Stuck in 1 Samuel

Thanks to you Facebook friends for jumping over here! While studying God’s Word this week, and dealing with another dose of fear/anxiety, I came across something that really spoke to me. I’m sure some of you have read this scripture before, and hopefully some of you can help me better understand it.

Most of you know I had a heart attack back on 10/29/11, 100% blocked left anterior descending artery (AKA “the widow maker”). 2012 was the worst year of my life. Went to the ER three times (once while on vacation) because I thought I was having another heart attack. Those are the thoughts of lots of people who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks. Chest pains that mimic heart attacks.

To make a long story short, I went to healing prayer and have had a much better past four months. I have only had less than a handful of smaller bouts with anxiety, compared to fighting it daily – leaving my job – not bringing in money for maybe a week at a time while working from home. Lots of people always tell me that God isn’t the bearer of trouble (but satan is). Same questions people ask when things like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina hit and mess with the lives of every type of people.

I truly believe that God allows things to happen like that, how can you not. If He doesn’t have everything under control, He would not be God. I believe He had my heart attack under control, that it was part of His plan. Sure, like a parent, He didn’t enjoy handing it to me…..but there was a reason for it. I can actually sit here today and thank Him for letting it happen. He knows why.

So I come across 1 Samuel 16 this week, where it shares (starting in verses 14-16) that “Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. 16Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.”

God has control of harmful spirits? Even though I’ve been in the church for most of my life, this seriously knocked me over. One thing that has really helped me fight these physical pains and smaller attacks that I sometimes get is listening to instrumental music. Kind of ironic that Saul ended being put at ease by David playing the harp for him? I also believe that God has a plan through all of this, and part of me is not obeying or listening to more of what God is saying.

This week I have started to wonder if maybe that’s why I am in the position I am in. I know God wants my attention, but is He really hurting me until He gets all of it? Like Saul, I know God is using me at the moment. But I guess that doesn’t mean He won’t use both the good and the bad for His glory in my life.

Thanks for decided to come over and read this, I’d be glad to hear your thoughts in the comments below – and discuss it with you. My prayer is that we are all chasing after the plans God has for us, through the best and worst moments in life. Thanks!!!

  1. Good thoughts and questions. Panic/anxiety attacks are miserable. I know first hand. Does God allow us to suffer so we’ll learn something? I believe the answer is yes. In the last couple of days I read something that made a lot of sense. Roughly it goes like this, “sometimes we cannot begin to depend on God to supply our needs until we have nothing left. We keep a reserve in case God doesn’t come through. Sometimes he allows that reserve to be depleted to we have to depend on him.” That made me question, “Have I ever truly and completely depended on God, or do I have a crutch hidden somewhere?”

    Secondly, regarding the anxiety/panic, here’s a quote from @loswhit that I have kept and refer to when necessary:

    ““Breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth…
    And remind myself that anxiety may be able to borrow my body for a moment but it can’t have my spirit.”

  2. I don’t know much about anxiety attacks and thought about commenting about Saul and the reasons that the Spirit left him or talking about how the Spirit doesn’t leave us now. But really by commenting I’m just trying trying to be Jonathan in I Samuel 23:16 and none of those accomplish the goal.

    So I’ll just remind you of something you already know. This was a big deal for me when I finally understood it. Jesus prayer in John 17 started out for the disciples. Then he added us into the prayer in verse 20. Pretty cool that Jesus was praying for us in advance. But then verse 24 really smacked me. Jesus is looking forward to being with us for eternity. It’s one thing for me to be anticipating seeing Jesus face to face. But incredibly, He’s looking forward to that as well.

    So I’ve hijacked your blog by commenting something that really isn’t relevant but I felt the need to encourage a brother.

  3. I’ve been super encouraged by what you’ve shared with me this week. I don’t say this lightly–I sense it with everything in me–God is up to something. This is it. Here we go, and hold on tight. Love you!

  4. Janelle

    This is incredible…seriously, last nite I met with the two ladies going with me to Africa, one is our worship leader……and she came and said, “I don’t know Gabe at all, but I feel I am to share my testimony with him about anxiety attacks and worship……” I love it when God is speaking on two ends and neither one of them know . It went through me….that our WORSHIP…satan can not enter….our praise to GOD alone…..what are they doing in Heaven – HOLY HOLY HOLY…declaring GOD for all that HE IS….and not one inch of it, does satan have….” revelation” from GOD to YOU…divine revelation and in this, is the key to serious, serious blood bought victory in the name of JESUS…..amen, thank YOU LORD…..amen.

  5. Mike Spencer

    I also believe that God has a plan through all of this, and part of me is not obeying or listening to more of what God is saying.
    God knew Saul’s heart at its deepest depths as you see in verse 7. When looking for answers the first thing one needs to know is the problem. Sounds as if you may have that part figured out. Great starting point.

    This week I have started to wonder if maybe that’s why I am in the position I am in. I know God wants my attention, but is He really hurting me until He gets all of it?
    The flesh tells you that God may be hurting you when in fact you are hurting God by not giving all of yourself to Him. Saul let his flesh get the better of him and God gave him plenty of time to return to him but Saul chose not to. I think often we read more into matters than we need to when the Holy Spirit has already given us the answer we need.

    God is in control for certain. With that said He gave man control over his own heart.

  6. God’s *absolute* sovereignty was probably THE biggest theological (and practical) challenge of my life, but it has become THE biggest comfort of my life. My sister, best friend and I just finished Job…and Job never (as far as we know), until he gets to Glory, gets to read Chapters 1 and 2…and yet, when God condescends to answer him in 38-41, Job’s humble response in 42 makes it clear that he gets it…and yet God still isn’t finished…”and out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again.”

    Your writing and our study of Job brings to mind three completely separate C.S. Lewis quotes…one from A Grief Observed, one from ‘Til We Have Faces, and one from Screwtape…

    “When I lay these questions before God, I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘no answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate gaze. As though he shook his head not in refusal but in waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you do not understand.'” ~A Grief Observed, CSL

    “I know now, Lord, why You utter no answer. You are Yourself the Answer. Before Your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” ~Till We Have Faces, CSL

    “He really loves the hairless bipeds He has created, and always gives back to them with His right hand what He has taken away with His left.” ~The Screwtape Letters, CSL

  7. Gabe, God is GOOD! 🙂

    P.S. I LOVE “Your” Blog Gabe.

  8. Perhaps you will appreciate this quote from Rheinhard Bonnke.

    “Fear is forged in hell – issued by Satan as a standard weapon to all demons. They are full of fear themselves, like scorpions are full of poison. Satan wants to sting us – to make us all sick with fear and its paralyzing force. But: FEARS ARE ILLUSIONS, phantoms. They will only take substance if we accept them. God promises: ‘No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.’ Is. 54:17,”

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