Last week I wrote a rather lighthearted piece about anxiety in the face of natural disasters (Why Worry?). While I fully believe all God’s promises that I quoted in that piece, I was reminded over the weekend that we face things far more painful, far more devastating than tornadoes. You see, a dear friend has just put her husband of nearly 50 years under hospice care.
His last few weeks or months are likely to be the most difficult the family has ever faced. They will have to draw strength from their faith in ways they never have before. They will have to lean on the everlasting arms as their own strength grows dim, as sorrow overwhelms them.
But I’m also confident that the everlasting God will not leave them nor forsake them. Here are just a few of the promises they can cling to in the coming days:
- “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9)
- “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped” (Psalm 28:7)
- “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
- “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3)
- “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10)
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)
I don’t know what you may be facing right now. Maybe you are sitting watch over a dying loved one. Maybe you are facing your own death, or perhaps a devastating illness. Maybe you have suffered some other loss that has you reeling.
I would remind you of the story in Matthew 14:22-33. The disciples were in a boat in the middle of a storm. Suddenly they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water. They were terrified, but Jesus encouraged them to “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (v. 27). Then, of course, impetuous Peter wanted to walk on the water as well. He stepped out of the boat and onto the water. He was fine as long as he focused on Jesus, but as soon as his focus changed to the storm, he began to sink. What happened? “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him” (v. 31).
That same Jesus walks beside you today as you are going through your own storm. Keep your eyes on Him. Don’t let the storm distract you. Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), is holding out His hand to catch you.