In 2005 I was sitting in the audience of my church’s annual woman’s retreat. We had just come to a special time where women would choose a ribbon from a basket with a bible verse written on the opposite side. So many women were touched by these verses. We heard amazing testimonies year after year about how lives were changed as a result of receiving this scripture. It would appear as though God was speaking directly to them about specific circumstances in their lives. I never felt that way though. The scriptures did not seem to be really personal to me. Instead, it was just a nice colored ribbon with a scripture written on it. I really needed a word from the Lord in 2005 though. My tears had been my food for a while and I was really discouraged. For approximately five years my family had been under extreme financial insecurity and pressure. God seemed to be particularly silent while we were going through this. During this woman’s retreat, I was uncertain whether my family could keep our house, our cars, or continue to send our daughters to their private school. The pressure was real and all of that was weighing on my heart.
As the basket of scriptures was passed down to my row, I chose a thin pink ribbon. When I turned it over to see what scripture I had selected, I saw Exodus 33:21 written on it. I thought to myself, “That is what we need. An Exodus, a way out of this financial mess we placed ourselves in.” I looked up the scripture to see what the Lord had to say to me this year. Exodus 33:21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me and you shall stand on the rock.”
I felt nothing. It did not seem to address the hardship my family was going through. I thought, “ I shall stand on the rock? What in the world did that mean? The Rock of Revelation? “ I was depressed.
As I sat, quietly reflecting on the scripture, I had a memory of myself in elementary school. I was in the fourth grade in math class, quietly doing equations at my desk. I had on a pretty dress that my mother had laid out for me to wear to school. Suddenly a boy in my class grabbed the back of my chair and slammed it to the floor. I struggled to get out of the desk. I was on my back, with my legs in the air, and my dress flopping towards my face. The other children were laughing and I remember looking at the young teacher who was trying not to laugh at my awkward display. She screamed at the little boy and asked why he had done that. He yelled, “she talked about my dead Aunt!” But I had not said anything. I was working on math in silence. Clearly, my classmate was delusional. She sent us both to the principal’s office. He was there frequently, while I was never there…ever. Sending us to the Principal did not accomplish anything. This boy named Robert threatened me and said he was going to tell his cousin who was in junior high and that his cousin would fight me after school. I was literally terrified.
I was very petite, approximately 60 pounds, and looked young for my age. His cousin was large for her age and she probably had been held back a couple of times (trust me, I’m not exaggerating). She was as tall as my mother and a foul-mouth bully. During school, some friends of mine told me to sharpen some pencils and carry them with me in case I needed to stab someone during the fight. If that sounds shocking, I did live in the city of Detroit at the time and that was the way it was back in the 70’s. Others told me to lie and say I had a big brother; I did not have a big brother, I had a much younger brother who was 4 or 5 years old at the time. Basically, it did not look good for me.
Sure enough, as I was walking home, completely petrified, Robert with his giant cousin were waiting for me with a bunch of other kids who had gathered around them. She said, “I heard you talked about my dead momma.” I timidly assured her I did not but the crowd of children surrounded us and they expected a fight. I was surrounded with nowhere to turn. I could not even run away; I was trapped. This girl began to push me around and curse at me. All of a sudden the circle of children parted and I looked up to see my daddy. He was surprised to discover his little daughter inside the circle. He asked what was going on and older girl said, “this b*%^$ talked about my dead momma and I’m going to kick her a**!” My father said something to her and she began to curse him out and tell him what he’d better do. He took me by the hand, told the children to go home, led me to his car, opened the door and let me in. Once he started the car and began to drive off, I began to shake and sob uncontrollably as I looked out of the window. Have you ever been so afraid you can feel it in your soul? That’s how I felt, but my daddy had saved me. It was strange because he had been on his way to work. He never took that route, however on that particular day he did. He couldn’t see who was inside the circle but he stopped his car, determined to break up the fight.
The memory faded and the Lord spoke these words to me, “I sent him to you.”
Tears began to course down my cheeks as I reflected on the fact that my heavenly father sent my dad to rescue me then. I had walked into this retreat, feeling battered. But in that moment, my faith was strengthened and once again I believed.
If He rescued me then, He’ll rescue me now.
He had made a way of escape when I felt trapped. In that memory, He showed me that He was with me even when I did not know Him. When I was too small to see over the crowd He prepared a Rock for me to stand on for me to see out and others to see in.
I tell you this life story for those of you who have ever wondered, “where is the Lord in my own circumstance?” He is not a respecter of person’s, if He rescued me then He’ll rescue you. Hold on and don’t let go!
Keys to Hope:
- Sometimes there are things that you will need to pull yourself out of despair and into Hope.
- If you are feeling hopeless put yourself in a position to hear from God. It does not mean you will hear a voice, although you may. You could have a memory like I did, you may read a scripture that really speaks to you and or your situation. Take some time to be quiet and to still your mind. That may mean finding a quiet place (even if it is the bathroom with the door closed).
- Find some people who can speak into your life. Sometimes the very people who love you the most may give the worse counsel. Be careful who you allow to speak into your life. Do you belong to a church? If so, perhaps there are some leaders there who may be able to be a good sounding board. Sometimes it is a person who has gone through what you are currently going through who may be able to share important keys. Just make sure you do not keep it inside.
- It is natural to want to isolate yourself when you are overwhelmed. Instead of doing that, be courageous and speak to someone. Instead of running away, be like David and run towards your giants (problems) with the keys to remove them for good
~ Dr. Angela