Dr. Gary Herring went home to Heaven in April of 2012. He was the pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Uniontown, Pennsylvania for over 32 years. For the last several years of his life, he served the Lord as a professor at Landmark Baptist College in Haines City, Florida.
Every one of us will, at some time, meet circumstances beyond your control, circumstances that you have no idea were possibly going to happen right up to the last moment. I want to be a blessing to you. Psalms is such a wonderful, expressive way to give us direction and comfort and counsel and guidance. The Lord led me to the Psalms when problems began to surface in my life. I’m going to give you six things that I jotted down in the process of my illness. I think it can help you tremendously When Trouble Comes.
“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth... My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” (Psalm 57:1-3; 7)
There are possibly some of you that have never known true disappointment, never known pain that is beyond the scope of what you think is possible to bear. Maybe you’ve never known sorrow and tears, groanings, fear, rejection and unhappiness. Perhaps you’ve been a person that because of how God has blessed your life, you had peace and great joy and love and fulfillment. Maybe as a result of what your parents have instilled in you, and because you have been one that has been faithful in church for many years and allowed the teaching of God’s Word to control your life, you possibly are an individual that really knows the great blessing and warmth of Christ. Sunday night people are a little different from the Sunday morning crowd. Many of those have continued to allow the Word of God to be their teacher, guide and become a true measuring stick of everything in their lives.
But even for you folks, there will come a time when you find that some of the things you thought would never change are going to change suddenly. When they do, it is important that you know how to handle it. If you know how, things in your life can remain constant, not physically, but they can remain constant spiritually, and progress according to the will of God. I can say today, thanking the Lord with joy in my heart, I’m in the perfect will of God.
Things can happen when problems come. The first thing you need to recognize is that your mind will immediately begin to attack you, and it will come this way. The devil always begins with questions and a process of comparison. It will move on to reason, and then it sets in as fear. Jumping back and forth from reason to comparing to questions. What you have to realize is, “This is my mind. This is the attack of the devil, the one who is endeavoring to hurt me and try to tear me down, and trying to misrepresent everything that my life once stood for.”
If you read the Word much and listen to preaching and you have a prayer life; then realize that the devil hates you. He really hates you. When you allow yourself to read that Word and adhere to what God says is truth, then he hates what you stand for. Why? He can’t take me to a devil’s Hell, but he will try to steal my testimony away. He’ll try to steal everything that honors the cause of Christ that has been in my life for many, many years.
Not only will this happen, but you have to determine to make a decision. I recall when this was happening to me, after I got news that things were going to change in my life. Immediately I stopped my mind running wild and said, “Lord, I’m going to claim your Word.” “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) God wants you to know when you wait on Him, you have something from Him that is worth waiting for.
God brought this verse of Scripture to my mind. “Be still, and know that I am God:...” (Psalm 46:10) I don’t know how much you read the Bible or how much time you spend meditating in the Scripture, but I venture a guess, because of pastoring many years, that it is not enough. We like to say we do this and do that. We like to represent what we are endeavoring to accomplish and sometimes we’re really just salving our own conscience. The devil knows if you are not that true Christian you claim to be. He knows exactly what can take you down. He knows exactly what can cause the affection in your life to slowly begin to cut away and remove what you had, maybe for many years, as a testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll do it for this reason, because he hates you. Never forget that statement.
As I began to go through the process of dealing with cancer, God showed me there is something that I must do all the time, something I have done for years and years in the pastorate. Making this decision represented the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. God allowed me to pastor for 32 years, yet there was no decision that was any more difficult than the decisions I had to make now. Do you know why? They were personal. They would represent either going on in the way that I would have peace in my heart to know it was God’s will, or just going on. I understood if you just go on, you are making the greatest mistake in your life. You’ve got to know God’s will. I recommend to you these three things that can keep you where you need to be.
#1. When trouble comes, run directly to God. Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. Run directly to God.
#2. Run to His presence in prayer.
#3. Remember all the past victories that God has won in your life. That takes away the questions and removes the doubts. That takes away reason, and the fear cannot exist because you know and remember and re-experience what God has done for you.
Are you disappointed? That is going to be very light until the time comes that you face the greatest disappointment, that your life may come to a quick end. You do not know when God will make His time become reality. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27) Many times I’ve had people that I know truly care about us, say, “Preacher, I’m so sorry that everything has happened the way it has.” I know that they are very sincere. I realize what they are saying is this: “I’m just so sad that your life is coming to a quick end.”
