"Oh Lord, preserve my faith. Preserve my faith, O Lord!" I found myself praying that
prayer—again. You see my husband, Bob, of 32 years, fainted and fell October of 2013; he sustained a traumatic brain injury. Twelve days later my mother died. My world crumbled. The grief was unbearable. I thought I would die of a broken heart. During those dark days it was almost impossible to think, let alone pray. Most days I could only utter a one-word prayer,
"Jesus." I pleaded with God to heal Bob, but I also found myself praying,
"Oh God, preserve my faith." I wrestled and struggled with doubts about what I believed.
Did I really believe all that I had taught or had written to encourage
others in their faith? But where could I go?
To whom could I turn? Who else is there besides the Lord? And who else has opened the gates of heaven to sinful mortal
souls and holds the words of eternal life?
Then God in his providence preserved my husband's life and over the course of seven months brought him back from death's door. Bob still has many physical and mental deficits. He can't be left alone. Even so, he has made much progress, and this gives me hope! But it is not clear whether he will be completely restored on this side of heaven. I question, "Are you there Lord? Do you care?"
My daughter had been urging me to do something for myself. So I took her up on it. She would "watch" dad, while I went for a bike ride—something normal! I took my familiar route to the ocean inlet. It was a beautiful morning with bright, clear blue skies, puffy white clouds, and an easy breeze for biking.
As I peddled, I prayed, "Lord, preserve my faith. I need you to help me. I can't do this!" When I reached the inlet pathway, I noticed it had been re-landscaped. It was beautiful, but now unfamiliar. At the mouth of the inlet, just before it spills into the ocean, sits my prayer rock. When I stepped onto it, a thought came to me, "Everything else might look different, but my rock hasn't changed. It's firm and secure. And is this not what the Scripture says about God?"
My soul groaned deep within and I cried out, "Lord I need to hear from you. I need to know that you are there, and that you care. Please let me hear from you today! Don't remain silent. Please Lord, speak to me!" Then, as is my custom, I turned to the passage in Psalms that matched the date. I read,
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge . . . Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. . . .
I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. . . .
Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. . . .
In my alarm I said, "I am cut off from your sight!" Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. . . .Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:1-24 (NIV).
Had I ridden my bike the day before or after the 31st of the month, the passages in Psalm 30 and Psalm 1 say nothing about a rock. But God in his mercy reminded me that he knows what is happening, and cares! He is teaching me to trust that he is the One in whom I can rest and depend! He is working out his plan, in his time.
Dear friends, if you too are walking an unfamiliar path in life. I urge you to step onto the Solid Rock. Call on the Lord Jesus, take refuge in him; he is our Sure Foundation!
Copyright 2014 - Sarah A. Keith
Update: It is now the summer of 2019. Bob has come a long way in speech, understanding, and the ability to walk. Yet he still cannot be left alone. These past five years have continued challenging my faith. I struggle with doubts, insecurities, fear, and burn out from care-giving; my health has been adversely affected too. Even so, God continues to show up in unique and undeniable ways. He continues preserving my faith when I think I can't take one more step. The Lord continues to prove his faithfulness, even when I am faithless--because as the Scriptures promise, he cannot deny himself! (2 Timothy 2:13) That's God's promise to his children when we are weak in our faith!
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