Felix and Brenda* came into our center for food. She wore the look of a bruised, defeated woman. Felix walked hunched and tired. Somberly he described how gang members in Boise, Idaho robbed them, beating them nearly to death. He subsequently suffered grand mal seizures and Brenda several mini-strokes. They were able to identify only one of their attackers. He was imprisoned for attempted murder and robbery but refused to reveal his accomplices so Felix and Brenda were relocated to protect them for further attack.
Imagine not being able to sleep at night fearing another attack. Picture the smashing of peace by emotional breakdowns and you get an idea why doctors diagnosed Felix as suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and elected to sedate him with medicine.
Felix shared that the drugs were not alleviating his anxiety. But I had something far better than medicine to give him. “Felix, what is the worse thing that can happen to you?” He paused and thought before speaking, “I die.” “That’s right, and if you die that is a bonus because you will be with Jesus.” He thought about that and smiled. Felix and Brenda both love the Lord, but their relationship flounders by the fear of evil.
David lived for years constantly on the run from a king and an army bent on destroying him. He continually endured hardships. Yet, he wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 NASB) Paul was beaten, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked, imprisoned multiple times and constantly harassed for his beliefs. Yet knowing he would be killed he confidently stated, “ For me, living is Christ and dying is gain” (Philippians 1:21). How did these Biblical heroes live without fearing evil?
Hebrews 11:37-40--They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us.
We can live with PTSD and be in bondage to fear. Or we can live with Present Tranquillity Following Jesus (PTFJ) bonded by faith. It comes down to choice. I know people who have suffered the ravages of war and experienced unmentionable horrors yet walk serenely because they believe in their Shepherd! His rod and staff are sufficient. Faith cannot be defeated by sin, disease or suffering. We choose to either trust God or suffer the consequences that come when we let our problems replace Him.
Felix and Brenda, go to bed and rest with Jesus. If you are murdered, the same God who allowed you to die will eternally bathe you in His fluorescent love. Faith is not intimidated by stress! Faith is nourished by appropriating favor! In the midst of pain, God loves us. In the trials we endure, His mercy is sufficient. His promises are real, eternal and distinctly fashioned for our joy. We either joyfully live believing or we fearfully live dying.
Faith by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character has to be cleared in our own minds.—Oswald Chamber inMy Utmost For His Highest
*Not their real names
©2007 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)