God has showed me something. Don’t be sorry about that. Do you know why? I’m expecting it. You are not expecting what is going to happen to you. I’m preparing and doing everything I can to make sure that when I stand before my God, I will be in order. I have a great benefit in that opportunity. God showed me something in the wee hours of the morning, when I was lying there and couldn’t sleep and was very weak and asking the Lord to give me strength, and to guide my mind and my heart. He brought me back to a mind-set statement that I had written in my Bible many years ago. “Lord, teach me to want what You want.” Wow! What a statement! Now you have that as a task to put to your life.
When all this began, we had come to Senior Patriots. I was having some problems and thought it was my heart. I finally got it checked out and they gave me some medication and agreed that was a possibility. That Saturday morning, the 14th of February, what a Valentine’s present I got. We came to Senior Patriots and had a wonderful day. God was blessing. But the pain just kept getting greater and greater. Finally after it was over I told my wife, “I hate to say this, but I think I need to go to the hospital.” So we went. On the road to the hospital I said, “You know, I really don’t want to go in there.” But I couldn’t put up with the pain any longer, so we went in and went through the process of trying to find if it really was the heart. Then they found out it wasn’t, and that there was a cancerous area. They determined it was myeloma cancer, which is very rare and serious. It was located in about five inches of my spine, in the bone marrow. I don’t have bone cancer, but it’s in the bone marrow. It had eaten away about five inches of my spine. I found out that I could very quickly be paralyzed and not have usage of many areas of my limbs.
Everything began to happen so quickly. We had such an unprofessional individual that rushed into our room and said, “You’ve got cancer and you are going to have chemotherapy and radiation. He’ll check you out tomorrow.” I wanted to slap the guy. I wanted to snatch him bald-headed. We are talking about serious things there, and he was so unprofessional, and left. That was it.
The next morning we were able to meet with our regular medical doctor. Everything from that point began to take on a more clear understanding. Through the course of that night, this is when I ran to the Lord and began to pray. I began to think, “Lord, what am I going to need?” I recognized I needed a plan. If anything is going to be done right, and for me to know it’s God’s will, I need to plan. So I began to ask for the Lord’s plan. I knew no doctors. I knew nothing about cancer, just what I experienced in the process of other people in the pastorate. I didn’t have a lot of trust in my own knowledge. I said, “Lord, please give me a plan.”
Secondly, I said, “Lord, I ask for a people, a people called doctors that will be necessary to deal with this problem.” As I thought about what that doctor had said, I really lost all confidence, and I knew that we needed to have doctors we could have confidence in.
Thirdly, I said, “Lord, I need to know and be able to visualize in your Word, promises that I can begin to say, “This is what God wants me to do. This is how I can begin to accept what will be reality and how things will progress in my life.
Then I said, “Lord, I want to plant my feet. I want to position myself to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
I began to think over my study, and sermons I have preached many times as encouraging messages for God’s people. God brought my heart quickly to the 23rd Psalm. Go there with me, if you will, please. I am going to try to show you what God showed me. This is a great Psalm of comfort. This is a Psalm that was expressed with the idea and purpose so we can also read and there is a clear explanation. We can go back to John 10 when Jesus represented Himself as the great Shepherd of our lives. He said, “I know My sheep. My sheep hear My voice. I go before them. They follow after.”
Those words came back to my mind and I began to read, “The Lord is my shepherd;...” Think about it. I’m talking about the Lord. I’m talking about He that is God, that is my Shepherd. My Creator is my Shepherd.
“...I shall not want.” A word came to mind. I had this Bible and I wrote this word down called ‘completedness.’ God, as the Shepherd, is the Completer of my life. He’s my Guide. He’s my Teacher. He’s everything I require. He’s a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. The Bible says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) He says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3) I said, “Lord, here I am. I know not what to do. I know not what decision to make.” It was great peace in my heart for the words to be, “The Lord is my shepherd...” There is no other greater than the Lord.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” That’s a reflection of peace. There comes a time in your life, I didn’t think it was going to come so quickly, when you are going to find you have to be in the pasture. You are going to find yourself no longer standing in the current. You now have to be beside the still waters. Your life is going to undergo a major change. God showed my heart that fast changes were coming.
