My Strong Refuge

Monday, October 24, 2016, 8:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Jesus, I am Resting, Resting.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 71 (Select vv. NIV).

Rescue Me (vv. 1-4, 7-9)

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.
Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.

This is my situation. Yours may be completely different. We have bed bugs, going on 3 weeks now. We had our first treatment last Thursday, and will have the next one this Thursday. After the first treatment, matters got much worse. The bites actually increased. Not sure why. I was told things will get worse before they get better. And, we were asked not to do anything ourselves other than we can use talc powder and rubbing alcohol to kill the bugs or to dissuade them from biting us, if we can find where they are hiding, and/or if we have some idea where they might be coming from.

From the very beginning of this situation, the Lord spoke to me through his word very strongly in teaching me that this is not going to go away through human effort, but that if we are delivered from this, it will be God who delivers us. And, along with that he said that I was to rest in him, not be afraid to suffer, and to trust him. As well, I was to listen to what he wanted to teach me through this and allow him to change me where I needed to be changed (purified and pruned). And, added to that, I was to not stop singing, but I was to continually give him my praise and thanksgiving.

Yet, it isn’t just the bed bug bites that are the problem. In other words, when you have bed bugs, it is like you have a contagious disease of some kind. You don’t just have them in your home or apartment, but you can be a carrier of them to other people. I have had them in my hair twice now, that I know of, and they have laid their eggs there, too. Both of these times the Lord has helped me to discover this, so we were able to kill the bugs and treat my hair for any remaining bugs or eggs, but they could also be in our clothing, though we shower every day and we don’t wear any clothing more than once before washing it again, because, at present, we are in a position financially when we can afford to do this. One day we won’t be, most likely.

What this means for us is that we are pretty well isolated now from other people, though not entirely. We had moved here 5 months ago so that my husband could care for his elderly parents, but we are staying away from there so we don’t give them what we have. We had also been meeting with a group of people in our building for Bible study, but, again, we do not want to risk the danger of giving this to other people until we are certain we are free from these critters, though I know no one can be completely sure they are not passing along bugs to others, as these critters have a way of secretly sneaking on to you, like hitchhikers. And, that is often how they are passed.

I do know that people are watching our lives to see how we react to this situation. And, God is opening some doors for me to witness to people about Jesus that were not there prior to us going through this, so I praise him for that. Through it all the Lord has been and will continue to be my strength and my song; my strong tower to whom I go when I am hurting and in pain – all by his grace and in his strength alone. He is truly teaching me much about resting in him, not just in this trial, but this is training me in how to respond to all trials in my life, including ones to come which are certainly to be much worse, considering the times in which we now live.

And, he is teaching me, too, to be joyful in trial, and to keep giving him praise, even when I do feel like I am being hotly pursued by a fierce and relentless enemy who is after my blood. [Bed bugs are bloodsucking parasites.]

My Enemies (vv. 10-12)

For my enemies speak against me;
those who wait to kill me conspire together.
They say, “God has forsaken him;
pursue him and seize him,
for no one will rescue him.”
Do not be far from me, my God;
come quickly, God, to help me.

These bed bugs are not human, so they can’t speak evil against me, but they do operate a lot, by instinct, in the way this passage of scripture describes. They do lie in wait until I sit in a chair or I recline in my bed, and usually they wait until I am asleep, though not always, before they go on the attack.

This might appear to some people that God is not paying attention or that he has abandoned me, or some people might feel as though I am being punished for some sin in my life. Others might assume I did something to deserve this, or that I brought this on myself due to some type of personal neglect. I really don’t know what people are saying about me, but I do know that the Lord is filling me with his peace, with his joy, and that there is still a smile on my face, and my faith, praise God, has not been shaken. Yet, I still pray for deliverance, though I accept God’s plan and purpose for it all if it should linger. I pray, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”

Always Hope (14-15, 19-21)

As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all.

Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honor
and comfort me once more.

My hope in life does not rest in wealth, possessions, good health, lack of bugs, loss of trials, and/or personal acceptance by others, etc. My hope in life is found in Jesus Christ alone. He is my Rock, my Salvation and my Deliver, whether he chooses to deliver me from this trial or through this trial. He is doing some amazing things in my life through this difficulty, so I am thankful to him for this, though I certainly will rejoice, too, when it is over, even if that doesn’t happen until I go to be with him forever.

We all have trials. We all have things which test our faith and our commitments to Christ. Some people learn the needed lessons when they go through difficulties, and they grow in their faith and mature in Christ, and God prunes and purifies them through these times of testing. Yet, others fight with human strength to try to shake off difficulties, and they get angry and bitter, and rant and rave, thinking that somehow that is going to improve their situation, but it never does. It only makes matters much worse, and then they are miserable, and they make others miserable who must be around them. And, they never learn the hard lessons, and so they end up continuing down the wrong paths and repeating the same mistakes.

God never promised us that we wouldn’t have to go through tough times. In fact, he promised us that we would suffer, be hated, and be rejected, etc. Especially now, as we are beginning to see so many prophecies of scripture fulfilled before our very eyes, with regard to these last days before Christ’s return, we should know that things are going to get much worse before they get better. Although I pray for deliverance from this trial, I know God has brought it into my life for my good, so I have to be willing to accept that maybe it won’t get better before Jesus takes me home. And, I have to rest in him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and keep smiling, and keep singing, and keep praising my Lord, believing fully that he loves me in all this.

Jesus, I am Resting, Resting / Jean Sophia Pigott

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

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