A Matter of Trust

“We do what God puts in front of us to do and leave the rest in God’s hands.”  I have said this often, but did that statement come from a person who believed what she said?  Had you asked me that before COVID-19, I would have sincerely said yes!  Even though I had been in a personal ‘desert’ for a few years (I hadn’t turned my back on God exactly, more like hitting the pause button on spiritual matters), I thought I trusted God and thought I was in an okay place spiritually.  I was drifting along in my little world with my hubby, trying to handle life day-by-day and adjust to caring for my elderly handicapped mother, who now lived with us.  Little did I know that my ‘drifting’ had taken me back down a path to a stronghold I thought had been dealt with long ago.

When COVID-19 hit and the world went into a frenzy, I went with it.  I found myself practically paralyzed with such an irrational fear that I almost couldn’t breathe.  It was so consuming that my husband was concerned about my emotional well-being.  This was not a typical kind of fear like you’re afraid it would hurt if you burnt yourself on a hot stove.   And it wasn’t about the fact that I might die from COVID-19; after all, for a Christian to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8).  It was an all-consuming irrational fear.  I am a volunteer firefighter.  Our community is remote, and our department is small, so our volunteer firefighters are usually the first responders to medical calls and accidents as well as fires.  A certain amount of risk and dealing with death is part of this calling.  When the pandemic arrived and a call came in, of course, we were expected to respond; that is what we signed up for.  However, rather than being afraid of dying, I was terrorized by the thought of contracting this virus and bringing it to someone else and causing them to die!  My husband, my disabled mother or anyone.  This was not a reasonable level of concern that makes one act responsibly for one’s safety and the safety of those around them.  I’m talking about such an irrational level of fear that I could barely function, especially as a first responder.  The fact that I struggled on and off with some health issues during the same time kept me solidly locked into the idea that one of these ‘bouts’ of sickness I was experiencing was undoubtedly going to be a COVID-19 one, and I would surely infect someone!  I practically showered in sanitizer, used bleach everywhere (I was even washing my grocery packages with it… yuk!), showered numerous times a day, would hardly let hubby or mom near me even when I was feeling ok and hadn’t been anywhere for days.  I have no idea how many COVID-19 tests I’ve taken — all negative, of course.  Yikes!  I knew this level of fear was irrational, but I was helpless to do anything about it.  Needless to say, everyone in my house was a little stressed!

Why was this fear so consuming?  Because I’ve never really dealt with the root cause of my fear — trust.  Apart from my husband, I have trusted no one for most of my life, including God!   Growing up, I was never comfortable interacting with people. Distrust and fear were a part of my being.  In trying to cope with these issues, I became an alcoholic in my early teens.  A boozing lifestyle is certainly not filled with trust-building activities, and I matured into a fear-filled, self-reliant, hard-hearted individual who cared little for the world around me.  Sobering up at twenty-seven in a twelve-step recovery program started me dealing with many issues and introduced me to the concept of God.  However, trying to find a ‘god’ that worked for me included such things as vision quests, calling on spirits and worshiping the created rather than the Creator.  Again, they were not trust-building experiences but ones that left me on shaky ground.  So, with fear in control at that time, I withdrew from mainstream life to living on an acreage and taking care of my animals.  Hubby was going to work and fully involved, but not me. I was staying put. 

I became a Christian when I was forty-one, and the Lord quickly moved us off that acreage to a place where I found a great little country church.  Although in my early years as a Christian, I had several battles with spiritual warfare, with the help of the Lord and a few strong godly believers, the Lord gave me victory over many of those battles.  I didn’t seem to get much out of attending Bible studies, as most discussions were peoples’ opinions of what they thought passages meant, which was often different than what I thought I was reading.  I was introduced to Precept Bible studies when a friend took me to a small introduction session where I became hooked on their inductive Precept Bible study method.  So much so that I took a few training courses and began leading studies.  The first problem was I never considered asking God whether or not He wanted me leading anything.  I just decided I’d do so.  The second problem was I was doing everything from my head, from the technical aspects, and not allowing things to filter into my heart.  I would often skip portions of the core work and quickly scan through a study to find enough answers to lead.  I could do that because all I did in class was ask the questions “What did you get for question three?  For question four?” and so on.  Although I was learning some things and had a few studies on the go, I’m confident the participants were learning a lot more than I was.  Circumstances then came about, which caused us to move out of Alberta, and we ended up in Newfoundland.