I am a man that is kind of antsy. I don’t like to sit around a whole lot. In the pastorate, I spent more time out of the office than in the office. That wasn’t my place. I spent my time among the people and serving the Lord and doing what I believe God showed my heart to do. Still waters, I’m not looking for right now. Pasture, I’m not wanting to go there unless there is something that I need to do in that pasture that brings a harvest for the cause of Christ. God showed me this major change was coming. I can say to you that it took me a few moments to resolve in my heart the fact that I need to accept this. This is reality. When you face that reality, nothing about your life will ever be the same. God said there is peace that you can have, but I didn’t know all that peace. I’m learning that peace still yet, day by day.
He showed me in verse 3, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” I began to see something that I have done many years. I like to take words and follow them through. God began to bring up words, kind of like a word study thinking and began to give explanation by these words that He was showing direction to my heart and giving me a peace, and giving me a clear purpose, and began to unveil the plan that I needed to understand. He showed me paths of righteousness, not one individual path, but paths of righteousness. There are many ways in which I’m yet going to have to walk. I resolved that in my heart and said, “Lord, I’m willing to listen and I’m willing now to receive Your new given purpose for my life.”
You know in Isaiah 40:31. We look at that verse of Scripture. Do you realize each phrase is another standard, or another purpose represented in your life? As you realize those purposes that come forth in your life, each time there is going to be a major change. I’m not a person of great change. I like it the way it is and I don’t want to change it ever again. I like to stay with it all the time. I knew that these were changes that I would have to experience. The Lord showed me a purpose, a purpose for life. What I rejoice in is this, it was for His name’s sake. Whatever happens in my life, if it is not for the name, if it is not for the glory, not for the praise of the Lord Jesus Christ, I don’t want to be part of it.
The Bible went on and said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” I could spend some time there, but just to make a quick blanket statement, it shows the watchcare and protection that God would grant to my life on a constant basis under His authority, unlimited power that was available. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” There is still life that yet needs to be lived.
As I began to consider those thoughts, quickly the Lord led me to Psalm 37. I just had taught through the Psalms in the college. My mind was fresh on different things which resounded continuously in my heart. Many other Psalms were kind of represented off and on in different periods of time, but I remember when this kind of came to the surface. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers,...” Can I say to you, the devil trying to invade your mind, never gives up? When I listened to that doctor telling me, “You go to bed. I don’t want you moving around in that bed a whole lot. I want you to go to the restroom one time a day. You are very susceptible to be paralyzed.” That’s all he had to tell me. I don’t want to sit in a wheelchair. I don’t want my life to be useless. If that is God’s choice, then I am willing to accept it. I believe there will be a glory and a praise somehow God will grant, somehow He will give me what I need to accept it. I resolved in my heart to do that.
The doctor explained to my wife and I all that we were going to possibly experience. I had said to my wife before he came in, “I’m looking for someone that my spirit can identify with. The Lord has promised me there is a plan, but we need to identify somehow.” He sat down, just a common guy, Dr. Stewart. He began to talk with us, very gracious and kind, not like the other cuckoo. He said, “Mr. Herring, I want you to know this is very serious.” I was back to see him last week and he reminded me. “There is about a quarter inch between the spine and that spinal column that runs up in your back. You know at any time that could have been broken and any time that cancer could have broken through and no doubt about it, you would have been paralyzed. On the top part I found this in the operation. It was down to about one-eighth inch. That is why we were so pressing to try to get the radiation going and try to stop what damage was going on. Thank the Lord, it’s been stopped. Realize and understand,” as he told us getting ready for that operation, “You are going to possibly face, even after the operation, some paralysis. There is a possibility.”
As I will show you in Psalm 57, I heard him say that, but I eliminated that from my mind because I believed I had a promise from the Lord. I believe God had showed me something that I was depending upon and was trusting in. When I woke up after a long period of surgery, I think it was about five hours or so, I immediately began to check myself out. I was kind of cuckoo in my mind. There were folks there and I recognized my wife and I recognized Preacher and Pastor Steven and a few other people here and there, but then it would go away. I was kind of dwelling on, “Are my legs moving. Do I have my fingers going? Are my shoulders and arms okay?” All the things that were a possibility for paralysis. When that was all complete, in my own mind I said, “Thank you, Lord.”
I remember Preacher saying, “We just need to let him go to sleep.” I thought, “Amen, everything is okay. I’m just going back to sleep.” You know the Scripture that God gave to me that night before was this. The mind began to try again to attack me. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers,...” In my mind, I had a man that fought me for twenty some years in the pastorate. You know that man’s name came back to my mind. He is well. He is doing grand. Everything just seems to be wonderful for him, but God said, “Fret not...” Don’t let those things, those memories, don’t let those possibilities that the devil has tried to use on your life become something that could be a reality all over again. Here is a statement I use often. What the devil uses and it works, he’ll use over and over and over again. So I said, “Lord, I can’t allow that. I absolutely will not fret on this point.”
