For the past year my son, daughter in law, and two small grandsons have been on stateside assignment. For 9 of those months they lived in Scotland while my son worked on his masters. Not living in a 3rd world country, we have enjoyed the luxury of easy access to them via internet.
At present they are living with us as they prepare to return to Africa. And once again I’m faced with the painful thought that they will be leaving soon. But something unexpected happened while they were home that complicated the emotional strain of sending them off.
My husband and I have four children and two of them live near us. We take a great deal of comfort in knowing two of our daughters are close by. That was until recently! In April we were hit with the news that one of those daughters would likely be moving an 11 hours’ drive away to San Antonio, Texas. (And they did just that on August 18th)
Therefore, this summer has been one of extreme high’s and extreme lows. There was a constant flow of children and grandchildren in our house all summer. Three of those weeks were especially momentous: Nammy Camp for the 6 granddaughters, a family vacation in East Tennessee for all 20 of us, and Nammy Camp for the 4 grandsons. The month of August our son and his family has been spent here with my husband and I. My life was filled to overflowing with memory after wonderful memory of times spent together.
The quote from A Tale of Two Cities (post title), describes my emotional state over this past summer quite succinctly. And predictably with every low moment I was hit with a barrage of fiery darts.
It would have been my undoing had it not been for God’s instruction which had prepared me to not only identify fiery dart thinking but how to extinguish such thoughts as well. While the pain persists, I’m learning by His tender mercies, how to manage it. My life moves forward as God tenderly and lovingly leads me.
One of the most helpful Truth Thoughts I have found is Psalm 34:17:
How does God deliver me from my present troubles and rescue my crushed spirit?
If I cooperate with God, He will give me the desire that pleases Him (Philip. 2:13) He will remind me that He will fill the void when my children move away. (Philip. 4:19).
His presence will restore my crushed spirit. Every time I began to focus on my loss, He reminds me to direct my focus towards His presence and the love He has for me. (Psalm 16:11)
He reminds me that He will work all this out for my good (Rom 8:28).
Okay, so I have a choice!
I can pick up my shield of faith and face down the enemy with these Truth Thoughts!
Or I can continue to focus on my losses and grow more miserable with every day!
Obviously, there are those in our country who simply don’t understand the purpose of prayer. From their public words they espouse the negative thought (fiery dart) which promotes the idea that God doesn’t care about what we are going through and isn’t about to fix the problems associated with the recent terrorists attacks.
They don’t realize that God, indeed, is going to fix this problem with evil once and for all when Jesus Christ returns (Matthew 24:44). But God has a timetable, and He has a plan, and we must trust Him to work things out in His way and in His time. In the meantime, we must trust Him and,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippines 4:6-7
Because apart from God, deep and lasting peace is unattainable. Because it’s at times such as these when we are falling apart that we need a strength outside ourselves to see us through. Praying opens us up to receive this strength which comes from God. For He knows suffering is going to affect us all and His plan is to provide a way to handle our suffering and come out on the other end of it stronger than when we entered it. Therefore, suffering, which is inevitable, can refine us if we choose to pray for God’s strength, or it can ruin our lives, sending us into despair and defeat.
We therefore must make a choice, and I recommend the following plan of action:
1.Recognize these negative thoughts for the fiery darts they are
2. Reject this thinking; don’t let it take root
3. Replace the fiery dart thought with a Truth thought. (The Bible is full of them)
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7, (gives us the strength to resist the temptation to fear).
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16(shows us just how much God cares for us)
“…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 (confirms the power of prayer)