24 September 2008

Standing on the promises...

There is a hymn that we sing in church all the time whose refrain is "Standing, standing, I'm standing on the promises of Christ my Savior..." This is NOT one of my favorite hymns, but as I get older - and especially in these days and times - I am learning the value of those words.

Yesterday, EARLY in the morning, I received a phone that shook me to my core. When I realized that my godsister was up at 4:30a to make a phone call and heard her voice, I knew the news was not going to be good. As she told me the news that her sister, Sylvia, had been diagnosed with cancer, we both broke down and cried. I wanted to scream as Evilene (the wicked witch of the West in the movie THE WIZ) did - "don't nobody bring me no (mo') bad news!" It seems to be coming at an unrelenting, unending, constant stream - bad news, mo' bad news, and then even more. How do you survive when it seems every email you receive is a prayer request or every phone call is news that is less than pleasing? How do you stand?

You stand on the promises of God.

So, I thought about that. What are some of the promises we can stand on? Are there verses in the Bible that I can immediately think of when times are tough and all the ground around me seems to be sinking sand? Is there something, some hope, I can cling to when there seems to be nothing to hold on to? Yes! There are several promises throughout God's Word that are there for times like these - when hurricanes/tornados rage one after another after another; when illnesses hit the young and the good and the kind while it seems like the old and the evil and the mean prosper and flourish; when gas is scarce and if you can find it, the cost is high; when choices have to be made daily between buying food to eat and buying the gas to get to work so that you can buy the food to eat; when it seems all hope is gone; when you feel like you cannot stand and must sink to the floor under the weight of the burden - there are promises you can stand on. Here are a few that I claim:

Jeremiah 29:11 (you knew that would be there!): For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalms 91:1,2: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I (will) trust.

Psalm 121: I lift my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-He who watches over you will not slumber: indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you-the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm-He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Isaiah 65:24: Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear. (Deliverance is coming!)

You may have another one - there may be a promise that you hold onto in times of stress and grief and uncertainty. Whatever that verse is for you (or verses if you have more than one) - hold on to it. The days ahead will be bumpy ones. Finally, there was a song from my freshman year in college (decades ago!) whose lyrics were: "After you've done all you can, you just stand..." I encourage you to keep standing.

Be blessed.

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