By Mary Southerland −
So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever (II Corinthians 4:18).
Friend to Friend
In an effort to escape the brutal summer heat of South Florida, our family headed to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. We splashed in the icy mountain streams until our hands and feet were almost numb from the cold and spent as much time outside as we possibly could; trying to soak up the cool, crisp mountain air. The Blue Ridge Parkway was one of our favorite spots for hiking, so we planned a day trip that included exploring a few hiking trails, a picnic and a visit to the beautiful and historic colonial home of Carl Sandburg.
We woke to discover the beautiful weather of the day before had dissolved into a soupy mix of drizzle and fog. But we were not about to let a little fog and rain deter us from our original plan. We had been vacationing in North Carolina for years and knew that fog is a common occurrence – even in the summer. We piled into our van and made our way up the mountain.
The closer we got to the Sandburg home, the heavier the fog became. In fact, when we arrived, the fog was so thick that we could barely see the walkway that led to the gift shop where we needed to purchase tickets for the tour of the home and grounds. We decided that we would have to come back another day for the tour, but since we were already at the gift shop, it wouldn’t hurt to do a little browsing.
The shop owner greeted us warmly and asked if we would like to purchase tickets for the guided tour that was scheduled to leave in an hour. Always the diplomat, I responded, “Are you kidding me? Have you looked outside?” The owner smiled and said, “Oh, you mean the fog? It will be gone in a little while. Now – how many tickets do you need?” I don’t like pushy salesmen, even when they are sweet and kind – and maybe a little near-sighted. “I think we will just wait and see if the fog actually lifts,” I responded, convinced that the thick fog would last all day, and resumed my browsing.
I lost track of time and was surprised to hear the owner announce, “The tour is leaving in 15 minutes. This is our final call for tickets.” I walked out of the gift shop to discover that the fog really was lifting and the skies were actually beginning to clear. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Within minutes, the sun was shining – as if the fog had never existed.
It sometimes feels as if the fog of doubt and fear of darkness will never lift from our lives. The promises of God seem to get swallowed up by the problems we face. We want to curse our crisis – not praise God in the midst of that crisis. The hurt and pain overwhelm our faith and we lose sight of the fact that this world is not our home and the troubles we face are only temporary. Lift up your eyes, Girlfriend. Fix your heart and mind on God – He is with you.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV).
Lord, I need Your help. I am tired of trying to face my problems in my own strength. Please help me keep my gaze on You and my glance on my circumstances. Help me remember that Your strength and power are more than enough to face anything that comes my way. And when I am afraid, teach me how to put my trust in You alone.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Isaiah 51:6. “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.”
What does this verse say about the importance of earthly possessions and values in comparison to the joys waiting for us in Heaven?
What fears are you facing today? What step(s) do you need to take in order to find victory over those fears?
Read and memorize the following verses. When you are afraid, pray and speak these verses aloud.
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (NIV).
Psalm 63:7-8 “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me” (NIV).
Isaiah 42:16 “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (NIV).
More from the Girlfriends
The “Fear Factor” is not just a television show. Fear is a faithful companion in a world filled with broken people, many who live at the mercy of their fears. Need help? Check out my downloadable Bible Study, Getting a Grip on Fear that uncovers God’s plan for peace and identifies five ways to deal with and be free from fear.
Looking for a Bible Study to start the New Year? Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. Don’t miss the new study, How to Tame the Tongue, beginning January 20, 2014.
Do you want to revolutionize your prayer life? Check out Chair Time, a new E-Book written by Mary’s husband, Dan. It not only will teach you how to hear from God – it will change your life! And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
Click here to find out more about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106