Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
This is absolutely one of my favorite verses…so much so that I even set it to music. Think about it…how many times a day do we have the opportunity to be dismayed? Webster defines dismay as, “to cause to lose courage or resolution; to upset or perturb.” “The thief (Satan) comes to steal, kill and destroy” and might I add, to cause us to be dismayed. (John 10:10) Steal, kill and destroy what? Whatever he can…our peace, our joy, our health, our finances…just our general well-being. Does he do it by cataclysmic occurrences that permanently alter our life? Ninety-nine percent of the time…No! He does it by seemingly insignificant, little nit-picky annoyances that never seem to come one at a time, but in duplicate or triplicate form! Let me give you a perfect example and one that prompted this devotional. (“By the way Lord, why do you keep giving me personal examples? Can‘t I just use someone else‘s?”) Anyway, one morning I was absolutely determined to get to work on time. (Those who know me know what a challenge that is in itself!) I was really doing quite well time wise and so I decided to do something I’d been meaning to do for a while…set off some flea bombs under my house. Yes, you read that right… flea bombs. Although I have no animals in my house, I have a number of cats outside and have surprisingly found a few of the pesky critters trying to invade my domain. I thought since the cats often take refuge under the house, the fleas might have come up from there. I decided I would set off the bombs right before leaving for work. With bombs in hand, along with all of my other paraphernalia, I shut the back door. The open soft drink bottle in my hand slipped and fell on the ground. Before I could retrieve it, half of my morning Dr. Pepper was watering the grass! I picked up the drink, found some Kleenex and wiped off the dripping bottle. “Oh, well”, I said to myself, “I will not be dismayed. I didn’t need but half of that sugar anyway.” I put the remainder of my stuff in the car and refocused on my mission…the flea bombs! It was no easy task since my house is enclosed with siding, but I found a small breach, pulled back the excess panel and after practically standing on my head was able to activate the first can and throw it under. I was making progress. I took the second can, got on my knees to see what I was doing, activated the can and threw it under. It hit one of the air conditioning ducts, bounced back and was thoroughly spraying the cement support nearest the opening. I retrieved it to try again! I have to stick my whole head under the house while holding my breath to keep from inhaling the poisonous fumes. I grab the spewing can and try to take aim so that I don’t hit something else and have it boomerang back in my face. I close the door (with no little effort!), get up off the ground (with no little effort!), dust off my knees and say, “I absolutely refuse to be dismayed!” I then make my way to the car and head off for work. When I look at the clock, I know I will be at least ten minutes late…again!!!
Do you think I meant this to be funny? Of course I did! I thought you could use a laugh today. But do you get the moral of the story also? We have opportunities each day and usually very early in the day to allow “the thief” to steal our joy and peace. It is entirely up to us whether or not he is successful. I could have fussed and fumed and stomped and kicked the cat! (And I’m not saying I wasn’t tempted.) But my day would have pretty much been ruined. So, when the enemy comes bringing circumstances the size of elephants, OR fleas…stand up…look up and declare...“Lord, I will not be dismayed!”