As we continue to share about Guarding our Hearts we are now focusing on ‘COPING‘ – which is the last part of this series. How do we apply this knowledge to be able to cope with all the challenges that we are facing in our lives? The following are some of the Bible verses that I found empowering and strengthening for me to cope with my life challenges:
- ‘Keeping your heart with all vigilance for from it flows the springs of life’ Proverbs 4:23
- ‘Not being anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication…’ Philippians 4:6-7
- ‘Allowing God to create in you a clean heart and renewing a right spirit within you’ Psalm 51:10
- ‘Knowing that your flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of your heart and portion forever’ Psalm 73:26
- ‘Delighting yourself in the Lord to give you the desires of your heart’ Psalm 37:4
This is how I applied this knowledge in my life.
- Keeping my heart with all vigilance… I have for the past few years made a decision that in life there will be certain things and information that I will not allow into my heart and mind. Thus I chose not to take in for example all the lies that the devil tells me. The devil will whisper certain things in my heart and some of them would cause anxiety or fear in my life. At one point for example, I had a terrible pain on the side of my back and my mind went wild to a point of self-diagnosing my condition. You know what I mean… I thought maybe I have a dreadful disease that may shorten my life. I started thinking about my sister and younger brother who did not live to reach forty years and I thought I might also die before I reached fifty for I have been blessed to pass forty five. Because from the heart flows the springs of life I refused to take this self-diagnosis. I started praying hard to claim positive thoughts about my life and said to myself God has a good plan for my life and that is to live a long life full of blessings. I said to God ‘you said you will keep us fresh and green in our old age – Psalm 92:14 and also you will bless us with long life – Psalm 91:16’. Once I started saying these, the pain disappeared and I became healthy and today I am almost sixty years old and still healthy – Glory to Jehovah Raphah – our Healer! We thus need to keep good and positive thoughts in our hearts and not allow the things of this world to make us fearful.
- Not being anxious about anything… I realised that when we have bad or evil thoughts about us then we end up being anxious and fearful. If we keep our hearts with positive thoughts then we will not be anxious about anything but with prayer, supplication and thanksgiving present to God our requests. It is only when we do this, then will we experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. I remember once when I went to do tests at the hospital and was waiting for my results to come out. I sat at the waiting room anxious to such an extent that I started having pulpitations and shortness of breath. The people around me were concerned and the one lady who was sitting next to me – also waiting for her results, asked me if I was okay. I told her I was anxious about my results and she took out her Bible and read this verse [Philippians 4: 6] to me. I was amazed at the calmness that I received after we prayed together. God whispered to me that I should not panic as He is with us. I took a deep breath and afterwards started chatting to this good-hearted lady next to me. After waiting for a very long time she was called in and when she came out she said to me all is well with hers and that mine will be fine too. After a few minutes I was called in and the doctor told me all is well and I did not need to come back for more tests. It was at that moment that I realised that I could have gotten sick should I have continued worrying about my results. I now know that I don’t have to be anxious for anything in life as God is in control when we ask Him to intervene with faith.
- Allowing God to create in you a clean heart… There is a song ‘create in me a clean heart so I may worship you‘ which as I write this blog sings in my heart. Allowing God to create a clean heart in our lives gives us the opportunity to be still and know that He is God. All of our thoughts will be aligned to God’s purpose of our lives. A clean heart starts with faith. Faith of knowing that God loves us so much that He will not allow anything evil to happen to us and that in all things He will protect us. A clean heart is full of hope and love too. When we remember that God Almighty loves us so much that He gave us His only begotten son Jesus Christ to die for us on the Cross, we will always be able to cope in the challenges we face in life. A life full of love and not strife, bitterness and anger. Strife, anger, lies and bitterness destroy our joy and health. Releasing these and purifying our hearts from such are the only ways to live a healthy life. A clean heart is forgiving because it does not carry any unforgiveness. Letting go of all the wrongs we have done and those done to us by others is the key to having a clean heart. In my book ‘Divorce not the end of the Road’, I wrote a full chapter on forgiveness. Forgiving myself as a person for all the mistakes I have made in marriage life was crucial so I can also forgive others. During my divorce journey I realised that I needed a clean heart and through the process of loving myself and others, having hope in my life and other people’s lives and also forgiving myself and others, helped me to be where I am today. I also learned to quickly forgive and be set free.
- Knowing that your flesh and heart may fail… As human beings it is natural that our flesh and hearts may fail us. There is so much out there that may weakend our flesh and hearts. Temptation is galore! Even when we try to be strong sometimes our flesh just fails. I recall how many times when I am on my fasting journey especially in the beginning of the journey when I would feel so hungry that I would be tempted to want to shorten the journey. When I look back in all the years I walked this fasting journey, I am thankful to God that He gave me strength to go on walking until I finished my journey. When it became tough I would think about Jesus Christ who went on forthy days and nights with nothing in His mouth. I thought about the harsh terrain He was exposed to, yet some of us would sip water and sleep on a bed. Yet we still found the journey too hard. I guess my flesh’s weakness is not being able to stand hunger pangs. As these pangs hit on us we then think of food and thus we fail to cope with as our minds and hearts start failing too. I also recall when my heart failed to cope when my daughter called me to say she is involved in an accident. I had flushes of her dying and this made me weak to the extent that I could not even get into my car to go where she said she was. Fear of death just failed my heart and my whole body just collapsed. After a while I realised that this is just my heart failing and that there is Jehovah God Almighty who gives us strength in times like these. I gathered strength to pray and God gave me more strength to jump into my car to go to my daughter. I was even amazed at the speed at which I drove there. Thanks be to God because of the blood of Jesus that saved my daughter from a horrific accident when her car was a write-off.
- Delighting yourself in the Lord… Most of the time when we are in joy we forget about the goodness of the Lord and that all joy comes from Him. When all is well with us we forget to even pray. Only when something happens to us do we then call on to the Lord. Most of us when an accident happens we would say ‘O my God!’ Yet, we do not call on to Him when we think we are in control of our lives. One thing that we should remember is that the joy of the Lord is our strength. That we should rejoice in the Lord even in times of difficulty. As we delight ourselves in the Lord to give us the desires of our hearts we should always remember that all good gifts come from Him. I remember praying to God to give me a position at a place closer to home. One day as I was passing through the highway I saw this place called ‘The Innovation Hub’. I wondered what was happening in that Hub. I heard the Lord say to me – this is where you will work. Months after I received a call from a former colleague who offered me a position there. Today, eight years down the line I am still working there and I still thank God Almighty for giving me the desires of my heart. So when we pray to ask Him to give us the desires of our hearts, we must also once we receive the desires of our hearts, go back to thank Him for them. When we do this, we know that those desires will remain with us forever and thus we will delight ourselvs in the Lord forever and always.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you all the readers who took time to share your stories on Guarding Your Hearts. I pray that when you have comfort to openly share them, you would do that – so your stories would encourage others and give them hope.
In this new year I believe that the Lord wants us to share more of our life’s stories. I am praying to Him to give us guidance in this regard so we would share those things that He wants us to share with others. May 2018 be a glorious year to you, your families, work and communities.