When the Reacher is on the floor…
The Hebrew word for "afraid" is "yare", which describes the emotion and intellectual anticipation of harm...what one feels may go wrong for him.
It is what all of us commonly experience when we become face to face with some kind of dreadful news which indicates the worse: devastating loss, prolonged pain and suffering, even death. We may have been diagnosed with cancer, MS, or other diseases and already be suffering from them. Or perhaps it is a circumstantial change which might alter our lives forever.
But "afraid" is not "afflicted"...it is the condition of despair while being afflicted.
David had these feelings many many times. He knew how many people wanted him dead, how Saul hated him. There were many men who would have delighted themselves to have taken his head on a platter and presented it to King Saul. So he spent a lot of time running from hiding place to hiding place to keep away from his enemy.
But it was only a FEELING. And David said, "whenever I have these feelings, I turn my thoughts in God's direction and trust in Him".
Before I had recent hip surgery, I went down to the local Senior Center to see if they would loan me some items I would be needing...a walker, and raised toilet seat. They also had an item called "a reacher", which would allow me to retrieve things on the floor without bending over. I did not get one, thinking it would not be necessary. But later when I returned home I discovered I could not put on my house slippers by myself. My neighbor, Laurie, was over helping me and she spied a long handled spoon on my bookshelf, given to me by my Russian friend Larissa when she was here. Laurie suggested I try using it to retrieve things and put on my house slippers. It worked really well. But then something unexpected happened yesterday...I dropped the "reacher" on the floor. There I was! Unable to reach for the reacher!
That made me think, "what does one do when the reacher is on the floor?"
One time I was in the mountains of Indonesia. We had visited some tribal peoples there, giving them the Word of God. It was an interesting culture; the women wore great gigantic hats and colorful garments. Their houses resembled a boat built on stilts. After two or three days there, we had to take a taxi-bus ride down the mountain. The terrain was steep and treacherous, and as we boarded the bus, Melanie and I were seated right next to the young driver. It was not very long until I realized this man was intent on setting some kind of speed record for getting us down to the city below. He passed everything on the road...bicycles, motorcycles, trucks, everything! As fast as he could travel without overturning!
I began to recite Proverbs 3:5 under my breath; "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path." On and on I kept quoting this famous scripture faster and faster as the young driver thrust us down the steep inclines. Finally Melanie (my travel companion) asked me, "what are you saying?"
"I am saying the Proverbs 3:5, Melanie, and I think it would help if you would say it with me real fast!" I answered. When we finally came off the mountain suddenly a big truck crossed in front of us. He put on brakes, as did our driver, and we slid within inches of hitting him broadside. All I could say was, "and He shall direct thy path and not into the side of that truck!"
Afraid? Yes indeed! Certainly with such a driver one could anticipate harm...but at such time, my thoughts were directed AWAY from that thought to thoughts of TRUSTING GOD. This is exactly what David had done. And it is the exact thing WE MUST ALWAYS DO when our "reachers fall on the floor!"
Many times when these circumstances arise, we think on the wrong thing. We began to entertain our "afraidness." We listen to the voices which feed our "afraidness." We look at them daily, hourly, until we begin to believe them.
Do you realize that Jesus confronted this very thing when a man came to him with a demonically possessed son? Jesus' disciples had tried to cast out the devils, but nothing had happened. And when he came to Jesus he confessed, "Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief!"
Yes, we may believe in God...that nothing is impossible with Him. But we struggle with our "afraidness"...that the worst will happen, that there will be no help. Yet this man looked to Jesus in trust...and Jesus healed his son!
The same is the answer for all of us going through trials of our faith. We cannot allow ourselves to wallow in our fears. We must change the video. We must see beyond our situations, our disease, our illness...over the horizon we must see ourselves doing those things that right now appear impossible. We must impregnate our minds with those visions and keep them fueled until they are finally manifested. And they will be! It was not long until I suddenly discovered a way to reach my reacher! The answer came as I trusted God!
"God will make a way, where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see...He will make a way for me. He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side. With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way. He will make a way!"
MARY E. ADAMS