Friday, June 10, 2011

That I dealt the spirit of fear a major blow

Some years ago, I passed through a shadow of deep depression when I was convinced that I must be dying of something really serious. In retrospect, I call it ‘hypochondria’ but it was absolutely terrible at the time. I’d look at the three sweet faces of my children and groan deep inside my heart, convinced that I’d never live to see them grow up. It was all I could do those few months to get out of bed and plod along without bursting into tears. I’d been to doctors, who were not encouraging and suggested alarming tests for various conditions. I was terrified of going through with the tests, but just as petrified not to.
One evening while I was out walking, a sudden thought popped into my head. I wondered if depending on these gruff doctors’ dire words and grueling tests for absolute proof might mean that I was ‘relying on the horses and chariots of Egypt,’ as it says of the Israelites in the Book of Isaiah. The more I pondered it, the more reasonable it seemed that modern people may find it too easy to rely on medical ‘horses and chariots’ for their well-being.
I said one of my most heartfelt prayers ever. I asked God to please send me a sign that He loved me and would bring me through this heartbreaking trial. I felt so sick and exhausted that I wanted to receive an unmistakable sign before the end of the night! I don’t think I can wait another day! And Lord, just so that I’ll be sure to recognize your sign, could it please include something about Egypt?
I went home longing to see something as simple as an image of a Pharaoh or pyramid on TV. How I would have pounced on that as a possible ‘sign’ but nothing happened. There was an illusion to north east Africa in a book I was reading, but I miserably dismissed that as too vague. At last I went to bed disappointed and flipped open a little book that I’d borrowed earlier that day from my in-laws. It was an old book from the 1960s, “None of these Diseases” by S. I. McMillen. There staring up at me on the very second page was a quote from the Bible and it was Exodus 15: 26. If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you.
Those written words caused something like a bolt of electricity to pour through me. The tears I cried were full of relief and joy for the first time in months, instead of terror and fear. I had my first sound night sleep for a very long time. In the morning I felt confident that I could cancel those looming tests. By far best of all, I’ve been able to cling to those beautiful promises of Exodus 15: 26 whenever I’ve felt looming anxiety about some health issue, and immediately, my spirit begins to rest.
Do you agree that this was a wonderful, generous sign from God? Every so often, in my depressed moments, the thought crosses my mind, "It was just a coincidence!" Then when I remember the remarkable accuracy and impeccable timing, I find my courage renewed again.


  1. I believe it Paula, absolutely. There is no such thing as coincidence, only God incidents. We serve a creative, personal and wonderful God, who knows the deepest recesses of our hearts. xx

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this, Paula. It takes immense courage to bare your very soul like this - and in public.

    I had a comparable experience when I was still classroom teaching. (I retired in 2004 after 35 years.) The stress of teaching brought me to the point of being diagnosed as "clinically depressed" and one day an almost audible voice said as I walked to the car: "You've left the classroom for the last time." And so it turned out. I only ever returned to gather my belongings. After a few months of sick leave bathed in the prayers of many, the voice returned: "The time is right." I had been asking God whether I should retire and take up writing full time, a decision which has been so blessed in so many ways.

    And the depression? Again the voice said: "You are now better." Like a switch being flicked I was 100% again. Sure, I've had a few setbacks and few days feeling down, but nothing like the helplessness felt earlier.

    Thank you again for sharing.

  3. Thanks, Trevor.
    You're right, I almost decided not to share this, yet felt convicted that it may help and encourage others through their own walks.
    I'm glad you shared your experience with me, too. Times like these are milestones and prove that God really does care about the details of our lives and want to communicate with us.

  4. And thanks, Nicole,
    I believe you're absolutely right.

  5. I love how God turns up when we are at our lowest. Beautiful post Paula

  6. Absolutely believe it Paula, it's a warm and loving sign from a warm and loving Father! Whenever this happens, the enemy is so quick to jump in and whisper, 'It's just a coincidence.'
    I've had a couple of God-instances like that, and it gives you the goosebumps when it happens. It also has you grinning like an idiot. xxx

  7. Thanks Michelle and Lyn,
    I love experiencing and hearing about 'God-instances' like this.

  8. Thanks Paula for sharing this story. What I would call a God incidence. I love how God does things like that!

  9. Hi Dale,
    I love them too, especially when they are so clear and unexpected.


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