Praise God, I am writing again tonight! It has been such an interesting journey over the last week and a half. I am eager to put my thoughts about this time on paper. Grandma Knowlton was buried on Monday of last week. The next day, I was called to
I was reading Nahum 1:7, 8a, NRSV, the other night, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in a day of trouble; he protects those who take refuge in him, even in a rushing flood.” This is what I focus on right now. The Lord is good. He is good whether I am or not. He is good whether the news tells me that He is or not (and believe me, I have watched A LOT of news this week). He is good whether unbelievers say that He is or not. He is good whether I am facing trial or not.
In reading in some other OT books, when God wants to bring His people back to Him, the prophets warn that He will destroy their strongholds. The dictionary says stronghold is, “a place of security or survival”. Amos 6:8, NRSV, “The Lord God has sworn by himself (says the Lord, the God of hosts): I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds; and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”
God hates the strongholds that we choose apart from Him. He hates the allegiances that we devote ourselves to when we face pain and trial. We recall them to our side as we walk down these familiar emotional paths, although the landscape looks different. There is little question that our pride, our belief that we are more able to manage our times of crisis, gives us the vice-grip on these useless tools. Guess what? Those are things that the Lord will destroy first when He comes to claim us, my strongholds that allow mere survival, barely breathing, will perish. When He calls to my heart during these moments, He is razing the strongholds of my life. Why? He hates them.
I have been thinking of Nahum in connection with my “life verse”, Galatians 2:19b-20, NRSV, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
If this verse is true, then I will hate these strongholds, too.
So, in a day of trouble God is my stronghold. He is the one that I will hold on to as the landscape shifts hues of gray. Knowing this makes me optimistic for the future when I think about the trials that I have gone through, the pitfalls that I have fallen into, and the renewed potential to walk through this valley in a day of trouble with my Stronghold. I have a new opportunity to hold His hand and offer to others what He wants to give them.
He protects those who take refuge in him. God protects those who do what?...take refuge in Him. So, if I choose Him as my stronghold and I choose to take my refuge, my security and my survival in Him, then I am protected. I can trust Him because He said so. His concern is for my best and His outcome will reflect Him through my choice, my obedience. Lord, let this come.
See, this event in my life is bound to get worse before it gets better. Some of you know what that means. You are in the middle of, “I know that I haven’t seen the worst of this, yet”. Maybe you are in the worst of it. It could be teenagers, back pain, obedience, health issues, loneliness, or addictions.
You know what? You are right. It could get worse. I could be entering the rushing flood. Think of that. Do you willing walk into a rushing flood? Are you standing on the dry land knowing that it is just rolling toward you? It is only a matter of time until it completely submerges you. I immediately think of financial situations happening all across the country. The rushing flood takes your feet out from under you and carries you away. But even in this rushing flood, my stronghold is protecting me. You know what? That might still mean that I get carried away in the flood.
Remember where we started? The Lord is good, and I can trust Him…and that is the point.
Father, bless us with the knowledge that you are with us today. Thank you for the endless protection that You offer us when we choose You. Destroy strongholds in our lives and set our feet firm even in the floods.