God led me to trust. “Trust in the Lord, and do good;...” That was an encouragement to me. God showed me something that I was looking for. “Do...” I have to have something that I can do. What I need to do is trust. Roll myself over on Him. Rely on Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;...” (Proverbs 3:5) You can’t keep things back. When you enter into this relationship with the Lord, you need to be sure that you understand the word repentance. You’re going to have the need of repentance. At that point, God showed me something I wrote down as one of the things I was learning as a result of my illness. A higher level of dependence that is trust in the Lord. There are certain things in my Christianity you can trust the Lord for; you know them; you have experienced them; you’ve been there many times. You have a level of trust that is pretty well settled. But when you’ve got to take steps in paths you have not walked before, these are areas of life that you have not been in. It’s different when you stand beside the bed or casket than when you are standing alone having to make the decision that determines what is God’s blessing for the rest of your life or what you refuse. Trust.
The next day, God showed me something as I went on in this Scripture. “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” If there is anything that I would like to do more than preach, I’ve not found it. I enjoy preaching. I’m on a vacation tonight. Put it in your mind and fantasize whatever way you want, but that’s what I’m doing and I’m enjoying it. You see, the delight. God showed me trust will bring about His delight. Roll yourself over on Him. Allow yourself to become what He wants you to become. “Lord, teach me to want what you want.”
I think back to the teaching we received when Jesus went up on the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John, and came back down. There was the man with the lunatic son. The disciples weren’t able to heal him. They had come to the disciples. They weren’t able to do it. In Luke 9 we see the same thing. Jesus said the reason why is your unbelief. Unbelief was kind of defined as “your perverseness and faithlessness.” Perverseness means you have not stayed true to your instructions and your faith that you once had. You have gone away from that. So God showed my heart that I need to stand where I’ve always stood. I need to come to a higher level of believing and trusting now so that everything that I’ll represent in my life will continue according to His perfect will and nothing else.
“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way,...” God brought that back again to my heart.
Please listen carefully, because from this point the Lord began to move very strongly. Too many people think today that walking by faith is walking in uncertainty or walking in darkness. God had to bring it back to my heart and make me understand. He showed me I must follow only His instruction. That’s true faith. If you don’t have instruction from God, then you’re just fantasizing. There are a lot of things in my life that I had to accept and with God’s help overcome; and realize I could cause circumstances or I could sit back and rest by the wayside. I’ve determined something – I’m not going to be on the shelf. Yes, I’m going to have some circumstances to deal with, but I’m going to believe that God put those circumstances in my life for a reason. He’s going to use them for the glory and praise of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the wee hours of the morning before that operation, God led my heart. I want you to know, the “I” in Psalm 56:9-13 became very personal. “When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.” Crying unto the Lord is not saying, “Dear Lord, I need you. God, there is something I am facing here that I have to overcome.” No, you reach much deeper than that, to the place where, with your total being, you want to be sure that you have the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are standing there and He is saying, “Talk to Me, My child.” That’s crying unto the Lord. He says, “Call unto Me and I will answer thee.” God will give to you a k-n-o-w. You know. I knew for certain this was the doctor that needed to perform that surgery. I knew that the surgery that was going to be performed was okayed by God. I knew it was all under His total control. That’s what crying unto God is, coming to an intimate closeness and communication with your God.
Here is the second thing I wrote down from verse 10, “In God will I praise his word: in the Lord will I praise his word.” I want you to know God. When you know God, then you’ll have the Lord become not only the immediate needmeeter, but also cross over into the future, which allows you to praise. How does it come? Through His Word. Everything is shown through His Word. Why? Because God is God and God becomes the Lord of your life, that becomes the expression and instruction through the Word of God. My friend, that’s what the Bible teaches when it says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165) It is peace that passeth all understanding. It’s reality you can depend on. You know He’s real. It goes on. “In God have I put my trust:...” A complete resolve. A higher level of intimacy, a deeper meaning of faith, an intimate relationship because of the Word and prayer.
Then you recognize that the Lord unveils Himself in many ways because He says, “...I will not be afraid...” Let me tell you something. When a man tells you that you can be paralyzed, it will put fear in you. But when the time came and the nurse woke me up that morning, I had no fear. I kind of felt like when I was younger and played a little sports. “Man, let’s get going. I don’t want to fool around anymore. Let’s make it happen. It’s time to go.” That’s how my heart felt, and I knew it could only be from the Lord.
