UNEARTHLY THING◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
My relationship with God is like peeling an onion. When one trial, or lesson, or victory is overcome, and that layer is peeled away, then a fresh layer to conquer is revealed.
And like slicing through an onion, there are usually tears as the layers get worked away. Usually tears of repentance, revelation, and thanksgiving, instead of stinging fumes of onion-ness.
My layer of late is encountering God’s constant, attentive, loving help. His help is present in every situation (I’m already starting to tear up).
I am well aware of my need for help, especially from God. I guess awareness is the first step.
Somehow, my thick head (and heart) didn’t realize I could ask for His help with everything. I do mean everything. And that I should expect that I will receive this requested help, because that is part of God’s character. It is an outflow of His love.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible can be found in Hebrews 13:5-6, particularly in the Amplified Bible translation:
“He has said, ‘I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!’ So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say, ‘The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’”
God speaks with an exclamation point when it comes to His promises to us (see verse 5), especially regarding His ever-present help. There are many verses in the Bible that speak on this topic, but this one is special to me, because God spoke these words to me, so loudly and clearly in my spirit, in a time of great need, indeed.
I believe I have mentioned this incident in an earlier article, but it bears repeating, since I live with its aftermath every moment of the day (and night):
On March 9, 2018, I had a stroke. Actually, one big stroke and several small ones. Two days later, after I was moved into a regular hospital room, the neurologist was going over my MRI test results with my husband Tim, and me. The neurologist (as well as several other doctors) said it was a miracle that I was able to sit up and talk, and play Words with Friends on my phone.
At that moment, I so very clearly heard (and still hear) God say to me, “I will never, ever, ever leave you.” (Reaching for a tissue now…)
SO I should know that in my relationship with God, I am free to ask for help with everything. Do I? Hardly. But I’m learning.
In this new layer of learning, I am asking God for help with everything. The big stuff, and the small stuff.
And I am learning to expect help when I ask. And to ask in a big way—not just for “crumbs” from my Almighty God. As if He would only help me with the bare minimum…where did this frame of mind come from? God is awesome.
A week ago, Tim and I decided to try another attempt to shop at Trader Joe’s, during the pandemic. The last time we tried, there was a long, long line to get into the store due to social distancing. The line was in the hot sunlight, no shade. Excessive heat is not my friend (due to a prescription drug side effect), so we turned around, and went home…without the best rice crackers or Snickerdoodle cookies (both gluten-free, yay!).
But I love Trader Joe’s. I was born and raised in Southern California. There was always a Trader Joe’s nearby, loaded with tasty quality food at reasonable prices.
So on our second attempt at shopping at Trader Joe’s, I prayed there would be no line. I stopped myself from asking for a short line---that would be praying for “crumbs.” No line. I asked for no line.
And there was no line. We walked right in the store.
And we had the funds to stock-up on all our favorite foods, especially gluten-free items. This girl can’t consume gluten without swearing she might die during the next 48 hours after eating gluten (a symptom of systemic sclerosis). But God is good.
I was praising and thanking God all the while we shopped, and on the short drive home from downtown Nashville.
I am still praising and thanking God for His attentive and loving help. I am also thankful for:
God’s help with recording the audio books for my second and third novels. The stroke damaged my ability to read out loud. God met my plea for help with not only healing my ability, but the audiobooks came out awesome! God is good. I will say it again and again.
God’s help with recording vocals. The stroke took away my ability to apply singing techniques I have used all my life. Mentally, I could remember the mechanics of singing, but physically applying them was totally disconnected. God helped me get my voice back, and I have recorded vocals for a couple songs, and lead worship music at our church with my husband. So thankful.
God’s help with writing. As I am doing right now. In the weeks after the stroke, I found I could not spell (Spell Check is a close friend now), let alone string words together to complete a cognitive thought. So grateful.
It’s important to list out recent situations where God has helped me, as well state my gratitude. And I want to publicly give glory and honor to God.
This list is also a big part of my testimony of His very personal and powerful touch of healing on me. Yes, I had to do my part putting in the work to improve and/or relearn reading out loud, singing, and writing but He did the rewiring of my brain. I could not have accomplished anything without God, and His help.
If you are a person who is unsure about your faith and where it lies, please hear me when I say, God is here for you. Right next to you, as you read this. No matter what you are going through. He is our helper. All you have to do is ask. So why not ask Him today?
Start your own “onion journey.” It’s so worth it.
P.S. I am walking on this journey with you. Questions, or need a little word of encouragement? Please feel free to email me at email@example.com.
ANGELA DOLBEAR is the author of four novels, and several short stories. She also writes and records original music with her husband, Tim Dolbear. Please visit her author page on Amazon for more information.