Have you ever had that moment when one conversation shifts your perspective forever?
About 4 years into Erika's fight with cancer I got a message from a friend who had discovered a lump on her breast. She was about to undergo all the tests and appointments and was preparing her heart and mind for the possibility of hearing that dreaded "c" word. So in an attempt to do anything and everything I could to help I reached out to Erika and asked, "What is the one book that has helped and encouraged you the most since your diagnosis?"
I 100% expected her to recommend a book written by a cancer survivor. I had amazon pulled up and was ready to order whatever book (or books...cause Erika was a HUGE reader so 1 book would NEVER be enough 😜♥️) and have it shipped to my friend that very day. But then I got Erika's reply..."Reading the Bible and reminding myself of God's promises and who God is."
Y'all. I'm a Pastor's kid who has spent her entire adult life in full-time ministry herself and yet Erika's reply stopped me in my "make all the plans" and "fix all the things" tracks. We are in a world that offers all of the resources and support we could ever dream of at our fingertips and yet the best encouragement and greatest comfort for someone fighting for their life was (and IS) still found in the precious words of Jesus.
Over the past several months, weeks, and especially days, this memory and truth has been at the forefront of my heart and mind. As I scroll social media and read post after post of another covid diagnosis or hospitalization, another family member lost due to physical illness, mental illness, or even simply old age, and a grieving family struggling to find a way to be all together to celebrate the life of a loved one lost. I turn on the news and am bombarded with reports of another day of civil unrest in this amazing Nation that I call home. With what feels like a hurricane of chaos swirling relentlessly around us all, I can't help but start to brainstorm - How can I make a difference in a real and tangible way? What book or podcast can I recommend to those hurting all around me?
It is in these moments of frantic mental planning that Erika's advice floods my heart and soul once again. Podcasts are great - I listen to them ALL the time. (If you've never checked out Stuff You Should Know or Stuff You Missed in History Class then you are missing out!) Books are wonderful - I read all kinds! From sci-fi to business building and everything in between! But what our souls and our world need now more than ever is to get back to "Reading the Bible and reminding (ourselves) of God's promises and who God is."
I want to pause right here to draw your attention to something. Did you notice that Erika's response wasn't reminding herself of "What God does"? The scriptures she clung to most tightly were the ones that told of His character, His promises, and who He is! In her darkest of seasons, her passion and drive in pursuing the Lord was never to get something from God but rather simply to get closer to Him. As close to Him as possible. Moment by moment and day by day. Wow. What an incredible warrior of God.
I say all of this to challenge you - Do you want to see God's hand move in your heart and life? Read the Bible and allow Him to remind you of His promises and who He is. Do you want to see revival in our nation and world? Read the Bible and allow Him to remind you of His promises and who He is. Do you want to help others who are hurting around you? Read the Bible and allow Him to remind you of His promises and who He is. Do you want to see a change in your marriage and family relationships? Read the Bible and allow Him to remind you of His promises and who He is.
How can this one simple suggestion be the answer for so many different needs and situations? Because when you read the Bible you are reminded that God is greater than your worries, anxieties, and fears - for He is the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). Because when you read the Bible you are reminded that we don't need to run around, frantically trying to fix all of the things while we "wait for Him to show up" because He is already fighting on our behalf - we need only to be still (Ephesians 6:10-18). Because our words of encouragement sound good to the ear but His words of comfort cut deep into the soul - for He knows each of our needs better than we know ourselves (Matthew 6:8). Because, as I have learned, when you don't get the healing this side of heaven that you are desperately praying for, He is still faithful to walk with us through every moment of grief and He builds our trust and faith until we can say with a confidence not our own - God, even if you don't, you are still good! (Daniel 3:18) Not because of what You do, but because of who You are.
So I leave you with a challenge today - the next time you feel the urge to fix all of the problems or even throw in the towel - just STOP. Break out the word of God. Allow Him to remind you that He sees you, He knows you, He hears you, and He's already fighting on your behalf. You simply need to trust, be still, and, when He speaks, be obedient to His voice. I have no doubt by making this one simple perspective shift with the Lord you are going to feel one mighty big weight lift off of your heart and spirit. I know I have.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17