As I began to get to know this woman with severe anxiety, I asked all the typical questions about her upbringing, family, friends, activities, and support system. Then I asked a question that many neglect but that I find critical as I care for hurting people. "Do you have any faith beliefs that help you in life?" The answer to this question helps me know what kind of a spiritual foundation has been laid in people's inner lives, and whether they attempt to walk through life's valleys on their own or hand-in-hand with God. This simple question opens the door to what often becomes the most important conversation I have with people. It marks a turning point.
The woman's reply came with a blank stare. She said nothing at all, searching her boyfriend's eyes as if to say, "What does that even mean?" I asked the same thing in a different way and got the same answer. "I get through life alone." Repeatedly wringing her calloused fingers and shaking her feet without pause, she said, "I can handle things alone."
In the seventh chapter of the book of Isaiah, the Lord says to His prophet, "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." (Isaiah 7:9) God Himself said this to Isaiah as he began to walk daily under His guidance. We either stand on the foundation of faith in the living God or we will fall. Period. This is God's word to Isaiah and to each of us.
I wonder - what ground are we standing on? Whether wrongly accused or grieving the losses of life, what helps us stand? Are we standing on a sure foundation or is our life built on quicksand?
Psalm 89:14,15 speaks of the hopeful and solid foundation of God's kingdom,
"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
love and faithfulness go before You.
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You,
who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord."
I, too, have found great joy, peace, and comfort in learning to acclaim my God - our God. As we call on Him, He is here. As we ask for more of Him, He is faithful to reveal Himself more, showing us what we need when we need it most. The foundation of our spiritual life is critical, and the apostle Paul reminds us of the importance of the right foundation. "But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 3:10b,11)
With Christ as the ground we stand on, we never have to face life's challenges alone. God with us, our Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14), stands with us as our Companion, our Savior, our Redeemer, and our Strength. If we build our lives on this Rock, when the storms of life come, we will stand. And as we remain there, firmly planted, we can reach out and help others rise, sharing the One who is our foundation that they, too, may stand firm on solid ground through the trials of life.
Who can we help stand today?