Written by Jan Jalowiec
In preparation to become full-time missionaries, we traveled to hundreds of churches, presenting our call and burden for Zambia. Driving thousands of miles naturally leaves opportunities for problems, and we had what felt like more than our fair share.
With each breakdown, failed transmission, broken water pump, or flat tire, angst would form in the pit of my stomach. Thinking about the time, money, and sheer inconvenience of it all wreaked havoc with my emotions. And truth be told, even my faith. Here we were pursuing God’s call on our lives, and He still saw fit to allow trial after trial…
Once when we were driving our Ford Excursion towing a 30’ camper (easily 12,000 collective pounds), we were coming down a slight hill just about to enter the highway and lost our brakes and steering. At the same time. Seriously?!
I had a very physical ache in my stomach as we were narrowly able to pull to the side of the road and call for help. In my spirit, I cried out to God. My eyes flooded with tears and I prayed a desperate prayer: “God, I KNOW in two days’ time I will feel absolutely fine about this situation. I KNOW you have a way forward, and I KNOW you are gentle and don’t needlessly allow pain. PLEASE HELP ME IN THIS MOMENT of trial to feel how I will in two days’ time!”
I think deputation was more faith-raising than fund-raising.
In answer to my desperate prayer, the Lord led me to Psalms. Many of them fit together, weaving a tapestry of life: songs of trial and faith, stanzas of Israel’s struggles paralleled to those of the author, the lows of trauma compared to the highs of faith-filled living.
The marvelous and awful truth is that there is never a promise the hard things of life will be eliminated because of our faith in God. *Sigh*
But in Psalm 121, we are comforted with the truth that God is our help and sure footing. He never sleeps. He protects us from the scorching elements of this world and will protect us from all evil. What comfort!
Psalm 124 recounts the ultimate protection of the Lord. Without Him, surely we would be attacked, drowned, overwhelmed, or eaten as prey. He is the ultimate guard!
I especially love the reminders in Psalm 127:1-2 “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it…It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”
Here we are told the real, physical consequences of self-reliance in “house building”: worry, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
As I still inhabit this world in my flesh, I have moments of angst, but they are much shorter-lived! As I steep my mind in the truth of God’s Word – especially the Psalms – I am calmed in trials and reminded that because God is who He says He is, things will all work out, even when situations are hard or scary.