We Christians have an enemy who knows how to use the weaknesses of our flesh against us when we let him.  The warning in 1 Peter 5:8 is quite clear “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  When we first arrived in Newfoundland, I wasn’t having much success getting Bible studies going.  We couldn’t find a suitable church to attend, so we didn’t have a body of believers to do life with.  Then, when I was very hurt in a conflict with one of the locals, I started to withdraw from life again.  I wasn’t on the alert, and I wasn’t keeping spiritually fit by seeking the Lord daily or being in the Word consistently.  No wonder I flew into such a frenzy when COVID-19 struck.  Discouragement, distrust, and fear — the devil knew my weaknesses.

However, God knows what we need when we need it, and my distrust and self-reliance were about to get a serious boot — or rather, sent to a serious spiritual boot camp, right here, at home! Out of sheer desperation in the middle of my frenzied muddle, I began seeking the Lord again, and He graciously led me back into His word through Precept Ministries Canada Online Bible Studies.  God has been speaking to me, growing me and setting me free ever since.  I started my new walk of freedom through the 40-Minute Bible study: Breaking Free from Fear and then Lord, Teach Me to Pray in 28 Days, followed by a variety of PUPs and “How To” workshops.  Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me To Stand was a huge part of understanding spiritual warfare, the devil’s tactics and how to put on and use our spiritual armour.  I am grateful to Precept’s staff and Bible study leaders for such a quick response in getting their studies and workshops online so quickly in such a bizarre time.  The fact that they usually offered these free of charge was a wonderful gift for me; being able to access so many studies over such a short time helped pull me out of drowning in some pretty deep water.

Slowing down while reading, marking, making lists, soaking in The Word and letting the Holy Spirit do His work continues to deepen an authentic and trusting relationship with God.  The day I realized just how much was changing for me was a couple of months into studying.  I responded to a medical emergency call.  Yes, I wore a mask and gloves and used hand sanitizer as required.  I arrived back home and was in the shower when it dawned on me that I was as calm on that call as I had been on calls before COVID-19.  No fear, no panic — just calm and doing what needed to be done.  The biggest smile and praise to God came over me — WOW, thank you, LORD!!  I could breathe again!  There is no other explanation for this peace aside from God’s continual work in my heart.

Some of the stories I could tell about the work God had already done in my life over the years are nothing short of miracles, but for some reason, I had forgotten.  I had become spiritually lazy, giving the devil a foothold.  I thank and praise the Lord every day for rescuing me out of that darkness.  I’m not making light of the devastation and trauma COVID-19 has caused for so many; I can’t imagine trying to deal with it all without knowing the Lord.  But God has used the COVID-19 pandemic as a time of renewal for me.  What the devil meant for evil, God in His mercy and grace has used for good. God has restored in me the joy of my salvation!  I do mean it when I say, “We do what God puts in front of us to do and leave the rest in His hands.”  Is my life perfect now? Far from it.  But it’s not about perfection… it’s about direction! As I continue through the study Lord, I Need Grace to Make It Today, the more deeply I come to understand just how amazing the grace of God truly is. I am back leading Precept Bible studies again and am humbled and blessed by the opportunity to serve.  However, I’m not leading alone this time, for I have the Lord leading the way as I seek Him in all that I do.  It is only by the grace of God that I am saved, by His grace that I can live and be at peace with Him and the world around me, and by His grace that I can serve.



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