Friday, April 9, 2021

Be Ye Therefore Very Courageous

 "Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;...But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day." Joshua 23:6,8


Ken laid the letter from the medical board down on his desk. He closed his eyes and drew in a breath not deep enough to cover the sorrow he felt. So, the day had finally come. As an ob-gyn doctor, he was dedicated to ensuring each unborn babe came into the world to breathe the life God created him or her to breathe. But this...this mandate to order mothers to kill a child before it was born for simply being less than what man thought was perfect. This he couldn't do.

He pushed away from his desk and paced the length of his office. "Lord, what am I to do? I will lose my practice. But how can I have any part of this, this murderous mandate?"

A knock came on his door and Nurse Carol poked her nose around it. "Mrs. King is in Room 1. Her husband didn't join her today."

Ken nodded. "I'll be there in just a moment." Mrs. King was a new patient. Only her second visit. As a woman over 35, the chances of her child having some anomalies were increased. He pressed the heals of his hands to his eyes. He would have to give her the option of prenatal screenings for fetal defects. 

He lowered himself to his knees. "Lord, I don't know how long I can do this. How long will I be able to stand against the wave of pressures to abort babies that do not meet man's standards or are counted as inconveniences for the mother? I need Your strength, Your courage." He stayed on his knees for a minute, breathing deeply while he listened for the Lord, felt His presence. "To Your Glory, my Lord and Savior, and in Your Holy Name, I go. Amen."

He pushed off from the floor and stretched to his full height. As Dr. Atwood, he would tell Mrs. King about the optional screening, but as a child of God, he would inform her that if she chose to have the screening, he could not be her doctor. Feeling God's presence and peace, he walked from his office to Room 1. "Good morning, Mrs. King. How are you today?"


When the LORD gave Israel rest from all their enemies, and with Joshua old and ready to die, he reminded the Israelites of all that God had done for them and to their enemies. God had been good to them. He'd blessed them. He gave them the land and the bounty of the land. He gave them peace. But as human nature goes, Joshua knew they would one day be faced with temptations they'd find difficult to resist.

So it is today. We, as Americans, are blessed beyond measure. We are as rich as kings, even our poor have more than many in the world. But we have forgotten Who blessed us. 

Last fall, I had amazing experiences with the Lord. He made clear to me His presence. I experienced the great sweetness of His love to a depth and in a way I've never experienced before. I know it is clich√© to say, but there are no words to express the tangible presence of the Lord and His great love for me that I experienced through fall and winter, right up to the diagnosis of cancer. Those days leading to and for the weeks immediately after the official diagnosis, were days spent resting in the arms of God. But also days when I found it hard to pray common prayers (like prayers for the health and well being of others, for the prosperity of church and family, for solutions to others' problems, and so forth). 

As a nation, we experienced a year of spiritual warfare, one that should have been fought on our knees and by taking a stand. But as I visited people, I found that many people were on different sides of the same coin. The coin, being their faith in God and in His ability to act. The sides being how the politics of the country and of this COVID business should be handled. Even as people quoted different 'experts' to support their view, rarely did I hear anyone quote from Scripture how to handle the problems arising. And in truth, I couldn't tell you exact Scriptures that would meet your specific needs. 

But this I do know, we've blindly walked away from God. Even the most staunch Christian can't truthfully claim they have not been influenced by the world. And the road back to Him is filled with boulders, and mines and deep crevices. I think that is why we often just sit down and decide not to make the trek back. But there are decisions that need to be made, or we'll be swept up with the fervor of the world and moved further away from truth, God's truth. 

The story above of Dr. Ken Atwood is very similar to the story of my doctor (in Canada 21 years ago) when I was pregnant with my first child. When he made the same statement to me that Dr. Atwood did to Mrs. King, I knew he was a Christian, and discovered he also attended our church (it was a very large church). I know that God led me to him, because I wouldn't have had the wisdom to navigate that journey. He even gave us a book on raising children God's way. I'm very grateful for that doctor. He was an answer to prayer.

When we choose to keep and do all that is written in God's Word, when we cleave to God, when we love Him, truly and fully love Him, we can turn around and face the minefield of mistakes we've made. He'll help us navigate through them. And if they are not our mistakes, but that of others, that affect us, He'll be with us along that path as well. But are we willing to trust Him? Can we fall to our knees in desperation to find His way through it? Are we willing to stop listening to the world, to the noises of the experts, the talk show hosts, the coffee group's take on the day's problems, and simply listen to Him?

I believe, when we do, we'll find peace and direction, like Dr. Atwood.

"Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:14-15


Forgiveness

Years ago, one of my daughters got caught doing something bad. We had a conversation and she said, "I'm sorry, will you please forg...