Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spiritual Protection During Tough Times

Terry found the shield of faith his ally through a terrible event. Driving home after working the night shift, he saw a cloud of smoke as he approached his street. That is close to my home, he thought. As he reached his long driveway, he saw flames shooting above the tree line-from his house. Moments later, to his horror, he learned that his wife and four children had perished in the fire. Terry told me this terrible story, and I learned he had found Christ as a nine-year-old but soon wandered from God. "During my teen years I sort of forgot about the Lord," he said. "I pushed Him into the background. I married after high school. When our first child was born we went back to church to dedicate the baby. I promised the Lord I would start reading the Bible and attending church. However, I didn't follow through with my promise. After the birth of our third child I began to realize that God's blessing was upon my life in spite of how I was treating Him." "At this time I began getting serious about the Lord. Soon our two oldest children received Christ." "My wife Jan had grown up in a nominal Christian home. Her childhood church did not preach a clear gospel. She believed herself to be a Christian until one Sunday morning the Holy Spirit showed her how lost she was. On that day she went forward to receive Christ at our church. We were growing as a couple and growing as believers. Just when things came together in our lives, she and the children were gone." So often in situations like these the best thing I can do is listen. What words of consolation can anyone offer? As Paul said, "Weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15), and that is what I did. Then Terry added, "I don't understand what God is doing, but I do know the Scriptures tell us to 'set our affections on things above.' I can confidently say all my treasures are now in heaven." Our session took place several months after his terrible loss. Among other things, we talked about the shield of faith. I explained how the shield keeps us from being destroyed. I explained how as believers, when God in His sovereignty allows one of the enemy's arrows to come through the shield, it is like a refining fire. Even in a terrible situation like the loss of life he'd experienced, I assured him we can trust God, who never errs. We can cling to Him and be confident that He is walking with us even through "the valley of the shadow of death." Terry picked up the shield of faith and walked on with the Lord, resolving to deal with his grief honestly but also to trust that God knew what He was dong. Now, five years later, Terry has married a fine woman who loves the Lord. They recently adopted a little girl whose first word was "Daddy." Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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