My friend Ve is suffering, again. She has a weakness in her back so that when she turns just a little bit wrong or over extends herself she has terrible pain for several weeks.
I called her that day because I knew that she was having another bout with her back. She was crying so hard when she answered the phone that I could hardly understand her.
"Lynnda, if I could get off this bed, I would crawl into my closet and shut the door," she said between sobs.
This was more than back pain. Ve was just this side of hysterical.
She proceeded to tell me that someone from the company's home office in Chicago was coming to New Orleans to see her husband. Everybody in the company was cut to a four-day workweek several months prior to this. Now she was afraid that he would be laid off. It was one of her worse nightmares. The more she thought about it, the more panic took control.
Ve has spent her whole life battling the fear and panic that set in when she would think things like what if this or that happens, I need to have my eyes checked -am I losing my vision or has this mole become cancer? Her overactive imagination fed every fear she had until it became a monster in her life.
In years past, she would literally shut herself off from everyone - including her husband - and live paralyzed by her fears. This time was different. Panicked though she was, she reached out.
First, she reached out to her husband and asked him what he thought the visit meant. He told her he didn't know. Then she reached out to me. Together, we looked at the worst possible outcome. Suppose her husband lost his job; what was the worst thing that could happen?
QUESTION: "Would they still have each other, their home, their health, resources to keep food on the table and the bills paid?"
RESPONSE: "Yes, all of that was true."
QUESTION: "In the forty-one years they had been married, had her husband ever failed to take care of her and their family?"
RESPONSE: "No, he is a prince among husbands."
QUESTION: "What about God, had He failed her when the Katrina floods hit them or the following year when her Mother died unexpectedly?"
RESPONSE: "No, God had never failed her."
"So," I asked her, "what does your fear and panic say about how much you trust God and your husband to care for you?"
In the silence, I could sense her thinking about the answers to that question.
RESPONSE: "I think I need to hang up, find my husband, and apologize. Then I'll ask God to forgive me for not trusting Him."
Ve took action on her words. While a little apprehension about the unknown remained, the overwhelming fear and panic were gone, which was good because the worst happened. Her husband lost his job.
By the time Ve learned about it, she had already spent much time alone with God and the news didn't shake her. Her back was slowly getting better, but the marvelous miracle was the healing of her emotions.
A day or two later, she was in her quiet time with God when she asked Him why she had the painful times with her back. I will let Ve tell you in her own words what she learned.
"During prayer time with the Lord, I asked, after having been basically bedridden with a bad back for several weeks, "Lord, just tell me why you put me through this? Why over and over do you put me through this?" Just as fast as the words were out of my mouth the Lord replied, "I will give you four reasons why I keep placing you under these trials. The first is this. I do it to drive you to your knees because when everything is going along comfortably, inevitably, you stray from me and I have to bring you back to My side. The second is this: I give you these trials as a training ground to prepare you for the greater trials to come. The third is this: I do it so that in the trials in which you find yourself, you may be a witness to others by the attitude you carry in those trials. The fourth is this: I do it to create for Myself yet another opportunity to prove myself Faithful!" Awesome, huh? I just sat there a moment and let it sink in."
Ve's example, her courage to change and the insights she gained from her trials, may be just what you need. If not, I still challenge you to ask yourself the questions I asked Ve. Then ask God to teach you to trust Him more.