Friday, 14 September 2012

Terrible Times

The last twenty days or so have been terrible for me.

Health scare.

I do know that a number of my readers have had, and some still have, serious illnesses and even painful ones. And I do know people with such illnesses. I've always admired and respected those people who bear their illnesses with dignity, fortitude and great Faith.

I'm writing this post in the hope that it might help someone in similar circumstances or in cases of great difficulty.

Whilst others can accept whatever God allows to happen to them, I find that at the first sign of difficulty I am like St Peter sinking in the sea, taking away his focus from Christ, and pleading for His helping hand.

Immediately human emotions come to the fore - disbelief, anger, confusion and so on.

"Is this really happening? Why is God doing this to me? What is to happen next? What if ... tomorrow ... never comes?"

Such emotions shut away our channel with God and leaves the field open for the devil to play havoc with our mind.

"Aha ... your God has abandonned you I see. That is if He exists at all!"

I suppose it is natural that our Faith is challenged at difficult times. A priest friend of my brother's once said when we are in such difficult circumstances we do not actually lose our Faith as such but it is challenged. Our human emotions may panic at first, which is natural; but the fact that we pray, however weakly, or the fact that we ask others to pray for us, is in itself proof that we still believe in an Almighty loving Deity ready to help us.

And the fact that the devil tempts us into believing that God does not exist is in itself proof of His existence; otherwise the devil would not have bothered with such confusing thoughts in our minds.

The instinctive response, according to Merlin Carothers (click here to learn more) is to Praise God in all difficult circumstances. We're not Praising Him because of the circumstances, but because He is still in control of events and that they are according to His will. And if we trust Him enough He will turn every circumstance to the good.

I discussed Faith with my brothers and sister, whom I consider to have greater Faith than me.

I was told that Faith is to believe that God is actually in charge and to dare to lose control to Him.

When I told a brother he had greater Faith than me, he replied that this was not the case, but that in his life he has met with many great difficulties (which I know full well); and every time God was there and has saved him from many terrible situations. So his Faith is based on fact.

I have been greatly helped by my brothers and sister in these difficult times and am very grateful for their prayers and those of my family.

I'm also grateful for the prayers of Father Francis Maple and those of my readers here and my friends.

Let me relate something which happened recently that helped me no end. A friend e-mailed me unexpectedly and said that she'd been thinking continuously about my recently deceased mother. She felt as if my mother was "nudging" her to pray for me; so she obeyed the "nudge" and prayed for me. Am I all right? she asked me.

This was before this friend (a reader of this Blog) had been told of my health scare. I have never met this person in "real life" nor does she know me or my family; but that e-mail shook my disbelief and sinking Faith into focus once again. Thank you friend.

You see, when we ask God for more Faith, He doesn't wave a magic wand and gives us more Faith; but He allows circumstances to happen where our Faith grows and where we have the opportunity to trust Him. To dare to lose control and to say "Thy will be done" and mean it.

A book which helped me a lot is "I am with you" by Father John Woolley. (Click here to learn more). 

The book contains a series of "treasured words of divine inspiration as given to Father John in prayer". Each page contains a short passage and it is amazing how often when you open the book at random you read God speaking to you there and then.

Here's what I read in the depth of my despair:

My child, the refusal of anxiety, now that you are firmly in My hands ... You give anxiety the soil in which to grow whenever you look away from Me, and survey the situation from a very human and limited viewpoint.

Prolonged and futile anxiety creates the climate for many other temptations, of which you are only too aware. When evil tries to implant anxious thoughts, stand upon Me and refuse them. Turn anxieties into opportunities.

Engross yourself with others' needs from the right motive (the motive of love), ensuring that less of your mind's energy is being poured into self and its needs - real or imagined.

Can you literally feel yourself thinking and acting in new ways ... refusing all that is not of calm and patience? Because you have been rescued from the power of darkness, you can simply let Me rob all anxieties of their power.

Consider the lilies of the field! (Matthew 6:28)


Thank you for your prayers. God bless.

38 comments:

  1. Victor,

    I'm so sorry you've been ill. I hope you're health is improving, now.

    I relate to what you're saying here - but, from different circumstances.

    Keeping you in my prayers.

    God bless:-)

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  2. Vicky, I pray for you all the time.

