“My heart trusts in God, and he helps me.”
It was cold, cloudy, wet, and dreary the weekend we traveled to Cartersville, Georgia, to interview for a potential staff position at a church. Our daughter was eighteen at the time and son fourteen, both plenty old enough to stay by themselves in our sunny warm home in Florida while we were away for the weekend.
Exhausted from the travel and the interview process, we were eager to settle into our hotel room on that first evening in Cartersville, where a few surprises awaited us.
We were not only physically exhausted, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. It had already been a few months of wrestling with God on whether He was calling us to move to Cartersville. All of our senses were on high alert, listening and looking for God to reveal His plan.
Arriving at our hotel, we were surprised to discover our room was given to someone else. I didn’t know whether to cry or pull my hair out. I did neither; I just stood frozen from the cold and numb from the news. The receptionist responded by offering an upgrade to a spacious one-room suite at the same price. The tension began to release in my body, and visions reentered my mind of me in a toasty room buried in the covers of a comfy warm bed.
We had dressed as warmly as we could with our Florida winter clothes, but the north Georgia February weather had left us chilled to the bone. Tony cranked the heat up. I quickly changed clothes and dove under the covers.
Naturally, we began to process the events of the day, the people we had met, and the conversations that took place. Trusting your children is a gift and part of granting them that trust was choosing not to check in with them every hour, but we made the call to say good night. Our second surprise was not as pleasant.
All was well and as we were about to hang up, Sydney said, “I wasn’t going to say anything, but…” and my warm settled momma heart froze again before she could complete her sentence. “…Silas says he isn’t feeling well,” she reluctantly informed us.
Doctor mom got on the line and began to do an over-the-phone evaluation. The conclusion was to take a few Tylenol and let’s check in with each other in the morning. Despite the exhaustion, sleep was difficult, and it was a toss and turn kind of night.
Silas was not any worse the following morning, and we went on with our day and them with theirs. We did text back and forth a few times, but by that evening, when we called to check-in, he had spiked a fever, had chills, and was achy all over. As Sydney translated his symptoms, it began to sound like the flu.
It was Saturday evening. We were out of town. They were home alone.
I have lived away from my family my entire life and it is when they are hurting that the greatest sense of helplessness is felt. This time it was my children. There are many times in our lives when we feel helpless. We do what we can, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. The loss of control is real.
The thoughts of condemnation and shame set in.
“You are a bad mom!” “What kind of a mom leaves her children alone for the weekend even if one of them is eighteen?”
“It’s cold and dreary here. You don’t want to move here.”
“It’s a sign. Why would God allow your children to get sick while you are out pursuing His will? You shouldn’t be here!”
God in His mercy and love gave me Psalm 28:7.
The first part of the psalm conveys David’s state of desperation as he pours out his heart to the Lord and requests for God to deal severely with those who have persecuted him. “To you, O LORD, I call; my rock do not refuse to hear me, for if you are silent to me, I shall be like those who go down to the Pit” (Psalm 28:1, NRSV).
The second half of the psalm is one of thanksgiving and triumph. “Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me” (Psalm 28:6-7a, NIV).
Whether David penned this from a place of desperation reflecting his faith in God’s intervention in his circumstances or from a place of thanksgiving recalling his time of despair, it is a lesson for us.
If we are in a place of anxiousness and helplessness, we choose to be grateful as we trust God with our outcome. If we are in a place where we have seen how God worked things out, we remember that place of helplessness, confess we had no control, and give God our gratitude for His help.
When I read Psalm 28 on that cold night miles away from my sick child and my other child who bore the brunt of caregiving, it was a clear message. It reminded me that when our hands are tied, our hearts are heavy, our ability to affect the outcome is limited, and feelings of helplessness surmounts – there is hope.
The hope is that help will come.
The help does not always arrive on our timetable or in the way we expected it would show up, but trusting God with those details is part of having faith in Him. When we rely on Him, He gives us strength to keep going and protects our hearts from the firey condemning statements that the enemy tempts us to dwell on.
Dwelling on God as my Hope for help changed my thinking.
“I am the best mom for my children. God gave them to us and they are in God’s hands.”
“God is bigger than the weather. He will be my strength.”
“God will make it clear to us whether we need to move. I will trust Him.”
I continued to dwell on the verses God had given me. We did what we could do by contacting our neighbor and my sister who is a doctor. The people of God became our family away from family and there was nothing more we could do until we got home.
Silas was better by the time we returned.
Trusting God to help is not always easy. But God helped me, helped Silas, and He eventually made it clear whether we were to move to Cartersville.
Our hope is in God Who promises to help.
I praise you, Lord, for answering my prayers. You are my strong shield, and I trust you completely. You have helped me, and I will celebrate and thank you in song. (Psalm 28:6-7, CEV)
Meditation: God is my help.
Reflect: Has there ever been a time when you felt helpless? How did you handle it? When you have little or no control over the outcome, what does trusting God look like for you? How can you encourage someone else who feels helpless?
Digging Deeper: Psalm 28; Psalm 121; Acts 27: 13-26, 44
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(Bible References: NRSV – New Revised Standard Version, NIV – New International Version, CEV – Contemporary English Version)