God said, “Thy vows are upon me,...” What a wonderful statement. Instruction, a very clear promise. “I’ll never leave you, nor forsake you.” What God has desired to be is coming into reality. It also brought me back to the call He gave to my life so many years ago.
“...I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death:...” If this cancer had not been found, I’m sure within a short period of time, you would have come and visited me in the front of the church here, but God still had a plan. God had a people that would work that plan called the doctors. The Lord showed me the reason why I had no fear. Note if you will in verse 13, “...wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk...” Now folks, I wasn’t reading the Bible to try to find something I could say, “This is what I’m going to claim.” I’m reading the Bible for God to instruct my heart and give me the purpose, that I should not fear. Yet I knew in my heart that when I woke up I was going to walk. Thank God for His wonderful instruction and His promises. Thank God for the peace and comfort that He whispers in your soul.
Psalm 37 is such an expressive chapter. These three verses opened up and unveiled everything I received as peace and what I’ve had as inspiration, what I know is the objective. What I clearly understand is that the time that I have left needs to be used for the cause and the glory of Jesus Christ. As these words were spoken to me and expressed very clearly, my mind quickly ran to mercy. I knew God brought my heart to this chapter. I read these three verses again and began to think about, “What is mercy?” What does it truly mean to understand mercy? It is a word that is very closely linked to what, in the New Testament, is called compassion. God has plan for you in sensing what you know as the problems, difficulties, defeats and what you have as your pain and agony at that time. He knows what you are going through. God knows and understands.
Secondly, He cares. He doesn’t just have the understanding, but He is willing to do something to relieve it and to make it something that you can handle and you can say, “Thank you, Lord,” as a result. I thought of the third thing. God not only knows what you are going through. He not only cared about what you are going through, but He also has a concern that each day you receive from Him what you need on a very personal basis. That’s compassion. That’s my wife.
“Be merciful unto me,...” God knows I cried unto Him for that. The Scripture says again the second time, “Be merciful unto me...” I recognized later on this first mercy was that which I required and needed to be able to get God’s plan clearly, to get God’s people in place that I needed. The completion of the promise, I had to have this second mercy after all that would come about. I still needed the continuing mercy of God. Folks love you and want to help you and do everything they can to relieve and show compassion, but there is only One that really makes a difference, and it’s the Lord. So I needed the second stage of compassion.
My resolve was this. Here is my position and resolve. “...for my soul trusteth in thee:...” My whole being now was in the care of the Lord. The doctor started talking about radiation and chemotherapy. Radiation, I had no real objection to. I understood the possibilities of what would happen and they did, but chemotherapy was something that I am not really happy about. I kept saying in my mind, “Well, we’ll see.” God kept bringing my mind back to the plan and back to the people that He was putting in my life.
I think God was very good whenever He gave me the doctor that I now have, because I found out later that she also knew the Lord Jesus Christ. She made a decision that I think God put it into her mind. Instead of having the drip chemotherapy, I was put on a pill that I take each day. That thing knocked me for a loop. It began to work on me like you can’t believe. I realized it was the way that God had chosen. When you understand that you take a position and make a decision because God leads you, then you need to remain in that position. You need to take on this thought that I practiced all my ministry. “Once you make a decision, don’t go back and make it again.” God would remind me often. I would tell my wife, “Go back and tell that doctor I’m not taking one more pill. Bless God, it’s done.” It’s like our preacher prayed anyway. It’s not the pill; it’s the power of God. I believe that and that’s the way I rest in my heart, but I know He chose that means physically to do divinely what He has in mind. So I’d crawl on back to the medicine cabinet and get another one and go on. You see, my position was because God had given my heart instruction.
Here is my assurance in that position. “...in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” There is coming a day when things are going to be much different for me. I don’t think it is going to be a lot different physically, but I know it is going to be divinely. I understand that the circumstances I face day by day are going to persist. A good day that I have is probably what you would think is a bad day, but it is a good day for me because God gave me the strength to make it through that day. God took away the things that would have put me down and keeps me up and going.
You can resign yourself to be under the circumstances if you want, but Dr. Rice used to say, “What are you doing under those circumstances?” You’ve got to learn to overcome these circumstances and someday, day by day, they get better. Day by day it seems to get a little bit more that you can handle it, but that’s going to end when it becomes perfect and wonderful. I look forward to that day and I know every one of you do. I’m not saying I want to get on the train tonight, but I’m saying we need to learn to handle it because yesterday is gone. Today is a new day to trust the Lord. Today is a new day to represent His glory and His grace.