    Thank you for your prayers.

    God bless.

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  3. Victor, There's so much in this post...wisdom that only comes in that challenge with the unknown. As one who loves the Lord, but struggles to find Him in the darkness of my own anxieties and struggles, you have my prayers.

    God bless You +

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    1. Thank you Caroline for your prayers. It is natural that sometimes our anxieties cause us confusion and fear. We fear the future because we have not been there. But God has seen the future, and He will make it safe for us if we trust Him.

      Praying for you.

      God bless.

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  4. "You give anxiety the soil in which to grow whenever you look away from Me..." Wow. Wow and "ouch." I will join in the prayer for you.

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    1. Thank you Nancy for your much needed prayers.

      I really recommend Father Woolley's book.

      I'm praying for you too.

      God bless.

      Delete
  5. Very sorry to learn of your health scare; I will include you in my prayers. I will also try to put into effect those wise words about anxiety.

    God bless.
    Dorothy B

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    1. I'm very grateful for your prayers Dorothy. Thank you.

      I suspect anxiety is the devil's playground.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  6. Yes indeed anxiety can get us away from our focus on Jesus so letting Him 'take over' will give us a fresh start, yes easier said than done I know! Thanks for an inspirational post.
    Sorry to hear of your health scare, we've had our share too and I will be keeping you in my prayers Victor, take care.
    Blessings,
    Doreen

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Doreen for your prayers. Praying for you and yours too.

      God bless.

      Delete
  7. Sorry to hear of your health scare....
    Life sure can have its frightening moments.
    You are in my prayers.

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    1. It was, and still is, very frightening Sinder.

      Thank you so much for your prayers. I hope you are getting better. Praying for you.

      God bless you.

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  8. Victor, God bless you! I'm so very sorry to hear that you have beeen ill. I do hope you are feeling better now. I think you were right on when you said that anxiety is the devil's playground. We can slip into it without even realizing it...he is so sneaky.

    One thing that helps me in times of difficulty is to borrow Job's words, and to repeat them with my own shaking little voice: "Even if He should kill me, I will still trust in Him."

    All the best to you, Victor. You are in my prayers.

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    1. Thank you so much for your visit Patricia and for your prayers. I hope you are keeping well.

      God bless.

      Delete
  9. As long as you are still able to write, I 'll consider you healthy

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    1. Thank you for that TJ. I'l try as best I can.

      God bless you.

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  10. You are in my prayers.

    We cannot see God and live. So our experiences and perceptions of God are always after the fact. It could be a second or a minute or a year later when we realize God was with us at that moment. That is why it is always good to look back to see where we have experienced God and then to share those stories so others look back too.

    Just because we have faith, does not mean we still dont hurt. Or feel anxious. When my hubby was ill, I was scared to death. I could hardly bare to leave him even for a minute. But I also knew God was with me and would carry me through.

    Great article!

    God bless!

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    1. Thank you Colleen for your prayers and your helpful words. I understand what you're saying.

      I pray and hope your husband and you are doing well.

      God bless you and your family.

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  11. Victor,

    As always, you are in my prayers.

    When I go through tough times I usually try and find perspective. (Easier written than done, of course) I think about what Jesus went through and wonder if my pain is even 1% of His. I think about those that are homeless or being tortured for their faith and I wonder if they would gladly trade places with me.

    God never promised us paradise here ... just that He would never leave us. I truly believe times of hardship lead to greater faith.

    I also remind myself that we have no clue when it comes to God's plan. Maybe our current sufferings lead to less down the road... or a shorter journey to Heaven. And that is where complete trust in God comes in.

    I know these comments wont ease your pain, but hopefully you take some solace that your blogging friends are here for you. And praying.

    God Bless.

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    1. Thank you Michael for your encouraging comments; and thank you too for your much needed prayers. My Blogging friends are very dear to me and are always in my prayers.

      God bless.

      Delete
  12. Hi Victor,
    This was a beautiful post and it really touched my heart. Illness can be overwhelming (as I well know) but many blessings come out of it too. I'm glad you have such strong support from your family members - this is so important to have. They sound wonderful.

    Wow on the book you mentioned! That will be on my wish list!

    God bless mothers, huh? Even on the other side they watch over their children.

    Still praying, my friend. May God hold you close.

