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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saved!


By Susanne Dietze

Some became fools through their rebellious ways
 And suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
They loathed all food
And drew near the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
And he saved them from their distress.
He sent forth his word and healed them;
He rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
And his wonderful deeds for men.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings
And tell of his works with songs of joy. Psalm 107:17-22

Have you ever wanted to shout for joy because God saved you?

Saved...not just from sin (which is truly something to celebrate) but other things, too. Saved from a particular trial or trouble that comes along in life. Distress. Danger or fear. Something from which, without God, there would be no way we could be redeemed or restored.

I had just such an experience. Our family summer did not start out fancy-free, indulging in the pleasures of slurping popsicles and sleeping in late. In mid-June, I learned that a member of my immediate family was possibly facing a major illness, and after a series of tests, we waited for two weeks before we could get definitive answers from a specialist.

Our story ends well, with a clean bill of health and tears of relief, but I confess: those two weeks were a test to my faith. Despite my head knowledge that God is able, mighty, loving, and good, I did not cling to what I knew about Him or rest in His arms. While I spent a lot of time praying (for healing, of course, but also for grace and acceptance), I also froze, figuratively and literally. I experienced chills and had gooseflesh on my arms. I could not eat: once I tried for over half an hour to get a bowl of cereal down. I kept my kids busy, but all the while my mind went over the “what if’s” of the diagnosis the doctor described in terms of a coin toss: 50/50, maybe yes, maybe no.

While it’s normal (and essential) for us to want to protect and preserve our loved ones, I did not do well in trusting God to care for my family no matter what happened.

During my Bible reading, I came across Psalm 107, and I recognized myself in the verses: “loathed all food…cried to the Lord in their trouble…” Even the part about being foolish, because I knew that part of me was choosing panic over faith, control over trust. I invited fear to reign in my heart, which is foolishness indeed, considering how often God has shown me that His love for me and my family is real, powerful, and eternal.

And then, in a moment, regardless of whether or not I deserved it, He saved me from my distress.

So I’m fulfilling what I read in the rest of the passage.  Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy. I’m telling the world with joy that God did something big in my family…and also in my heart. He restored my loved one, but He also swept some junk out of my spiritual closet in the process. And He reminded me that He is with me, no matter what I do or think or feel.

Life is full of challenging moments, loss and pain, and this will not be the last time I am faced with the choice of fear or faith. But God was faithful even when I was faithless, and He deserves my praise no matter what the outcome of our problem was, or what will happen tomorrow.

I hope this is one lesson I don’t forget, but recall with joy. I think I’ll make a list of all the victories God has accomplished in my life, times when I knew He acted and showed me His powerful love. Then, when my faith is challenged again (and I know it will be), I can return to my list of his deeds and unfailing love, and declare to myself and anyone else who cares to listen that He is active and present in the lives of His children.

Do you take time to recall all of the things God has done for you? What is something you’ve seen today that is evidence of God being active in your life?

"Praying Hands" by Albrecht  Durer and sunrise photos courtesy of www.wikipedia.com.

Susanne Dietze has written love stories set in the nineteenth century since she was in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and spending time with family and friends. Her work has finaled in the 2010 Genesis Contest, the 2009 Gotcha! Contest, and the Touched By Love Contest, 2008 and 2009. You can visit her on her personal blog, Tea and a Good Book, http://www.susannedietze.blogspot.com/.

16 comments:

  1. Susanne--

    I was going to say how wonderful a devotion that is, but this is one of those posts that transcends good writing. What a testimony to God's grace, power and love!

    Praising Him with you!

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  2. Good morning, Barb. Thanks for praising God with me! He deserves my praise no matter the outcome of that particular difficulty, but I am so thankful that we were spared.

    God is able and loving, isn't He? And totally trustworthy. Why I have such a hard time with living that out, I don't know. Sigh.

    Blessed Sunday, Barb.

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  3. Blogger ate my first post.

    Susie, this is a lovely and I'm so blessed by it today. Thank you sharing this wonderful testimony, and I'm praising God right along with you for the good outcome. I've seen these kinds of blessings in my own life and I'm so thankful our Lord loves and cares for us the way He does.

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  4. Oh Susie, I will dwell on your words as I travel east today. Thank you for the uplifting devotional.

    Anita.

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  5. I agree with Barb. Very anointed post. Not eating reminded me of first day being caught in a war. Those intense times make for great testimonies.

