What's your first reaction to stepping out into the unknown? Mine is fear.
It's not the kind of teeny, tiny, brush-away-the-fly kind of fear. It's generally out and out terror. That's why I need to go slowly. And I want to go forward with my eyes wide open so I can see God's hand at work on my behalf.
This first step together is a powerful and very personal one. The Lord delivered it to me in an odd way, through a song. But the biblical message is pure Truth.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 NIV1984
This is how my mind and heart responded to the first verse when God delivered it to me.
How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
For some reason the words grabbed my full attention. Is was as if God were speaking directly to me, Sandra Allen Lovelace. Maybe it was because the song was being addressed to the saints of the Lord and I recognize myself in the term saints. It's not because I'm super-duper or sin-free. It's a term God uses for all those who have trusted Christ.
I was overwhelmed as I was reminded about the firmness, the reliability, the security of God's Word. It is indeed excellent. And it's the very basis upon which my faith is built. It's not something I cooked up in my imagination. God's Word is Truth. Truth is the foundation of my faith. I realized afresh that my faith is unshakeable. Hallelujah!
What more can He say than to you He has said, to you who to Jesus for refuge have fled?
YES, I never thought about it that way. What more could God possibly say to mankind, to me, to you than He has already said in His Word? Everything I need to know about God, the world, myself, or my relationships has already been recorded by the Spirit of God and protected through the ages. The Word is not just one true statement. The Word is not even just the Gospel. The Word communicates what God wants me to know from beginning to end. I am speechless when I consider the expanse of the Word.
And then comes the clincher.
to you who to Jesus for refuge have fled
That's me and that's what I did more than 40 years ago. I ran to Jesus. I needed peace in the midst of chaos. I was confused and harried and hopeless. I had nowhere else to go and I knew it. The song says it correctly. I fled, to the only place I knew I could find refuge. Jesus took me in His arms, the heavenly sanctuary.
I relived that day in my memory.
Do you remember your salvation day?
Were you as desperate as I was?
Can you remember the feeling of relief?
All the concepts of the verse washed over me:
the firm foundation
laid for my faith
His excellent Word
what more can He say?
to me who fled to Jesus
I decided almost immediately that I needed to embed these words and this message in my heart and mind. I printed off a copy of the lyrics and I'm learning them verse by verse. Sometimes I make it along just fine. Other times I'm overcome with emotion and have to pause. When I'm singing it's as if my soul is in deep communication with the Holy Spirit. It's something I don't think I've ever experienced before.
I pray I've been able to give you a sense of the conversation God was having with me through these lyrics. Perhaps even now you too can hear Him speaking to your heart of these wondrous things. Hmmm, maybe you'd like to learn the hymn along with me.
Believe it or not, 'How Firm a Foundation' was written by John Rippon way back in 1787. Here's a recording to help us on our way.
If you know anyone else who could use a firm foundation to head into 2015, share this post with them. They will be grateful.