Zoned Out

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."  

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Last modified: January 05, 2014