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  6. Wonderful post!

    You know, I really do thank God for what He's done and what He's doing in my life now, because it's all I can really comprehend.

    Yes, He's saved me from hell. I don't really know what that means. Is it a terrible, awful place I don't want to go to? Absolutely. But can I really fathom how terrible? How awful?

    How permanent?

    To me, it's a scary question. I'm glad He shows me day to day that he can take care of me -- now and later.

    Thanks, Susanne, for the lovely reminder.

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  7. Suzie, I've had a few internet issues lately--blogger comments and emails disappearing or failing to get sent. I could get all philosophical about where they go and why, but I'll just pretend they're happy in a magical land with the lone socks that were lost in my dryer.

    When we go through trials, it can be so difficult to trust that God is powerful and loves us. He hears our prayers. Doesn't mean He always answers them the way we want, but He is listening. I hope I remember this next time I go through a tough spot.

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  8. I'm praying for you as you travel, Anita Mae! And I hope that you see plenty of evidence of God's love for you along the way--friendly faces, lovely scenery, and peace.

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  9. Dina, your testimony of God's provision and protection is so powerful. If we ever repeat posts on the Inkwell, that should go up again.

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  10. DeAnna, excellent point about hell. I think our salvation from hell is one of those concepts a lot of Christians don't talk about much. It sometimes gets brushed off as "fire and brimstone" preaching, or something uncomfortable and unpleasant to discuss or dwell on. I don't know exactly what heaven or hell will be like, but I know I'd rather be with Jesus than without Him.

    What a huge praise, joy, and blessing that we get to be with Him forever, permanently, in peace and safety and love, seeing His face...I get goosebumps thinking about it.

    Thanks for the reminder that He has promised to take care of us, now and forever. Even when we don't yet know what Forever looks like.

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  11. I'm in one of those challenging places right now as my little granddaughter takes two steps forward and one step back. It's bigger even than one little baby's life; a spiritual battleground with eternal results. What will come of this when we look back on these difficult days?

    I thank God for His unbelievable love and mercy and the gift of Salvation. And for the sweet fellowship of praying friends all around me. A beautiful reminder today Susie!! I am so thankful for His answer to prayers in your family.

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  12. Oh Deb, thank you for sharing those praises. You and your family are enduring such a difficult time, and I agree that it's a spiritual battleground. Your eternal perspective is to be commended, although I know sometimes it's a difficult thing to cling to. God will prevail, but oh, how I do pray that your tiny granddaughter's struggle ends in victory soon. She is so precious, and she (and her parents) remain in my prayers.

    Praying for you now.

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  13. This is so lovely, Susie. I want to wrap myself up in it and live every word, but I'm having a tough time today. There I was, standing in church this morning, trying to sing praises to God, and all I wanted to do was cry. My personal struggle right now is similar to where yours was before the good report: a dear family member fighting an illness, and the next step in treatment looks pretty severe. You'd think I'd find comfort and solace at church, but I realized I felt more alone there than anywhere else. Not sure who that says more about, me or the people around me.

    Anyway, God has certainly done wonderful, miraculous things in my life. And I'm going to praise him no matter what happens in the future. But I really, really hope he's got another miracle headed our way!

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  14. Oh Jen, I am so sorry for what you're going through. I'm praying for a miraculous blessing for your family right now. What a weight you've been carrying on your shoulders.

    I understand what you mean about feeling alone. I could totally relate. Sometimes I perceive that others don't want to hear about my struggles (and I have a few experiences that would back that up), but I also know that others will pray for me. Still, it feels awful.

    This experience reminded me (yet again) that faith is not a feeling. I did not feel heard by God, comforted, hopeful, or enveloped in love during my trial. But my feelings failed me and I was wrong on all counts. Even if the news had turned out to be bad, God heard me, loved me, surrounded me, and there was reason to hope. I want you to know that you are loved and cherished, as is your loved one. Meeting you was such a joy and even though I am not by you in person, I want to walk beside you through this. And I'm praying.

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  15. Oh yes, Susie! In fact, after all the changes and strangeness we've been through in the last few months, I found myself at church this week thinking about how grateful I am just to be counted as a member of His body, by His blood. Simple, simple, simple... Why can't I remember that?

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  16. Niki, what a profound concept: we are members of His body. Amazing. Yet I do tend to forget all of the amazing truths about God. We'll just have to keep reminding each other. :)

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