Pastor Joe Miller IV
I recently received the news that an old friend of mine, Steve Shipman, had passed away. We used to hunt, fish, and work on trucks together. He had a fence installation service, and I started working with him. It was February of 1981, and we were doing a job in Markle when we heard some cries for help. We started looking in the direction of the cries and after about 20 minutes we came across an older man who was putting wood duck nesting boxes up across a pond and had fallen through the ice. Thankfully there had been a fallen tree that he could hold onto. By the time we found him, he was completely exhausted, but he still had a grip on that tree. I ran to the neighbor's house, got a ladder, and pushed it out to him. I then climbed out while Steve held one end of the ladder on the bank. I grabbed the man, but we both ended up under the ice. By God’s grace (and a couple of guys who refused to lose grip), we ended up safely on the bank where an ambulance was waiting. A few days later, I visited the old fellow in the hospital, and this time his countenance was a little different. When I first found him, he was in a life or death situation. A couple of days later in the hospital, I found him dry, warm, alive, and happy. Sometimes we find ourselves physically in situations that look hopeless, but God has given all of us that will to live, to dig down deep, to put on that “don’t quit” attitude. How much more important is it as Christians, spiritually, that we hold tight to the wisdom of Creator God and retain it.
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
Like my encounter with the older gentleman who fell through the ice: a situation that looked hopeless with the ice, the water, the fear, the loneliness. He ‘laid hold’ of the tree and didn’t quit - ultimately ending up at home dry, warm, and happy. Often, I have found myself spiritually in a situation similar to this that God has allowed, and I go to Psalm 77. The writer of Psalm 77 is in an afflicted, troubled, and overwhelmed state, but he seeks after God’s wisdom and God’s perspective.
Verse 1. I cried out to God.
Verse 2. I sought the Lord.
Verse 3. I remembered.
Verse 5. I considered.
Verse 6. I call to remembrance.
Verse 10. I will remember the years of the right hand of the most high.
Verse 11. I will remember the works of the Lord and Thy wonders of old.
Verse 12. I will meditate also of Thy work and talk of Thy doings.
The first 12 verses record a man in dire straits who doesn’t just curl up and die. Even in his trouble, he seeks and lays hold of the wisdom and greatness of his God. In verses 13-20, he gains a new or refreshed perspective that our God was in control at creation, He is in control today, and will be in control tomorrow. Joy and happiness come when he reminds us in verse 20 that God is not only Creator and Sustainer but our Shepherd and Heavenly Father. Lay hold of that truth, my friend, and it should put joy in your heart and a smile on your face.