Apples of Gold

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I will cry unto God most high

'I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.'

 Psalm 57:2

It is 3 O’clock in the morning and I have two main reasons for writing this piece at this time. First of all my soul is rejoicing in the God of all comfort and grace, who has proved to be with me in and through my time of trouble and the other being that this is the first time in 8 days that my head has been clear enough to put any two thoughts together.

I will try and explain my experiences over the last week or so. It has bee without doubt the most trying time of my Christian life so far. Since last November due to my back pain I had been unable to sleep more than 3 or 4 hours a night and my increased dosage of painkillers had come to a limit. They were doing me more harm than good and I was rapidly losing my strength and energy required for daily living, not to mention my spiritual warfare.

Some of my more regular visitors to Apples of Gold may have wondered why I had not been adding to the site as often as I used to, well now you know the reason why.

I am not one for pestering doctors, as they are busy enough without me bothering them, however the time had come for me to ‘bite the bullet’ and do something positive.

After a consultation – and a stern rebuke for not going to my doctor with my complaint at an earlier date – he suggested they I come off my present medication and try a much stronger - morphine based - painkiller in a patch form.

He was not promising me any miracle cure, however he explained that they had worked for some patients and perhaps they would work for me.

He warned about certain ‘side effects’ and also warned me that I was ‘in for a rough ride’ while coming off the other tablets, but in time it was hoped that if nothing else I would get a full nights sleep! Weightlifting would still be out of the question!

I was full of optimism as I left the surgery and having received my first set of patches from the chemist I started to reduce the other medication – slowly! I sensed a new beginning and a brighter future.

Little did I realise what I was to suffer! I cannot begin to imagine the horrors that ‘hard-line drug abusers’ go through when coming off their poison ‘cold turkey.’

Neither can I truly describe the nightmare of the last week in any detail. I felt sure that I was going to go completely mad or die, one or the other! My blood pressure would soar then plummet. (Great news for a cardiac patient!)

I was so agitated that my whole body felt as though 33,000 volts was surging through me. I was nauseous, my mind was at times blank while at other times racing with the most evil thoughts imaginable.

I cried unto the Lord time and time again for deliverance and help. Days went past and things got worse instead of getting better and I never thought that my mind or body would ever be right again. My speech was slurred and my brother actually thought that I was drunk when I spoke to him on the phone one night! I even lost my memory for a time!

God took care of me when there were times when I couldn’t pray, couldn’t think and when I felt absolutely helpless! He never gave up on me, though I felt absolutely forsaken! My flesh and heart fainted and failed but He did not fail. At times I completely lost sight of Him altogether, little realising that He was holding me in a loving embrace.

For a few minutes one day I managed to read a portion of my Bible. The effort of trying to concentrate on the words in front of me was strenuous and even tedious. I started reading in the Book of Psalms at Psalm 90.

When I had reached verse 13 of the Psalm I was given a clear head for a few minutes, just enough to take in the last few verses of that Psalm then I blurred my way through Psalm 91 until I came to verse 14 when the fog cleared again until the end of that Psalm.

That was all the reading I managed to do all week, yet how precious and powerful these words were to my wracked body and needy soul. I tried my best to memorise them and repeat them over and over to myself as a means of encouragement.

Even in this simple exercise I failed!

I managed somehow to cling on to the fact that although I was in trouble, God was with me! He said. He told me that He was. I called upon Him and He answered me as promised. I can vouch for that this morning but not then!

I was oblivious to His presence or His power at the time but this morning I am more than ever aware of His help carrying me through what I hope was the worst of my days.

I wanted to write this morning because His Word is Truth and He is true and faithful to this same Word. He did not promise that I would escape trouble nor that I would not have any, rather He promised to be with me IN trouble and I can gladly profess that He was with me.

I finished taking the last of my previous medication on Tuesday and yesterday my body was screaming at me to take just one more of the ‘old’ painkillers with the promise that it would alleviate the agitation I was under and that I would feel the better for it.

I cried once more to my Lord for help and for strength to see me through.

This morning I am so thankful that He gave me the help I needed in my time of extreme need. Had I taken that tablet I would have been back to square one, whereas after a few hours peaceful sleep I feel that I with the Lord’s help I have broken the back of this torment.

It may be a day or two yet before I am on an even keel, yet my heart is enlarged at the goodness and patience of my beloved Saviour Redeemer for seeing me safely thus far. If the rest of the verses in these Psalms are as true as the ones He has already proven to me to be true then I have much to look forward to!

I hope that as you are reading this your situation is nowhere near are bad as mine has been, yet I have no doubt that your own trial is sore enough and although I do not know about it, you can be sure that the God who helped me, knows exactly what your difficulties and problems are, and you can also be sure that He is with you as you go through them.

If, for some life for this moment is trouble and difficulty free, then rejoice  and come back to read this when you might find it more suitable to your situation.

Never in His Word does He say that He will give us a trial or difficulty and leave us stranded in the middle of it. ‘He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.’

In His school this week He showed me just how weak, frail and miserable I am. He showed me that I could do absolutely nothing without Him. He reminded me of His grace and mercy that have followed me each day of my life. He showed me the frailty of the human body and mind.

He showed me that I needed a Friend stronger than myself to help me along on my journey. He showed me that He loves a wretch like me just as much as the most just man on this planet. He accepts me for what I am.

A sinner!

Not just a sinner, but a sinner saved by His grace.

Why is it then, having been saved by grace do I want to take hold of the reins and try to control my own destiny? What makes me think as a Christian that I can do a better job of things than God can? Why is it the case that whenever I land myself in difficulties that I worry myself sick that the God who saved me has suddenly decided to turn His back on me and forget all about me?

How thankful I am this morning that His ways and thoughts are far higher than my ways and thoughts!

Just because I am a Christian does not make me perfect and I have to be reminded of that fact time and time again. I make mistakes and I will continue to make mistakes and let myself down, my family down, my friends down and most of all I fail my God daily – yet still He loves me!

Repentance is not just a big word it is an action that I must partake of daily and sometimes many times in a day. It is far harder for me now to believe that my repentance has been accepted by God and that my sins are forgiven and washed whiter than snow, simply because I am sinning against Light.

Does that mean that if I had not been ‘born again’ that I would have a good excuse on the day of Judgement?

What makes matters worse is that fact that I find myself sinning the same sins time and time again. Surely the day will come when He will say to me – ‘Enough is enough!’ His Word does not say that though. His Word says that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son cleanses us from ALL sin. There is neither number nor time limit to it.

Do I want my sins to lie at my doorstep, or do I want them cleansed? To whom else can we go? God is the only One with the power to forgive them, but He cannot confess them on my behalf!

This mercy and love is not something that gives me liberty to sin, rather such love warrants a more dedicated striving after holiness. I want to shine for Christ. I have said this many a time and I sill say it. It is my heart’s desire.

I have tried to be as open and as honest as I can when expressing my Christian experiences on this website and this morning has been no different. I could quite easily have swept this experience under the carpet and kept quiet about it, yet I felt constrained to write it. Perhaps it will be of help to some other ‘wayfaring man or woman.’

That indeed is my prayer.

If it shows that I am the poorest, weakest sinner that ever walked this planet, then so be it, just as long as God’s love, strength and power shine through. ‘I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.’ Trust God for today and for eternity. He will never leave you nor forsake you and He loves you with an everlasting love.

Your brother in Christ,

Iain