Monday, June 14, 2010

grateful for God's hand of protection

"You are my hiding place; you shall
preserve me from trouble. You shall
 surround me with songs of deliverance"
(Psalm 32:7)

Bolivia, South America is a long way from here. It seems like it is getting farther and farther as each day passes. The past 3 weeks have been filled with a medley of emotions and feelings. There has been joy and sorrow. There has been expectation and disappointment. There has been sickness and health. There has been healing. And today? Well, today there was abundant protection. God's merciful hand of protection upon my daughter and 2 of her friends.

Their group 12 (plus 5 Bolivians) traveled late last night from Santa Cruz to Cochabamba, which was about the halfway mark to their destination of La Paz. They will be in La Paz about a week building a church. They will be laboring for the Lord and helping to erect a house of worship for the glory of the Lord to settle in and minister to the lives of new christians and those needing salvation. The elevation in La Paz exceeds 12,000 feet and so the group needed to become aclimated to the altitude, so that is why they traveled to Cochabamba for an overnight stay.

When I answered the phone this evening, I heard Melissa's voice and knew something was wrong. The tentative, "Mama?" was filled with trepidation and tears. My heart just fell to the floor as I heard her telling me what had happened to her just a few short hours before. I almost couldn't catch my breath as I stood there listening to the details. I wanted to be at her side immediately, hugging her and checking her out from head to toe to make sure she was unscathed! I must have asked her 100 times if she was okay.  It's a long way from here to there when your daughter is sick. It's a REALLY long way from here to there when her life has been threatened.

As they were doing a little sight-seeing and hiking/climbing today, the group got temporarily separated on the way back down the mountain trail and my daughter, Melissa and 2 other girls were held-up by a Bolivian man at knifepoint. One of the girls actually had the knife touch her chest and was pushed to the ground before he stole their backpacks and purses. He had come out of the edge of the trail shouting and waving the knife and he scared the girls half-to-death. They are OK. They are quite shaken up and very unsettled. Melissa had actually seen the guy at the edge of the trail and said for just a minute she felt very fearful and said she immediately prayed and asked God for His protection.

As I sit here and think about it, I am angry at the man who had the audacity to attack my daughter. And steal her purse and her camera and her money and her keys. I am angry that he has stolen her trust and her security. I am angry that her joy has been temporarily replaced with sorrow. I am angry that she now has fear instead of peace.

But then the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that HE is our peace. HE is our joy. And HE is our trust. He reminded me that the material things that were stolen, can be replaced. But Melissa and her friends lives could NOT have been replaced. And I realized that our precious Lord once again reached down His loving arms and wrapped them tight around my daughter and granted her life. His mercy was abundantly dispensed upon her today.

And I am humbled beyond words. Astounded at His love and grace. Amazed at His tenderness. In awe of the wonder of who He is.

As I hung up the phone with Melissa, they were about to go to dinner. She said, "Mama, I am afraid to go out there. But I am more afraid to stay here alone. I know I can't live in fear, I have to trust Him."

Yes, Melissa. We indeed have to face our fears. Otherwise they will overwhelm us and threaten to drown us in their uncertainties. God already has our lives planned and He already has our days numbered. He knows what will take place each step of the way. We just have to walk in His will. Walk in His ways. Be surrendered and obedient. And seek His face.

"When You said, 'Seek My face', My heart said to You, 'Your face, LORD, I will seek.'"
(Psalm 27:8)


Anonymous said...

Praising God for His protection of Melissa, Beth. Oh, He is so very much in control and we lift our hands to Him and give Him all of the glory... ALL OF THE GLORY! I am so thankful that Melissa has more fear, more reverence for her God, our God, than she does of the human fear for the man. I fear and I tremble yet I bow before Him and know that He is with us, with her.
May she release those fears and know that as she finished the climb to La Paz that she will be protected, loved, and held. May she know that the church about to be built will be for God's Glory and may the man who attacked be drawn to this church and saved by the Grace of God. I pray in the Powerful Name of Jesus. Amen.

Steph T. said... a testimony of his love and protection on His children. I pray for Melissa that she will feel his peace & his comfort overflow throughout her whole body. She will go out with confidence knowing God is her warrior and he will guide her and protect his precious children. He will continue to lead her every step of this journey. I pray for you also...that you will not be overcome with worry for Melissa. That God will give you a peace that passes all our understanding. I wish I could give you a big hug right here is one!! I am praying for everyone and I know God's grace and mercy is on each of you!!

Nancy M. said...

Goodness, Melissa has been through so much! I am so glad her faith is strong and that she is safe! He is always with her!

petrii said...

