OF FAITH AND FABLES
By Bob Haynes
Trust In Whom? Trust In What?
In a previous column I spoke of “letting the battle begin” and boy, did it ever. After surviving the onslaught of eight-hour a day chemo for weeks, I really thought this battle would be more of a skirmish than an all-out assault. Wrong! For a few days, as much as I hate to admit it, I fell into the trap of having a “pity party” and seeds of doubt began to emerge from hidden places, much like the cancer cells that escaped the confines of my right lung.
About the time I was at the very lowest point in this portion of my treatment path, I received an email from a wonderful friend. She had just completed her assignment that was called for in her Bible Study Fellowship lesson that contained a quote from one of my favorite chapters of Isaiah: Chapter 43. Her email led me once again to examine the facts about what was happening in my life.
Chapter 43 opens, she said, with these words: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; YOU ARE MINE!” The Lord says that, as His people trust Him through times of trouble He will not leave them. Whatever the experience of those who belong to Him, He makes a promise using images that recall the historic Exodus event “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord Your God!”
As I continued to read her email, her next sentence contained this question: “Are you in such a place right now? It was as if she had discerned my deepest thoughts. “Are you struggling against fear?” Then she reminded me that God is not saying that trouble or harm will never come, but He is saying that His people will never be apart from His sustaining, loving presence. It is difficult to explain but a feeling of calmness came upon me and I knew that I had experienced my first and last pity party.
Then, turning to prayer I told God that I was in His hands and that whatever His plan for me had in store that I would not abandon that trust.
I really felt that calmness increase as I read the verses in Chapter 40 beginning at the 28th verse: “Have you not known? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
You see, I had been thinking about the odds against me rather than the strength of my faith and the trust I had in God. I thanked my friend for her wonderful reminders. Telling her that while I certainly understand why “pity parties” take place, for us who face seemingly endless adversity, the questions she asked still remain to be answered: Trust in Whom? Trust in What? Shalom!