Monday, May 8, 2017

Open My Eyes That I May See




Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, 
for He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world.
1 John 4:4


Years ago, when my children were 9 & 5, I was struck with a debilitating illness that not only effected me physically, but mentally as well, as I suffered with extreme anxiety.  You can read more about that journey here.

For those of you who suffer with debilitating anxiety, you know what can happen when a situation arises where you are required to spend many days at home, when you are finally able to leave the house, you develop an agoraphobia of sorts, and fear grips you just at the very thought of leaving the protection of your four walls.  This indeed happened to me after I had spent six weeks essentially bed-ridden, already having suffered with incredible anxiety.

Even though my physical body had healed, my mental state still had a ways to go...

In an effort to overcome my anxiety, I would purposefully exercise trust in the Lord, and every morning take the kids for a ride in the car around 8:30 a.m. when Chuck Swindoll was sharing a sermon on our local Christian radio station.  It was comforting to listen to the Word as I drove.  Each day, I would drive a little bit farther away from my home with my mind stayed on the Word of the Lord coming through my radio...

As time went on, there were random obligations that came up, where I would need to venture out alone.  It was then that I clung to my life verse for dear life.

Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, 
for the Lord your God goes with you; 
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

I still remember driving away from my home, heading up the hill toward the main road in our town, and willing myself to envision Jesus sitting right next to me.  It was a comforting exercise, but I was still depending on myself to abide with Him rather than trusting and believing that His presence was already with me...



I was recently listening to Charles Stanley and was intrigued by a book he mentioned by J. Hudson Taylor called the Spiritual Secret.  He specifically focused on the chapter called "The Exchanged Life", excerpts of which I have shared below...

  I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for meditation––but all without avail. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me...

...I knew that if only I could abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not. I would begin the day with prayer, determined not to take my eye off Him for a moment, but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, and constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, caused me to forget Him. Then one's nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptations to irritability, had thoughts and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control. Each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power. To will was indeed "present with me," but how to perform I found not...

...I knew I was powerless. I told the Lord so, and asked Him to give me help and strength. Sometimes I almost believed that He would keep and uphold me; but on looking back in the evening––alas! There was but sin and failure to confess and mourn before God...

...I strove for faith, but it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious Savior, my guilt and helplessness seemed to increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief which was their cause, which could not or would not take God at His word. . . . 
I prayed for faith, but it came not. What was I to do?
But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One."...

As I read, I saw it all! "If we believe not, he abideth faithful." I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed)! That He had said, "I will never leave thee."...

..."Ah, there is rest!" I thought. "I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has not He promised to abide with me––never to leave me, never to fail me?" And, . . . He never will...

...As I thought of the Vine and the branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured direct into my soul! How great seemed my mistake in wishing to get the sap, the fullness out of Him! I saw not only that Jesus will ever leave me, but that I am a member of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. The vine is not the root merely, but all––root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit. And Jesus is
 not that alone––He is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and ten thousand times more than 
we have ever dreamed, wished for or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth! I do pray that the eyes of your understanding too may be enlightened, that you may know
 and enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ...

...The sweetest part, . . . is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient. . . . So, if God should place me in serious perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trials, much strength? No fear that His resources will prove unequal to the emergency! And His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me...

...And since Christ has thus dwelt in my heart by faith, how happy I have been! . . . I am no better than before. In a sense, I do not wish to be, nor am I striving to be. But I am dead and buried with Christ––ay, and risen too! And now Christ lives in me, and "the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

As I finished reading the Exchanged Life for myself, I felt such joy and relief as I identified with the emotions that were expressed, and found encouragement to do away with my modus operandi, and just rest...  rest in Christ Jesus, the keeper of my soul...

I was especially encouraged by the Truth that I no longer have reason to be anxious about anything when I realize that my Heavenly Father is able to carry out His will and His will is mine.  When I wholly accept that Truth, no matter what situation He places me in, I will know that His grace is sufficient for me.  

When I see EVERYTHING that touches my life as God's will and accept that will as mine, I will experience peace in sickness or trial; gratitude in frustration; calmness in turmoil, and a loving spirit when wronged. 

