I get horses in
training sometimes that are very jittery and unsure of themselves. They spook
at everything and have a hard time in a new place. It takes them lots of time
to accept their new surroundings and settle down into the process of training.
Some of them soon realize that no one is going to hurt them and they finally get
to the place where they can learn. In other words, they begin to advance when
they begin to trust the trainer and the process. They have gotten out of their
comfort zone and found out that it was not too bad to be in another zone. The
ones that make great winners usually get to the place where they can accept new
zones easily. As they are hauled down the road, they will face many situations
that they have never experienced before. A great horse is able to adapt himself
and eat and rest in strange and new surroundings. He becomes a trusting
horse. Those that continue to fret, get off feed, and can't rest will not be
long lasting tough competitors. They use up too much energy fretting.
The last devotion, "Good Grief" prompted more replies than all of the others put
together. This shows me that many people are out of their comfort zones and into
a zone they have not faced before. Grief shakes a person up. We like things to
be familiar. We like for things to be the same and not change on us. When a
crisis comes up, we can be shaken to the core of our beliefs. Until we have
learned to trust in Christ with our very being and everything we have, we can be
shaken over and over.
When we start out on our walk with Christ, it begins as a walk of faith. We
don't know where we are going, because we have never been here before. When I
first began walking with Him and something big came up, I can remember desiring
to run back to the familiar. Sometimes that meant that I craved to drink or
sometimes I craved to go back to smoking cigarettes which used to soothe my
nerves. I made a promise to quit those health robbing habits, but I still
craved to run back to them at times. The longer I walked with Christ, the
easier it became to run to Him in quiet times of prayer and Word study to
increase my faith. (Romans 10:17 So then faith comeeth by hearing, and hearing
by the word of God.)
It seems to me that somewhere along the line, after my faith was increased, I
began to face the trust issue. When things would go horribly wrong, could I
really trust that this was good for me and could I trust the process to make me
a better person? I can tell you that this was easier said than done. When I
lost those closest to me, I could not see how things could ever be the same
because they simply cannot be replaced. I can look back now and see that even
though God did not cause those things to go wrong, He used them in my life to
bring me closer to Him and to bring strength into my being. Romans 5 tells
us: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord
Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we
stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory
in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; and patience
experience and experience, hope; and hope makes us strong because the love of
God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
When troubles come, we MUST remember the access by faith we have to stand into
grace. Say to yourself, "By faith, I can open the door to stand in the grace of
God." Then we can trust. If you are having a problem trusting, memorize this
scripture: Proverbs 3: 5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean
not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall
direct your paths. Stop trying to figure everything out and wear your brain
out leaning on your own understanding. You are in a new zone and Jesus Christ
entered that zone with you. He is there. He never leaves you. As you learn to
trust Him, your soul becomes full of peace. You will live a longer, more
fruitful life much like that horse that learned to trust.
At a time when I was struggling, my pastor gave me a story about a man named
Horatio Spafford, an avid student of Scripture. I cried at the time when I read
it. I want to end by sharing his story with you. I have read and re-read it
many times over the years. Here is a man who truly learned to trust - even
through tremendous losses.
Horatio Spafford: In the prime years of his financial success as a Chicago
attorney, he knew that success at work needed to be balanced by success both at
home and in the church. He loved his wife, four daughters, and son and was an
active member of a Presbyterian church. He was also a loyal friend and
supporter of D.L. Moody and other Christian leaders of the day. He continued to
build a solid spiritual foundation as he built up his business ventures. The
rock on which he built his faith would prove more valuable than any earthly
possessions in the devastating crises he was to face in his early forties.
Spafford's only son died just months before his large real estate investment was
wiped out in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Reeling from the family and financial
loss, Spafford planned a trip to Europe for his family to coincide with an
evangelist crusade with Moody. At the last minute a business development
delayed him, but as scheduled he sent his wife and four daughters ahead on the
SS Ville Du Havre to cross the Atlantic Ocean to Great Britain, where he was
planning to join them a few days later.
The ship carrying his precious family was struck by an English vessel and sank
in twelve minutes. All four of his daughters drowned. His wife survived the
disaster and was taken to Wales, where she cabled her husband with the words, "
Saved alone." Right away Spafford left by ship to join his wife. The captain
of his vessel, knowing his deep bereavement, paused on his journey across the
ocean to show Spafford the place where Bessie, Annie, Maggie, and Tanetta had
drowned. It was there that the "sorrows like sea billows" rolled over his
soul. Knowing that God "regarded my helpless estate," he penned the words that
have brought deep comfort to generations of those facing unfathomable sorrows.
The early years of Spafford's study of the character of God led him to the hope
that someday his "faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll"
and thus he could confidently say, " It is well, it is well with my soul."
This week, find a hymn book and read all four verses of the great hymn IT IS
WELL WITH MY SOUL. May we all come to the place where we can peacefully say,
" It is well with my soul."