Surely my God is the strength of my soul,
His love defends me.
~ Matt Maher lyrics
I woke up this morning and declared a truth about myself to start my day off right, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” Why did I do this? Well, yesterday I found myself struggling with discouragement and no apparent reason. The only thing apparent around me was a dirty house so I decided to attack what I could see and got busy. While I cleaned there came random thoughts about a comment made to me by a nurse who had retired from her job at the local hospital and was attending a Bible study I had gone to for the first time yesterday morning. She came up to me after the study and reintroduced herself and asked me how I am doing. She is a very sweet person, and I remembered how kind she was when it was her task to tell me that it appeared on my mammogram that I had a tumor. She actually had to call me after my biopsy to confirm that I had cancer and help me get scheduled with a surgeon. I hadn’t seen her since that experience because my surgery and treatments have been in another hospital.
Thoughts about where I’ve been, what I’ve come through during that time frame since I last saw my new Bible study mate, and where I am now, were dropping into my mind periodically as I cleaned. When I finally got done it was late so I threw on my pajamas and sat down in my now clean study. Immediately, I felt the Lord tell me to read Chapter One of this new course I am taking. When I opened the workbook and began to read, I realized that all of those thoughts dropping into my mind and this struggle with discouragement were not going unnoticed by the Lord because He has given me tools to help me heal spiritually and mentally, just as He has healed me physically. Almost the first thing I read was about King David who was greatly distressed. It said, “…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (I Samuel 30:6) I went on to learn that “encourage” in Hebrew means to rebuild, repair and put back together. God used the words in this first lesson to encourage me that there is no mistake in my taking a course addressing this type of godly encouragement on a personal and corporate level for Christians and the Body of Christ. We need it!
Once I was up and moving with coffee in hand this morning, I returned to my study and looked up Psalm 139:14 and found that Bible Hub has it in so many translations! (Read them all and be encouraged!) My favorite is when King David wrote that he was fearfully and wonderfully made, “and that my soul knoweth right well.” Your soul knows that you are all of that, and God doesn’t ever want you to forget it.
After reading all the versions of Psalm 139, I opened a devotional and found a reference to Psalm 73. It says:
“Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.”
I was reminded immediately of a night when I had a vision (I guess you call it a vision. It seemed very real to me!) I was going to sleep and singing praises to God when a portal to Heaven opened above me and suddenly I found myself behind something which seemed very solid and white. It was huge and I was sitting with my back up against it. Finally, I gained enough nerve to scoot to the edge and and peek around. I remember seeing a very rich deep green. I was pressed against the throne and this large hand came down and took my right hand and gently held it. It was very comforting. Days later when I thought about this experience I was remembering John 14:20-21 where Jesus tells His disciples that they will know that He is in the Father and they are in Him and He is in them, and how it applies to us believers now. I also was considering Ephesians 1:20 which says that we are seated with Jesus in Heavenly places where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. For weeks these scriptures had been coming alive within me in a new way. Now I realized that if Jesus was seated at the Father’s right hand, that space would be taken, but I was peeking out from behind the Father’s throne (don’t ask how I knew, I just knew!) on the left side and there didn’t seem to be anyone sitting on that side. God was putting down His left hand taking me by the right hand. God was showing me what a loving parent might do if his child crept in during an important meeting by reaching down and lovingly holding my hand quietly for a few seconds. He was aware and with me. I wrote the vision down in my prayer journal a few months ago and hadn’t thought about it until this morning when I read in my devotional a word from the Lord saying, “Yet I am with you always holding you by your right hand. I am fully aware of your situation, and I will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear.” (Jesus Calling, February 27th) It struck me as such a good word to hear this morning after pondering on King David encouraging himself in the Lord last night.
Although I’ve read through the Bible many times, I really began to study Psalm 73 about the same time I had the vision behind the throne. I was looking for a verse that talked about “my portion”. A song entitled “Your Love Defends Me” touched me deeply, and I wondered if the author of the song had drawn the lyrics from a psalm so I did a search. It was not in any of the scriptures I thought it might of come from, but Psalm 73 seemed to capture much of what the song was saying. So just as I would remember a verse of the song when the going would get a little tough, I memorized a verse:
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Until this morning, I hadn’t connected the verse about God holding my right hand, but I am so glad to have found it! I had to stop writing this post to go for a checkup with my cancer surgeon, and two and one-half years after surgery it is still a bit daunting. Amazingly, it was not the breast cancer that caused me the worst problems. Nor was it the surgery and treatment for the breast cancer. It was the medication to prevent it from coming back that caused me such mayhem. As my doctor and I reviewed it all today, I was amazed at all I’d come through! She gave me a thumbs up and told me to keep on improving my life. When the cancer hit, I had just written a book and was producing and airing a radio program on Christian radio for the first time in a number of years. These were big steps to have taken and they were taken in faith. It was a bit of a Job experience – totally devastating and unexpected. I literally laid my work down. I did not promote my book. I took the radio program off the air. It is the oddest thing to feel like you’ve had a life, but you haven’t shown up for about two years. So when I read that in Hebrew “encourage” means: to rebuild, repair and put back together , I can only wonder at where the Lord will begin!
The song’s verse that I so often repeat is:
Surely my God is the strength of my soul, His love defends me.
Matt Maher is a gifted musician and song writer. The Lord uses him mightily to minister to the faithful and those who are seeking. I thought perhaps you might enjoy this video which includes the lyrics to His Love Defends Me.
I am writing all of this to encourage you, dear one! The Lord would “repair, rebuild and put you back together”! He is working on me. He will surely go to work on you. Ask Him!
In Him we live, and move and have our being,
Matt Maher shares the story behind the song Your Love Defends me. Click here if You’d like to listen : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnKYMjHkwdQ
© 2018 Nancy H. Montgomery. All Rights Reserved.