Allowing God's will to abide in me will bring about the right response to all situations that touch my life, good or bad.  

I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders when I realized how much I had been striving rather than resting in God's presence that already resides in me.

However, it will be important for me to see EVERYTHING that happens in my day through the filter of God's will, and that will take discipline on my part since I have been operating in Karen's will for years!    

 I confess there are times that I have been afraid of God's will, especially if I thought it would mean pain, but I recently read the following passage from 2 Kings chapter 6 and found encouragement to pray big that the Lord would help me to see His will, no matter how it plays out, as His protection and preservation, leading me to victory in Jesus.

Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” 9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” 10 And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.

11 And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” 12 And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. 19 And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. 21 As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?” 22 He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” 23 So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.
2 Kings 6:8-23


"This is the prayer we need to pray for ourselves and for one another, “Lord, open our eyes that we may see”; for the world all around us, as well as around the prophet, is full of God’s horses and chariots, waiting to carry us to places of glorious victory. And when our eyes are thus opened, we shall see in all events of life, whether great or small, whether joyful or sad, a “chariot” for our souls."  --  Hannah Whitall Smith


May we all be aware of Christ's abiding presence, and allow His Spirit to bring every situation, throughout the day, into the light of His will, and may the Lord open our eyes to see - see God's chariots ready to carry us in victory through Christ Jesus.



Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Refrain
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

 Jean S. Pigott


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Warriors of the WordCandidly Christian Link-upSunday ThoughtsWriter WednesdayFaith Filled Friday

30 comments:

  1. This is a good word! It's funny ... we strive so hard for what we already have!

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    1. Jerralea, Thank you so much for your kind comment,

      You are absolutely right!

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  2. Wow, this is just so encouraging. I am SO sorry you went thorough such a terrible ordeal, sweet friend! I surely know how anxiety feels...it is a paralyzing, horrible thing to deal with. I am so thankful God brought you through it all, and your experiences now help me and so many others in our own struggles. I loved what you shared about Hudson Taylor, too...I always think of his quote about how he had learned to move man through God by prayer. Zach studied about him in school, and it was so interesting. Sending much love to you today and thanking the dear Lord for you and your precious presence in my life. :)

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    1. Cheryl, That is my hope, that through my own experiences I can testify to what the Lord has done and will continue do. It's interesting how the Lord ultimately drew me to Himself through anxiety and He has used me many times to minister to those with anxiety, yet in the midst of it all, I still struggle with anxiety, but God continues to show Himself faithful.

      Oh! I hadn't heard that Hudson Taylor quote! Thanks for sharing!

      Thank you sweet friend. I thank God for your sweet friendship. It means so much to me. Sending you much love and gratitude.

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  3. Karen, this post touched my heart so very much . . . Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret is one of my favorite books--the Lord used it so greatly in my life! You tied all of this together so, so well--and as someone who suffers from anxiety at times, it really speaks to me. Thank you for writing these words and sharing them--they are so encouraging. Did you know that Hudson Taylor's favorite hymn was the one that you shared at the end? What a strong encouragement! The Lord bless you, dear Karen!

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    1. Hi Bekki! So far I'm only familiar with that one chapter, but Michael retrieved a hard copy from his library and it is now sitting on top of my Bible to read. I am all the more anxious to read it now that I know it is one of your favorite books. That says a lot!

      Thank you for your kind words both here and on Facebook. They mean so much to me.

      Oh my! I did not know that! All of a sudden as I was writing this blog post that hymn came to my mind. The Holy Spirit knew. :-)

      Blessings to you. I miss you!

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  4. I love the book extract you shared. It is easy to get caught up in striving and thinking it all depends on us. It's such a relief when we can let go and rest in God, remembering that the battle is his.

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    1. Lesley, I'm so glad. :-)

      Amen!

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. There is so much hope and comfort in the Word of God -- and in the old hymns. Thanks for this encouragement (from your own example!) to stop and ponder and be peaceful.

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    1. Michele, You are very welcome.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  6. He "is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine." Thanks so much! I needed to hear this tonight.
    I love that story of Elisha also!
    Great post!

