When the righteous cry for help,
the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
That’s it? We just call out for help and we’re delivered? Seriously? I think so. I’ve been running a little experiment. I spent a significant time on this earth trying to figure out my own problems — my own troubles. Ummm….after analyzing the data it appears that my attempts to ‘figure out my own problems’ have resulted in actually making the problems — the troubles — grow in significance. Yeah.
So, you want a concrete example, huh? Well, let me see what I’ve got.
My freshman year of college, I felt life spiraling out of control — I had broken up with a long-term boyfriend, I was putting on weight, and, most importantly, I didn’t know who I was in the sea of faces who looked like they had it all together, knew exactly who they were, and knew exactly where they were going. So, I cried out for help, right? Nope. I took matters into my own hands. I embarked on a strict regimen of diet and exercise that would get my life “back under control” and “solve all my problems”. It worked, right? Nope. Oh yeah, I lost weight. A lot of weight. I got all kinds of accolades for being “so skinny”. But that didn’t make me feel better, it just put me under more pressure to maintain my skeletal self. I hadn’t solved my problems, I had buried my ‘self’ even deeper under more issues.
In fact, it wasn’t until the weight of all that pressure and confusion almost crushed me that I cried out, “Help!” As God would have it, I cried out in the presence of a nurse on my college’s campus and “just like that” I was being delivered. Her phone call, a friend’s transport to an appointment, a season of therapy and re-learning, and I was on the path to discovering who I am and what God has for me. It might have been easier if I would have cried out to God a little earlier. But here’s the thing, God uses “all things”.
Since that time in the mid 1980s I have shared my story so often that I feel like the whole world must know it by now. Certainly many of you who are reading this right now are saying, “Yeah, yeah, the anorexia bit…blah, blah, blah.” But I won’t ever stop telling this story. Ever. Because every time I tell it, someone comes to me later and says, “Really, you had an eating disorder? Can I talk to you?” “How did you recover?” “What is life like now?” “Would you mind reaching out to my daughter/sister/friend/cousin?” God uses “all things”.
Just today I woke up to find a message from a former student. She had interviewed me during her senior year for a film project on eating disorders. She’s been struggling through her freshman year of college — trying to figure out who she is. She remembered my story and wanted to let me know. She said, “sharing your story with me has inspired me and has let me know that everything will be all right.” Yup, it will, my dear. But, don’t do what I did, cry out for help, now! You will be delivered.
I am a slow learner; you’ve figured that out by now. That lesson was in the 1980s and I am learning it again now — in 2014. When life started spiraling out of control several years ago, when I was in a new situation with tons of stressors and very few outlets, I was overwhelmed! So, I cried out to God, right? Nope. I soldiered up and worked harder, faster, longer, trying to work everything out on my own.
I’m beginning to realize that my strategy made my problems bigger — marital stress, family dysfunction, and guys, two medical professionals have hinted that my health issues may be the result of prolonged stress. There, I said it.
Why do I have to get to this point before I call out for help? He says, when we cry for help He delivers us. Well, kids, I’m crying out for help — for my health, for my family, for our future. And, I am confident of this He will deliver me.
I remain confident in this: I will see the goodness of the Lord…