FIRST-PERSON: When your world gets turned upside down

EASLEY, S.C. (BP) -- Back in the days of cassette tapes, I sent my dad a copy of a message I had preached on Psalm 46:1. Little did I know how much he would need that message when I dropped it in the mail.

The message was titled, "When Your World Gets Turned Upside Down." Not long after mailing that tape, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

What do you do when one of your greatest fears becomes a reality? Dad decided to take a walk! What happened on that walk made all the difference.

As Dad walked around the block worrying about my mother, the Lord brought Psalm 46:1 to his mind. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (NIV). Dad later told me he started saying that verse aloud as he walked. The neighbors must have wondered what he was doing as he made lap after lap around the block talking to himself.

I asked Dad how many times he went around the block and he said, "I don't know. I just kept walking and quoting that verse until I believed it."

If your world has been turned upside down recently, then you understand the battle between fear and faith. Perhaps you have experienced the death of a loved one, or your marriage is over, or your health is suddenly gone. You have every reason to fear because the future is very uncertain. However, in this time of turmoil as a follower of Christ, just remember that He is still God and you are still His. Things may be out of your control, but they are never out of His control.

Mark Hall, from Casting Crowns, has written a song about his own experience with cancer. One line in the song says, "There's a place where fear has to face the God you know." I love that line because it summarizes the hope of every believer.

When God is your refuge, you have a shelter to run to in the hard times.

When God is your strength, you have a resource to face today's battles.

When God is your ever-present help, you have someone to support you.

When your world is turned upside down, God's promise is that you don't have to go through those days of desperation by yourself. You have a loving heavenly Father who will be your refuge, your strength and your help.

For years after my mom's cancer diagnosis, whenever Dad met someone who was having a hard time, he would tell them about Psalm 46:1 and he would give them a cassette copy of my message. God ministered to him in an undeniable way and he wanted to point others to that same source of hope.

Mom and Dad are both in heaven now, but I think he would like for me to tell you what he learned that day as he walked around the block quoting Scripture.

Fear fades when you put your hope in God alone.

Keith Shorter is pastor of Mt. Airy Baptist Church in Easley, S.C., and immediate past president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
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