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    1. Ruth, Praising God you heard what you needed to hear at just the right time. :-)

      Thanks so much for your kind words.

      Blessings,

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  7. What a beautiful way to step out in faith--taking a drive when you knew you'd hear words of hope and encouragement.

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    1. Indeed, it was a step in faith, and indeed the Lord was faithful to minister to me through His ministers.

      Blessings,

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  8. Karen, this really blessed me. I have struggled with anxiety for much of my life and after I wrote a post a couple days ago, I realized the hurt and doubt within me as I reread my own words. Because I have prayed, been prayed over but felt to no avail. It was only yesterday I think it was, that I prayed for God to help me, because I don't want to write words that cause others to doubt God's power or goodness. All the while, I wanted peace and healing for myself, because I knew there was a root issue I needed to hand over to Him. I remembered I had not been keeping my regular time in the word with Him, and though I didn't think I would be so effected by it, He spoke to my heart that it did. Because through the years, I was able to combat anxiety with Him...and here lately I have been overworking and trading that time with him in to get ahead. I wrote about this too a couple weeks ago, so it has been coming to a head. I grabbed my Bible and told him I needed Him more than anything. I can not get through the day alone. I am sorry I ever tried. It was a slow fade and I confessed this. Last night was the first night in a while I experienced an envelope of peace over me, and I went to sleep without my heart pulsating and fretting about things. Today was another great day (my insides were calm!) and I read his word more. How could I have ever forgotten to abide in him I don't know, but I will receive his grace and praise Him too for allowing me to wait to linkup until late so I could be your neighbor and read this. I was one to need it. Your personal story actually helps in huge ways, to see I am not alone and there is hope!!! If you don't mind can you read that post? I just want you to see how quickly God moved when I got on my knees and cried out to him!!

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    1. Meg, Thank you so much for sharing your own struggle with anxiety here. I will definitely head over to read your post about the victory you felt when you cried out to Him.

      And thank you for stopping by.

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  9. Striving rather than resting... I think many of us struggle with or have struggled with that sometime or another. But all we need do is rest in Christ. He is always with us and will never leave.

    Blessings to you, Karen! I'm your neighbor this week at #TuneInThursday

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    1. Gayl, Amen and Amen.

      You have blessed me neighbor. :-)

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  10. I always think of how Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane to be strengthened. His love for us is fierce! Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. His love is indeed fierce for us. Thank you for sharing that word picture of our Heavenly Father's love.

      You are very welcome.

      And thank you for visiting here. :-)

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  11. Anxiety and worry were always a part of my life also...not to the degree of what you experienced, but still it was not pleasant. Thankfully, as I aged and especially with a closer relationship with Jesus on my side, there is not need to fear. :)

    So enjoyed seeing your visit and kind comment. Thank you.

    Peabea@Peabea Scribbles

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    1. Pea Bea, Praising God for your deliverance.

      I'm so glad!

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Blessings,

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  12. This is so encouraging, It must have been so hard but it is wonderful you were able to see that God was with you and helping you get through this.Thanks for sharing at Literacy Musing Mondays hope to see you next week.
    Connie

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    1. Hi Connie, Thank you so much for leaving your kind words.

      You are very welcome! I'll be there!

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  13. Since studying the Gospel of John this year through Bible Study Fellowship, I have more of an acceptance that I just have to rest in Jesus' completed work for me. When I meditate on the fact that He has born it all, I feel more at ease.
    But as you say, I still need to work on filtering all that happens to me each day as coming from God's hand for my good.
    Janis

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    1. Janis, Thank you so much for sharing in the conversation here in such a personal way. I appreciate it. :-)

      Blessings,

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  14. I love Hudson Taylor's book that you've highlighted here! He has been such an inspiration to my husband and to me. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week! Always a pleasure having you!
    Tina

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    1. Tina, Indeed, a very inspiring man of God.

      You are very welcome!

      Awe, thank you! :-)

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  15. What helpful thoughts you've shared here! Thank you for using your own painful experiences to now help others.

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I'm featuring you this week!

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    1. Richella, You are very welcome! :-)

      Thank you so much for the blessing of being featured at Imparting Grace. I appreciate it very much.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment.