If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet (Prov 3:24).
The real beginning of this verse is in Proverbs 3:21, which we looked at last week. My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion… (Proverbs 3:21, NIV). Verse 24, tells us that, as we keep His wisdom in sight, it gives us a feeling of peace and security.
As I read today’s verse, I am reminded of two journeys I began, one in September 2010 and another, about a year later, in October 2011. These were difficult times, where I watched loved ones battle terrible medical problems.
In September 2010, my husband had a procedure to resolve chronic pain in his upper right abdomen. Doctors were concerned that he might have restriction in the Sphincter of Oddi – the muscular bundle surrounding the common bile duct. The reasons behind this diagnosis were complicated and confusing (even to the doctors, it seemed!). But the recommended treatment, a sphincterotomy, resulted in a worse outcome than the original problem.
Scott developed Pancreatitis, which crippled him for a month, during which time my 6’2″ athletic husband, went from 200 pounds to 178 pounds. This disorder literally brought him to his knees. He has chronic problems that developed during that time, that have remained with him, and that he battles daily.
Before he went in for the procedure, I was overcome by fear. I felt sure that he had to pursue this treatment, but I also had serious concerns about how he would fare afterward. We both look back on this time and are amazed at how God led us thorough it.
My mother, the spiritual Rock of Gibraltar, came to stay with us and held us up with her prayers and her faith. My husband still laughs, about how (at first) he bitterly endured her sunny attitude. She welcomed every morning with her, “I just know today’s going to be a good day! The Lord is with us. Scott, you are going to be doing better before you know it.” It took a lot longer for him to get on his feet than anyone expected and, at first, I just wanted to hide under the covers every day. He could not work, walk, eat, sleep…but slowly we started to believe her.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Prov 9:10). My mother is a woman who fears the LORD. Fear of the LORD is the understanding that He is awesome and powerful and holds everything, everything, in His Hands. And Momma has always shown me that knowing the LORD well, teaches us that He is good. When we know that He is all-powerful, but also trustworthy and good, this is all we need to explain the unexplainable.
Next week, I will share about the “unexplainable” thing that happened to my mom in 2011. We learned so much from those times that, as bad as they were, we all can look back on them with gratitude now. Hard times seem like troublesome rocks in our paths that cause us to stumble, but looking back, they are the memorial stones that mark our journey. These are the times we have walked closest with God. When we look to Jesus we see why:
In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he [Jesus] suffered. (Hebrews 2:10).
Jesus’s work on our behalf was perfected in His own suffering. How should we be any different than He is? His work in us, is perfected in our suffering…when our hearts are teachable. My mom always says, “Don’t waste the pain.” God’s ways are never random or arbitrary. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
In the world we see many people who suffer, and it causes them to stumble. They do not turn to God, instead, they turn to themselves, away from Him. Their growth is stunted, their hearts are embittered. My friend Elizabeth says, “Difficulties can make you bitter, or they can make you better; the difference is taking the ‘I’ out of the situation.”
I count it as such a blessing that we can look back and see God’s Hand in every trial, we see His teaching and His rescue mission… When we keep the God’s wisdom in sight, it gives us peace and security.