Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hand it Over!

My husband had intestinal surgery yesterday  (He's fine; thank you for asking). But here's the thing.  From the time he told me the scheduled date until the minute I talked to his doctor after surgery, I had this feeling--an irrational fear-- that he was going to die in surgery.  He didn't, of course,  thank God.  

I knew it was a ridiculous thought and also knew where it came from-the pit of hell.  I've had minor surgery myself, and I've had loved ones who have undergone major surgery-much more intense and serious than Brian's intestinal surgery, and never once did I ever have that thought. I had to wonder why I felt that in the back of my mind. It wasn't like I dwelled on it.  Just every now and then, it would surface to the forefront of my mind.

It was fear.  I was afraid that he would die. And if he died, I would be alone.  How would I get by? How would I live?

I had my "Princess Warriors" (my bible study group---that's what we named ourselves) pray for him.  I asked friends to pray.  He was on the prayer list at church.  Facebook friends prayed.  Family members prayed.  I even met a wonderful woman of God in the waiting room and we prayed for one another and our loved ones while they were in surgery. He was definitely covered in prayer---if prayer was snow, we had a blizzard!  I think I only told one person about my fear.  Because I was so embarrassed to admit that I had this fear.  And I didn't want the enemy to gain any more ground by admitting my fear...which made me fear even more!  

I tried to hide it.  I tried not to give in to the anxiety and the fear that kept creeping in...then creeping out when I said, "NO!  I already have the victory!  Because of the blood of Jesus, we are protected and healed.  I will not accept this!" It's like Black Bear, Private Eye was sneaking into my mind! (see earlier blog for Black Bear, P.I. explanation)

It's crazy how one thought of fear can turn into turmoil and chaos in our minds. And crazy thinking, chaos and turmoil don't come from God.  I kept telling myself that he is in capable hands.  We prayed in the hospital for the surgical team.  Brian was at peace. So why wasn't I? Why did I have this niggling fear that I never had before?  Why couldn't I truly and completely trust God with my husband's life?

I was pondering that thought, ready to go to bed and "sleep on it."  Maybe God would give me the answer in a dream, or in the morning.  

Then, God gave me a picture of a bandit (yes, a bandit, not a robber--an old fashioned bandit) robbing a woman travelling alone and saying, "Hand it over!"  The accosted hands over her life savings, all that is meaningful and of worth.  Jewels.  Gold coins.  Family heirlooms.  It's all there in a velvet pouch.  And unless that woman wants to die, she hands it over.  Loses everything that is important to her, but keeps her life. Those things can be replaced.  Still, everything she had was in that pouch.  How will she get by?  She has no money, no place to live, nothing tangible to remember her parents, her grandparents.  What will she do?  She feels alone.
  
Then, I got another picture.  A parent-a loving parent, catching her child stealing. Stealing candy from the candy drawer before dinner.  The child has candy in her mouth, and plenty more in her hands, which she holds behind her back, as if that is a perfectly natural position.  She is trying to hide the facts, but there is no hiding.  She is caught, "red-handed."  

"Hand it over,"  Mom says, as she holds out her hand and tries not to grin. It's not that it's funny. It's more that Mom is humored by her child's determination not to admit her crime when it's so obvious.  The child tries to act as if she doesn't have anything, but knows that eventually, Mom will win.

God showed me that I am that bandit's victim and I am that child.  The difference is that the bandit is satan...the thief who comes only to steal, and kill and destroy (John 10:10), and "Mom" is my loving Abba-my Heavenly Father, who longs to gather me and give me peace and comfort (He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart-Isaiah 40:12).  Mom says "Hand it over" for the child's own good-to teach the child self-restraint, obedience and trust.  Satan demands that we "hand it over" when he sees us travelling alone because that's when we are most vulnerable.  When we try to travel the path alone.  When the fear creeps in.  When we are afraid to admit that we are afraid!  That's when he hits us.  We know it's unreasonable, the crazy thought we are thinking, but we can't seem to get the thought out of our head! Even after we say all the right verses and do all the right things.  And we certainly can't tell anyone this.  So we isolate.  We may not physically isolate, but we keep our secret and allow it to fester. We put on our church face, and say, "Praise God, I'm great, thanks.  How are you?"

God wants to teach us to trust Him.  To "hand it over" to him.  It's for our own good.  And if we give him the "candy" that we thought we wanted---the empty calories that will only satisfy our immediate appetite, but leave us hungry for more---He will give us a seat at the banquet table.  We will be safe, still and comforted in our Father's love.  He has taken me to the banquet hall and His banner over me is love (Song of Solomon 2:2). If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land, but if resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. (Isaiah 1:19-20). Go to God---eat.  Give in to satan---be eaten.

Don't travel alone.  Take Jesus with you.  Better yet, follow Him where He goes.  Rest in Him. Draw your comfort from Him.  Hand it over--your fear, your doubt, your insecurity, your guilt, your shame, your secret.  Declare your victory in the Name of Jesus! And reach out to someone you trust.  Don't let the enemy make you feel like you're crazy, or stupid or ridiculous.  Any time you have those thoughts, know where they are coming from.  Tell a trusted friend, someone who won't diminish what you're feeling, and ask them to pray.  If you need a trusted friend, email me.  I will pray and I won't laugh at you or diminish your emotions.  Whatever you tell me will remain confidential.  

Hand it over-to the loving and trusted hands of God.

Song of the Day:
Hand it Over (Keb 'mo')

You've GOTTA see this! These guys are a hoot!  And humor really diffuses fear!
5 Ways to Kill Fear (Skit Guys)

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary

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