30KJV ~ A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. NIV
A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.- Proverbs 17:22 KJV
There are several references to the state of one’s heart in Proverbs. Perhaps because we have a choice? Although I often have to be reminded of this, with Grace I do have the choice from moment to moment to respond in kindness from a merry heart ‘” or from a heart that is filled with gall. This Proverb serves as a dual reminder: that I can choose how I react to any moment given to me – and to not covet, to not give way to greed and consumerism, to perhaps walk two miles in another’s shoes before acting the judge.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7
The merciful man does good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubles his own flesh. Proverbs 11:17
Mercy. Shakespeare wrote beautifully about the quality of mercy. The Bible instructs us to be merciful not only to our loved ones, but to our enemies. What a difficult charge this is! As I grow older, I find it easier to extend mercy, knowing how often it has been extended to me. After Tommy was killed, several of the men wanted to simply eradicate entire countries in their grief and anger and outrage. Eventually, I couldn’t take hearing this, and I shouted, “enough! I don’t want another sister to feel this pain, or another mother and father to bury a child gone too soon to violence, or another child to grow up fatherless.” I think that may be the most blatant example in my life of the difference between traditional masculine and feminine values!
The men wanted to act, even if wrong-headedly. I wanted to nurture, to comfort my parents and to try and ease the burden from my sister-in-law. I wasn’t meaning to be merciful. But afterwards, whenever I think of that moment, I realized that I was blessed in that moment. The person I have been growing into being crystallized with that decision. To be merciful and not vengeful in that moment was when I shed one skin for another.
Am I always such a saint? Hardly! But I know that I have someone to lean upon who is far stronger than I and who can bear my burdens for me when I need a rest. And He did in that moment.