Written by Sarah Keith
“Oh Lord, preserve my faith. Preserve my faith, O Lord!”
I found myself praying that prayer – again. You see my husband Bob, of 32 years, fainted and fell October of 2013; he sustained a traumatic brain injury. Twelve days later my mother died.
My world crumbled. The grief was unbearable.
I thought l would die of a broken heart. During those dark days it was almost impossible to think, let alone pray. Most days, l could only utter a one-word prayer, “Jesus.” I pleaded with God to heal Bob, but l also found myself praying, “Oh God, preserve my faith.”
I wrestled and struggled with doubts about what l believed. Did l really believe all that l had taught or had written to encourage others in their faith?
But where could l go? To whom could l turn?
Who else is there besides the Lord?
And who else has opened the gates of heaven to sinful mortal souls and holds the words of eternal life?
Then God in His providence preserved my husband’s life, and over the course of seven months brought him back from death’s door.
Bob still has many physical and mental deficits. He can’t be alone. Even so, he has made much progress, and this gives me hope!
But it is not clear whether he will be completely restored on this side of heaven. I question, “Are you there Lord? Do you care?”
My daughter has been urging me to do something for myself. So, l took her up on it. She would “watch” dad, while l went for a bike ride – something normal!
I took my familiar route to the ocean inlet. It was a beautiful morning with bright, clear blue skies, puffy white clouds, and an easy breeze for biking. As l peddled, l prayed, “Lord, preserve my faith. I need you to help me. I can’t do this!”
When l reached the inlet pathway, l noticed it had been re-landscaped. It was beautiful but now unfamiliar. At the mouth of the inlet, just before it spills into the ocean, sits my prayer rock. When l stepped onto it, a thought came to me, “Everything else might look different, but my rock hasn’t changed. It’s fim and secure. And is this not what the Scripture says about God?”
My soul groaned deep within, and l cried out, “Lord, l need to hear from You; I need to know that You are there, and that You care. Please let me hear from You today. Don’t remain silent! Please Lord, speak to me!” Then, as is my custom, l turned to the passage in Psalms that matched the date – Psalm 31.
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
as for me, I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
Let me not be put to shame, Lord,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and be silent in the realm of the dead.
Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.
Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 31:1-24 (NIV)
But God in His mercy reminded me that He knows what is happening – and cares!
He is teaching me to trust that He is the One in whom l can rest and depend! He is working out His plan – in His time.
Dear friends, if you too are walking an unfamiliar path in life. I urge you to step onto the Solid Rock. Call on the Lord Jesus, take refuge in him; He is our Sure Foundation!
It is now the summer of 2019. Bob has come a long way in speech, understanding, and the ability to walk. Yet, he still cannot be left alone. These past five years have continued challenging my faith.
I struggle with doubts, insecurities, fear, and burnout from care-giving. My health has been adversely affected too. Even so, God continues to show up in unique and undeniable ways. He continues preserving my faith when l think l can’t take one more step.
The Lord continues to prove His faithfulness, even when l am faithless – because as the Scriptures promise, “He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
That’s God’s promise to His children when we are weak in our faith!
This article was first published by Sarah Keith on her website The Sunday School Network.com. Also, check out the website’s vast array of biblical-based teaching resources designed to help children to get to know Jesus.
About the author:
Sarah Keith is the founder of SundaySchoolNetwork.com. She has been writing Christian adult devotionals and Bible curricula for teachers of children since 1999. In 1981, she graduated with honors from Palm Beach Atlantic University with a degree in Psychology and Religion, and she holds a degree in Fine Arts from Palm Beach State College.
Sarah is passionate about the importance of teaching children about Jesus, having them memorize God’s Word early and often. She has worked in children’s ministry for over 30 years
Written by Lynne Phipps
Thought for the day: Trust in God is first and foremost a fact and not a feeling.
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!”
Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)
Every day, my seven canines get a treat to help them maintain strong and healthy teeth. They never receive the treat at the same time on any given day. I hand them out when l fill up their food bowls for the evening meal. Sometimes, l do this early in the day, sometimes later.
My seven canines used to be eight. And it was this eigth one that reinforced a valuable lessone for me, day in and day out, the older he got. By the time he was twelve, he was totally deaf. And by the time he was fifteen, his sight had greatly deteriorated. His cataracts were so thick, l doubt that he was able to see very much. He was such a happy little fellow though, always full of joy right from the first day he came to live with me and was still quite spry at the age of sixteen.
And every day when it was treat time, even though he was deaf and basically blind, he always seemed to know. I would reach for the biscuits from the cupboard and turn around – and there would be seven dogs gathered around in expectation. I would dole out the goodies one by one until l had one left, which was Casey’s.
And where would number eight be?
Always sitting, waiting patiently in complete trust behind everyone else. He never barked or whined or tried to get his treat first, even though it would have been easy for him to walk under the bigger dog’s legs to get to the front of the line. Rather, he had learned over the years that he was never forgotten and he was never left out – he would receive that for which he hoped.
Casey died just before Christmas, shortly after his sixteenth birthday. He suffered a stroke during his sleep and though it did not take him, the time had come to say goodbye.
Now, every day when l turn around with the treats in my hand and see all of my friends gathered in anticipation, l remember the wonderful gift Casey left me: the trust factor.
I also remember that the Lord longs to be gracious to me, for the Lord is a God of justice and blessed are all who wait for Him.
Perhaps today, you may be feeling left out or forgotten. The Lord seems to be blessing everyone else but you. You feel that God has been silent and wonder will you ever hear His voice again. If so, fear not. Instead, embrace Casey’s gift: the trust factor. Trust in the promises and the goodness of God. Wait patiently for Him, and you will not be disappointed with the blessing He has in store just for you.
Prayer: Father God, thank You so much that You long to be gracious to us, Your children. Thank You that You show compassion and are a God of justice. Thank You that we are blessed when we wait for You, for never will You leave us nor forget us. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Delve deeper: There is probably not a single Christian in all history, who has not struggled with trusting God when He seems to be silent, no matter how hard we try to reach Him. But trusting in God is not so much about our feelings but about standing upon the facts of Scripture.
Consider these verses:
For I am with you, and I will take care of you.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Jeremiah 1:19 (NLT)
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:23 (NLT)
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
. Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
So today, if you are struggling because God seems to be silent in your life, remember Casey and the trust factor. Then, begin to dwell upon those Scriptures that promise God is faithful. He is with you and will never forsake you!
Additionally, think upon all His faithfulness to you in the past, and begin to praise God for His continued faithfulness, not only for today, but also for all the days which lie ahead for you throughout eternity.
This devotional was originally published at PresbyCan Daily Devotional on 11th March 2019.