Friday morning my alarm went off and my mind began to calculate when the kids might wake up and how long I would have to shower, read my Bible, drink some coffee, etc. Ben was in Texas with the older two kids to be with a few churches and share with them what God has been doing in Thailand and my mom would be leaving that afternoon to head home to Washington after being with me for a week to help with the kids. Looking ahead to the weekend where I would be on my own with our three youngest, I knew that I needed to prepare physically and spiritually. It had been a difficult week of training our boys, and anyone with multiple toddlers can tell you that the physical weariness of this intense stage can be exhausting.
I knew that some time in the Word would bring me more strength than another hour of sleep could. The Lord has been directing me to multiple passages in Psalms each day and because it was February 4th I turned to the fourth chapter. I recently bought a journaling Bible with large lined margins to take more detailed notes as I read and study and that morning the margin was filled with all that the Lord laid on my heart. Little did I know that He was feeding me in preparation for a heart wrenching weekend.
3b The LORD will hear when I call unto him.
4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makes me dwell in safety.
PRAISE GOD that he hears us when we call upon Him! What a promise. It’s a truth that we must speak to ourselves.
- We must stand in awe of God and who He is. (Vs. 4) Did you know that He is more powerful than any trial you’re facing now? Of course we know that. In our brains. But in our hearts? Are we truly in AWE of God? Of who He is? The same God that delivered the Israelites time and time again…the same God who called Moses and enabled him…the same God that created YOU…is with you right now.
- We must be still and meditate. (vs.4) This is so much easier said than done. When I feel that my heart is not at peace, being still is the last thing my flesh wants to do. I want to fix it. I want to talk about it. I want to figure out how to make things right so that I don’t have to stress anymore. After all, it’s up to me to fix it right? Of course, NO! And we know that. But to truly have peace we need to stop DOING and just be still with the Lord. I get so caught up in the physical meeting of needs that I forget to pause and hear from the One who sees all.
- We must do right no matter what. (Vs. 5) I will be honest, when emotions are flying high, it’s easy for me to respond…no…react in the flesh. When I’m tired. When I’m weary. When I’m stressed. But we need to have faith in God by doing what is right no matter what our emotions are telling us. And how do we know what is right? By going to God’s Word.
- We must trust in the Lord. (Vs. 5) Back to what I said about trying to fix things on my own. My trust in the Lord is seen by what I DO. What’s my first response to the situation? Sometimes whatever situation we are in seems completely out of our control and it can be maddening. Especially when you have in your mind that you know the right answer. If THIS or THAT would just happen…everything could be made right. But the fact is, we know far less than we give ourselves credit for.
- We must ask for his mercy. (Vs 6) Go to Him. As our Father, He wants to hear from us. He wants to hear our hearts. Yes, He knows it already. The Psalmist asks the Lord to “lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.” Look down upon me, Lord. Be near to me.
- We must acknowledge His goodness in all things. (Vs. 7) He is capable of making us glad even when we are in distress. Verse 1 in the chapter says, “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.” Clearly the Psalmist was in distress. But he also says, “Thou hast put gladness in my heart.” God can bring us joy in spite of our distress.
- We must rest in Him alone. (Vs. 8) I think it’s interesting how the Psalmist describes his peace by talking about sleep. We can all relate to losing sleep over our distress. It is possible with the Lord to have peace in our hearts that ONLY He can give.
Friday evening it seemed that our world turned upside down with the news of my father-in-law’s passing into eternity. Ben went through obstacle after obstacle in order to return home from Texas as fast as he could. Peace seemed to be out of reach. But the Lord called to mind that it’s possible to have peace in the midst of a storm. We miss Dad with an aching that can’t be described. But we are thankful for the peace that God brings.
Serving the Lord in the country of Thailand, Alyssa is the wife of missionary Benjamin Hall and mom to five young kids. Each day seems to bring new adventures as she studies the Thai language, homeschools, and ministers to the many little hands that reach for hers. Of course, music is almost always part of the day, whether by listening, singing, or playing and it now echoes through the voices of little ones. Read Alyssa’s salvation testimony here.