God is our Refuge and Strength

Psalms 46:1-3,10-11 ESV

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah”

“‘Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!’
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah”

Two weeks ago, December 24th, 2022, our apartment where we live was mostly all flooded. The temperatures were freezing that evening and a water pipe burst in the attic in the apartment above us and poured water down into that apartment, then into ours, and then into the one below us. But ours were not the only apartments that had frozen and burst water pipes that evening. Evidently as many as 23 or more apartments in our complex were being flooded at the same time, and it was Christmas Eve.

So we were doing all that we could do to protect as much as possible from damage, and I think this must have gone on for about two hours before they finally got the water cut off to our building so that they could repair the burst pipe. But the water continued to drip into our apartment for quite a while longer. And then we cleaned up as much as we could, and then we ran fans everywhere to help everything to dry out so that there would not be further destruction from mold or mildew.

The next four days was cleanup of everything that got wet, and then December 29th the contractors began tearing down the sheetrock in the ceilings where the water had come through, which included everywhere but the living room and dining area. So sheetrock and sheetrock dust was now flying everywhere, and the contractors were all over our apartment, and we could not function in our apartment while this was going on, so we got a hotel room for 4 nights, thinking that would be enough.

Our second night in the hotel my husband came down with a fever and chills and 24 hours later I also had fever and chills and I developed flu-like symptoms. I was very ill for several days and my back was in severe pain and I was extremely weak, and since the contractors were not yet finished with our apartment, we extended our hotel stay another three nights. And even by the time we were ready to leave the hotel to come back to the apartment I was still in such severe back pain that I could hardly do anything, so I prayed, and the Lord gave me some relief.

Last night was our first night back in our apartment. My stomach is still not doing well and I ate something that I thought would be good for me but I did not check the ingredients ahead of time and then all of a sudden I had the worst belly ache which lasted most of the day today. And my whole body is aching now, but especially my back. And I am breathing in sheetrock dust. But we have work to get done here what we can in order to function inside this apartment again, so I did as much as I was able, but cried some, too.

Now I am fully aware that my suffering pales by comparison to what many other people throughout the world are having to suffer, but it still hurts. My belly is still in pain. My back is in pain. I am coughing. I am breathing in sheetrock dust. My head is all clogged up. I hurt all over. And it is very slow going here trying to get our apartment back to being fully functional so that we can resume normal daily activity. But God is good! All the time! He knows what he is doing, and he has a plan and a purpose for it all.

He is still my refuge and my strength. He gets me through every pain, and he sustains me, and he keeps me going when I think I cannot go another step. He hears my cries for mercy and he brings healing when it is needed, but he is still allowing me to suffer, too. And all I know is that my life is in his hands always, and he allowed this for a reason, and so I must trust him with all my aches and pains and with my tomorrows that he will continue to see me through it all, and that good will come from it.

So, I must be still and know that He is God and that he will be exalted. And I must know that he is still fully sovereign over all things and so he has a purpose for everything he allows me to go through in this life. So I pray that I will learn the lessons he wants me to learn through this, and that I will continue to grow even closer to him in my walk of faith, and that my faith will increase, and that I will hear his voice more clearly, and that I will remain steadfast in faith through it all.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

Near the Cross

Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

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