My protection is this. “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.” I could take my life and put it into a retroactive remembrance status and think of how many things God has done. Impossible, impossible, impossible, but God performed it for me. Recounting those past blessings and miracles gave me assurance and confidence. That showed me that God’s plan is what I need to stay with.
Then He gave me a clear protection in verses 2-3. “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up....” That’s the devil himself. He is the reproach in every one of our lives. God will save us from that.
There is protection. Notice He said in verse three, “...He shall send from heaven,...” Note the last statement. “...God shall send forth his mercy...” That’s the great divine compassion, all that is necessary to accomplish perfection of His continuing will, and then He says, “...and his truth.” That truth is my instruction. I not only need the blessing of mercy, which I received in the beginning, the continuing mercy that God gives me day by day, but I need that instruction to keep myself within that protection, knowing that assurance, understanding that everything God wants to do will be done, if you continue to trust in Him.
My Bible may be like yours. Verse six ends the page. Then verse seven is on the next page. I was kind of rejoicing in all that God had showed me there, yet I needed something else. I needed that last blessing, the position that I could know, where I could absolutely rest. I am kind of simple minded, so I need it to be spelled out very clearly. Verse seven then just lifted up off of the page. “My heart is fixed, O God,...” There is my resolve. “...my heart is fixed:...” I want you to note something here. My purpose is to sing and give praise unto the Lord Jesus Christ. I could run you to Psalm 46, Psalm 71, so many other Psalms. I’m not going to complain. I’m not going to be down in the mouth. I’m not going to be a person that gives up anything that the devil can say, “Hey, man, I got you.” No, I’m going to sing somehow. I’m going to give Him praise somehow. I’m going to let His glory come forth from my heart and my mind.
I dreamed one night I went to Heaven. To tell you the truth, I didn’t want to wake up. When I woke up I thought, “Lord, are you telling me something?” Immediately His instruction came back to my heart. “I will walk in the light.” Yet in the truth of His instruction, it gives me new purpose and new meaning and new understanding.
There was a time when I got so weak, I couldn’t even stand up. Something I’ve always liked to do is eat. My wife would get something ready. But I could hardly stand to smell it cooking, let alone go to the table and eat it. When I put it in my mouth, it tasted like a piece of wood. I’d chew it and chew it and chew it. It would kind of hang up here. Finally I’d get a few bites of it down. You know, God was so good. There was only one month that I lost a bunch of weight, and I needed to lose some anyway. It’s maintained from that point, but there is that time when you lean on His promise, “Lo, I am with you alway.”
My mother-in-law wrote this poem during a time in her life when she was near glory.
I’m never alone in the morning, as I rise at the break of the day.
For Jesus has watched through the darkness and says, “Lo, I am with you alway.”
I’m never alone at my table. Though loved ones seldom I see.
For dearer than all who have vanished is Jesus who breaks bread with me.
I’m never alone in the night time, when darkness round me does creep,
And shadows press hard on my pillow. He watches and cares while I sleep.
I’m walking and talking with Jesus each day as I travel along.
I’m never alone. Hallelujah! The joy of the Lord is my song.
Your thoughts need to become that which the Bible has given you as conviction. Your conviction will become your character. Then your character becomes that which you have as assurance that you are walking in the light of His glory and praise. My friend, when you stand, you can put your shoulders back. If you have a face to smile, you can smile and say, “Thank you, Lord.” Because you see, you are walking in that faith that God has given.
Dr. Stewart told me this the other day. I suppose he didn’t think I’ve accepted this yet, but he said, “Now, you have to remember, things aren’t going to change. What you have is what you’ve got. It’s going to stay the same.” He put 13 inch rods on each side of my spine and put interconnecting “railroad tracks” I call them in between. Sometimes when I stand I try to correct myself. I stand this way kind of leaning over, but the Holy Spirit tells me, “Straighten up, man.” I kid you not. Why? Because I’m standing in the glory of God.
Where are you at today? What will you have to face? When trouble comes, how will you face it? Always remember that God knows and cares and understands, and He has a plan. He has the comfort and instruction that you need, just stay in His word and pour your heart out to Him in prayer. Let God get the glory and praise and honor from your life, no matter what the days ahead might hold for you. Live your life for God right up to your very last breath.