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    1. Yes Mary, I have a strong Catholic family and often rely on their prayers and practical help.

      Thank you too Mary for your prayers and your loyal support. You're right what you say about Mothers.

      I can really recommend Father John Woolley's book. Today, in church I found in the library copies of the mini-versions.

      God bless you Mary.

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  13. Victor, I'll pray for your health to improve. Anxiety is understandable in these situations - we like to know what to expect. But to exercise our faith we need to do just what you wrote about here: stay focused on Jesus. I think He sometimes allows us to be shaken so we practice surrendering to Him - Thy will be done, and move our own self-will out of the way. For sure it's a lesson I'll be learning until I die. May God give us both a "pass" and not a "fail".

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    1. Too true Barbara. We need to surrender our self-will; something which I find very difficult as I've always been in control of my life; or tried to.

      Let's pray for a "pass" for both of us as well as our families and friends.

      God bless.

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  14. Jesus, I trust in you. Jesus, I trust in you. i say it in times of stress and doubt over and over and over until i finally believe it.
    I will add you to my prayer list tonight.

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers Annmarie.

      I guess God is teaching me to trust Him more.

      God bless.

      Delete
  15. Will be remembering you in our daily prayers. What a great post! Thank you for recommending the "I am with you" book. Praying for you! So glad you have such good family support!

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    1. Thank you for your prayers Monica. Much appreciated.

      "I am with you" is such a comforting book.

      God bless you and yours always.

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  16. Victor,

    Try to read the Bible during times of anxiety and doubt. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you before you start. You will find a verse or a line which will 'speak' to you. Memorize that verse and meditate on it. The mind is a battlefield and Scripture can help you rein it in to the Lord.

    There is nothing more powerful than God own promises in fighting off the devil and his attacks.

    You will find your peace and calm in the storm.

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  17. You're so right Remedia. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write in. Much appreciated.

    God bless you always.

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  18. Dear Victor,
    I do hope you're well and it really was a health "scare" and nothing more. I feel you're a person who brings so much light and life to people on here: you must be a wonderful friend in "real life"!
    Know that you're in so many prayers, including mine: The Man Upstairs must be thinking "Who is this guy??" !
    God bless you and keep you safe,
    Gigi x

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  19. Thank you so much for your kindness and concern Gigi. I'm very grateful for yours and others much needed prayers. The doctors are keeping me under observation ... in case I loose my sense of humour!

    God bless you.

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  20. Hello Victor.

    A week has passed since you wrote this and I hope that you have found some peace and resolution in your situation. We have had our share of health issues in my family as well. What can I say? The Psalms have been a great comfort to me personally and of course sinking deep into Him is really the best things we can do in trials.

    I recently pondered on Psalm 28:7 and the New Jerusalem Bible translation is this "Yahweh is my strength and my shield, in him my heart trusts. I have been helped; my body has recovered its vigour, with all my heart I thank him". I hope this gives you some consolation....when we are at the end of our strength, we can draw from His.

    Thanks for the comment you left on my blog and the generous offer...I will certainly take you up on it (when I think I have something worthy to offer).

    Praying for you Victor... God bless you and yours!

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  21. Thank you Lisa Maria for taking the time to write and for your comforting words. I really appreciate your praying for me.

    God bless you and your family.

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  22. "but the fact that we pray, however weakly, or the fact that we ask others to pray for us, is in itself proof that we still believe in an Almighty loving Deity ready to help us."

    Victor, this encourages me so much. Your entire post is so inspiring. Yes, this is happening to me. I have been praying for more faith, and this is how God is answering me, by creating situations where I must daily choose to trust Him and surrender control to Him. As if I had any control to begin with!

    I pray you are in much better health now.

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    1. Thank you Sarah for your prayers. Yes, God creates or allows situations to happen where we can trust Him more and so increase our Faith.

      I fail so often.

      God bless you. I am praying for you and yours.

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  23. Victor,
    I am praying for God to guide me in prayer for you.

    Peace Be With You Victor,
    Gentle

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    1. Thank you so much for praying for me Gentz and thank you for taking the trouble to visit me and commenting.

      God bless you. Praying for you and yours.

      Delete

I PRAY FOR ALL WHO COMMENT HERE.

God bless you.

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