Are You Willing to Let God be Sovereign in the Situation?

A Caregiver Looks at Psalm 91: Part II

sovereign

A Caregiver Looks at Psalm 91: Part II

In part one of this series we looked at the first four verses of Psalm 91—a well-loved Psalm that I have a problem with. Join me as I work through the next two verses and try to figure out what they mean for the caregiver.

We left off at verse four, with the understanding that if we stay close to God, he will shield us from the lies of the devil. During my caregiving journeys, I often found myself worn down, worn out, and unable to cope in private. I thought I needed to take on the care of my very ill husband and shoulder all the other daily burdens as well. I forgot that God is sovereign.

Coping in public seems like a given. Caregivers don’t want to draw attention to themselves and their needs because they seem petty (even if they aren’t) in light of the bigger needs of the one they care for.

#Caregivers don't want to draw attention to themselves and their needs because they seem petty… Click To Tweet

What Does Fear Really Mean?

5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

In verse five, God doesn’t promise that terrors won’t lurk. He promises that we won’t FEAR them. The dictionary tells us that ‘fear’ as a noun is “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” As a verb, ‘fear’ is “to be afraid of: expect with alarm.”

In other words, when we trust in God and stay close to him, we don’t let the devil’s suggestions of the worst-case scenario take over our imaginations and cause us extra agony.

During my first caregiver journey, I often let worries about the future drag me down. In those quiet moments late at night, the lies of the evil one nibbled and scampered inside my head like rodents in the walls. I had to make a conscious effort to allow God’s light into my mind to chase away the mice of despair.

Gradually, I learned that I didn’t fear the terrors of night, nor the arrows of circumstance and progression of disease that assaulted me by day. This knowledge armed me for my second caregiver journey.

The devil loves to point out our shortcomings and failures through the behaviors and actions of… Click To Tweet

What’s With Pestilence and Plagues?

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

My second caregiver journey provided the perfect opportunity for falling for the devil’s lines: “If only you would have been a better parent.” and “She’s acting like this because you failed.”Life is short. Pray hard. A caregiver looks at Psalm 91 http://wp.me/p2UZoK-1FY

After all, when one’s offspring implodes on a public forum (Facebook and YouTube), pretty much the entire known world knows. Our children’s actions highlight all that we did (or didn’t) do as parents. All too often we measure ourselves by our children’s actions—even if our children have reached adulthood.

I like to think that the ‘pestilence’ and ‘plague’ that the psalmist uses here have more to do with those lies of the evil one. It would have been easy (and natural) for me to roll up into a ball of dejected depression as I watched Sarah make a series of horrible choices.

I could have rejected God’s sovereignty because he didn’t provide protection for Sarah on my terms. He COULD have saved her from her bad choices and helped us figure out her diagnosis much earlier. But he didn’t.

I had a choice—either accept God as the sovereign in the situation and daily affirm his right to allow things that I didn’t like to happen, or reject God.

We have a choice: accept God as sovereign & affirm his right to allow things that we don't… Click To Tweet

Choosing God’s sovereignty kept me sane. Sure, I spent a lot of time in tears and on my knees. My relationship with God got stronger as I relied on him to help me avoid the pestilence and plague of the devil’s recriminations.

The devil keeps plugging away, trying to undermine our relationship with God. We have a choice—call out to God in the darkest night or in the light of day, or let the devil sink us with his lies.

Caregiver Applications

1. With God as our sovereign, we don’t have to fear the terrors.
2. We don’t need to work out the worst-case scenarios and stew about them.
3. The devil likes to jab at our weak spots and make us blame ourselves for other people’s actions. Just say, “No!”

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post, Anita!

    I’ve been a caregiver, and am now the patient. I don’t remember much of my caregiving journey, or how I dealt with it. It was like a long fever-dream, best consigned to mental oblivion, at least in this life.

    As a patient, yeah, I’m terrified. I’m afraid of what this illness may – and will – yet bring. You can’t spend most o the day lying on the floor in a foetal position, and not feel dread, I think.

    And that’s OK because there is an older version of ‘fear’ that means something closer to ‘respect’. A God-fearing individual is not terrified of the Lord, but sure respects Him.

    And likewise with the temporal things that scare us. Some thing ARE scary, and not to fear them – in the current meaning of the word – would be a bit loony. But we don’t have to give them the same respect we accord God.

    We can be scared out of our wits, and with God’s help, we keep going, even if it’s only one more step.

    Sorry if this is a bit choppy. Terribly hard – and scary – day.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/05/your-dying-spouse-316-five-vital-words.html

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  • Good thoughts. I’ve heard another explanation of not fearing terrors as, even if the worst happens, and we die, if we’ve believed on Christ as Savior, we go to heaven – the best possible outcome. Knowing that does take the sting out of facing death, though there may be fears of handling it and regrets at leaving loved ones behind. Having seen friends and loved ones face death “too soon” by human standards, knowing that they’ll soon be with their Savior and being able to trust Him with their loved ones transforms the whole experience. Another aspect in which God’s sovereignty helps me cope with trials is in knowing that He has a reason for them. I may never know what that is this side of heaven, like Job, but I can trust that He does nothing whimsically or carelessly, and He will provide the grace to deal with whatever He allows..

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  • Amanda

    What a great reminder. I have a situation where i need to draw close to God so that I can hear the truth and not the lies. Thanks.

  • Ah … no wonder we all love this Psalm, so.

    If we ever needed the consolation of the Psalmist it’s right in the midst of caregiving, suffering, exhaustion. Thanks for taking us to God’s Word, Anita …

  • This is so good: “I had to make a conscious effort to allow God’s light into my mind to chase away the mice of despair.” Those mice can really nibble away at my confidence if I don’t take my thoughts captive. Thanks for the encouragement to choose to affirm the truths that I know!

  • Susan

    Oh those dreaded mice. Let’s keep our traps baited with TRUTH and HOPE!

  • Hi Anita. It’s been a while since I visited, and I so glad to read your words today. They brought me back to 2 Corinthians 10:5 and taking those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. I so agree – we can let the wayward fears, thoughts, and anxieties reign or we can remember that God is sovereign. It isn’t always easy to do at midnight staring up at the ceiling, but the results are so much more productive!