Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Strength to Go On...

"16 Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers? 17 Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. 18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. 19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." -- Psalm 94:16-19
How do you find peace when all of life seems a raging torrent, constantly trying to drag you under it's waves, to its murky depths? How do you find strength when the waters of life surround you and it seems as if you're about to suffocate, unable to get even the tiniest breath of air to ease the burning fire in your lungs?

In less than a week it will be exactly 18 months since we lost our dear Amanda. The pain remains all these months later, a gaping hole in our heart that aches all the time. It's no longer as visible as it was when the wound was fresh, but still quite often something pricks the scab and opens the wound and the pain seems just as sharp as it did a year and a half ago.

Amanda's murderer is set to go to trial next month and it seems like it may really go through this time. We still don't have firm dates, but it appears his lawyers may have delayed as often as is possible. The prospect of sitting and listening to the details of all that transpired that night conjures up visions that tie our stomachs in knots, but there's an even more painful worry that's always nagging too.

As unlikely as it is given what we know about what happened that night, the prospect of the killer going free, or getting a light sentence hangs over us like a fog over a warm lake on a cool morning. The thought that such a crime could occur, that ended the all-too-short life of our young daughter, and her murderer walk the street again in the very near future haunts us constantly.

On top of that, new troubles seem to assail us more often than ever before. From the air conditioning going out in the middle of a stifling heat wave, to troubles in the family that caught us unprepared, it seems Satan is doing his level best to drive us to our knees.

Every day thoughts of these difficulties make their way to the forefront of my mind, but every day I am blessed with the strength to keep moving forward and a peace that allows me to run right through them.
"Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?" -- Psalm 94:16
That strength and that peace come from knowing we don't have to fight these battles alone. Beside us stands One who is all powerful, capable of defeating any foe, of driving back any offensive, regardless the size of the army that charges. Who will rise up against Satan for us? With us?

Jesus will.
"Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord." -- Romans 12:19
The Lord will repay evil. He will stand for us against the one who murdered our beautiful daughter, and He will stand for us against Satan who sometimes seems relentless in his attacks.
"Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. -- Psalm 94:17
The simple fact is without Jesus, we would have folded long ago. Without Him there would be no hope of meeting Amanda again when our time comes. There would be no peace of knowing we will be spared the burning lake of fire Satan seeks to doom us to. In short, there would be nothing to be strong for if it weren't for Jesus and His grace and mercy. He suffered, died, and rose from the grave so that we might have eternal life.

Without Jesus, we would have given up long ago. We would have stopped and let grief and pain and death overtake us.
"When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me." -- Psalm 94:18
That peace and hope He gives us is always there. When the waves crash over us, we call on the Lord. And every time it seems the pain is becoming too much to bear, every time we are being crushed by the throng of evil on every side, Jesus reminds us of His promise and what lies ahead.

He props us up when we are about to fall. He lends His shoulder for us to lean on when we stumble. He even catches us whenever we find ourselves crashing toward the ground. When the forces of evil become too powerful and threaten to trample us into dust, Jesus supports us, sometimes carries us through the storm.
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." -- Psalm 94:19
The times when our weakness allows the pressures of this life to get to us, the times we become so overwhelmed we forget to call on Jesus, the times we try to tough it out on our own, the times we try to repel the assault using only our strength and wits, even then Jesus comes through.

In those times when we finally realize we're outmatched, that Satan is more powerful than our mortal strength can overcome, Jesus again steps in and saves the day. At the instant we feel we're about to be overrun by the forces of the Evil One, when the panic sets in, Jesus steps in and reminds us He is here.

And then, after He reminds us and we call on him, all the forces of Hell cannot steal the peace and joy that settles over us. The knowledge of what awaits when our time on Earth here is done gives us a calm, quiets any storm.

That's how we keep going, through anything. The peace that comes from knowing Jesus, from knowing what awaits when our time here is done, gives us the strength to keep going until He calls us home.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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