Oh Beth,
What a walk of faith your dear sweet daughter is on. And you to as her mama.

How scary, but how wonderful to see the hand of God protecting and watching over your little chick while she is away. SO like our Father.

I love you dear one ~~ hang in there and have a Blessed day friend,

Barbara said...

yes to God be the glory, great post dear.Hugs and blessings, Barbara

BECKY said...

Praise and glory to God! What a great and mighty God we serve! What a blessing to know, Beth, that as far away as Melissa is...she cannot go so far as to not be right where God is!! What an incredible blessing to KNOW that. So many of us believe it, but don't get such strong evidence of His care on our loved ones.

As a Mom of 4 girls, I had tears in my eyes reading this. Especially now that one has moved 12 hours away!

What a blessing also, to know that Melissa is trusting God with it all!!

I am lifting her up in prayer and asking the Lord to bathe her in His peace, and restore to her the sense of the security she has in Him so that she can walk confidently in faith, knowing that "If God is for her, who can be against her"!!

So glad you shared this today, Beth. Thank you. Praying for your mother's heart, too, sweetie!
Love n hugs,

Misty said...

Praising God for His protection of the girls...and praying for His comfort and peace to replace the fear. Be blessed, sweet friend.

Angel said...

Oh my how scary for her and for you. I remember when my daughter was in South America on one of her mission trips she got extremely sick and it scared me terribly but I cannot imagine what these girls and you went through. I know I would have traveled the same path as you, getting angry at that man for stealing their joy and peace, but you are so right, Jesus is our JOY and PEACE. He is our protector in every situation. He has an amazing plan and HE will prevail!!

So very thankful HE had His hand on your daughter and her friends!! We are praying for them and for you!!

Come by my blog if you get a chance and join in on the JOY!!

Love you my friend!!

NanaNor's said...

Dearest Beth, Oh my-I can't even imagine how this must have felt except once when my youngest was in Chicago over the holidays and was having severe asthma and the youth pastor was not providing for the teens. But oh my, I'm so thankful that we have peace that passes understanding! I bet you want her home NOW. I'll be praying for continued protection and provision.
Hugs to your mama heart today.
Love, Noreen

Nana Jul said...

Thank God for his protection over His children!! Thank God you had so many people praying for Melissa and her team! How scary that must have been! He is with her every step of the way, Protecting, guiding, shielding, comforting, and encouraging her in her very next step! PS 139:7-10 And He will let her sleep securely! Ps 3:5-6
I am claiming these verses over her and the team! And for you Ps. 5:3.
God is ABLE! Will be praying until the LORD brings them home with a victory shout! Our God Reigns!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Oh my....God is good and yet my mother's heart just jumps. How many times we have to release them back to the Lord. I remember the month my son was in Africa...where AIDS has taken most of the population, and knowing he didn't belong to me, but to the Lord.
Prayers of thanksgiving and also prayers for the rest of their time there,

Anonymous said...

Beth, I love what Melissa said that she had to trust Him. That must have brought some comfort to your heart knowing that she knew that she could turn to the Lord Jesus for His protection and refuge.
I pray for the Lord's continued protection for them. He is the Good Shepherd who guards His sheep.

Yolanda said...


I am so sorry to hear this for Melissa, and I am angry at that man, myself. ;-) But praise God, for His divine hand of protection.

I've been away for a few days, and just now checking in.

Love YOU,

sister sheri said...

I don't even know how you can stand it... argh! I just want to get on a plane and track the guy down! Thanking God for His protection and love and peace.

LisaShaw said...

Beth, continuing to pray with you dear sister for your daughter and the team. God has a plan and He is the master of it and His Hand is with them.

Love you much!

Gwendolyn said...

Beth, it is no accident that I came to your blog today. I'll be praying for your team serving there in La Paz and your daughter. I'm so sorry she had to go through this experience. I pray that she will see through her fears to the hearts and souls of these dear lost people. There is not much that is beautiful about them outwardly. I know, for I and my husband and four children lived and worked in Bolivia for over 15 years. It is where we raised our children. We lived between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba for many years. Then, in Cochabamba for 5 years. Our ministry necessitated regular trips to La Paz, so there again, I can picture where your daughter is.

It was as much of a sacrifice for my parents to release us to the Lord to serve there as it was for us to go. But I'm so glad they did. They, too, will reap the rewards in eternity. In fact, my mother is there now, no doubt with some of our dear Bolvian brothers and sisters. Your attitude, Beth, in pointing your daughter to reliance on the Lord amidst her fears, rather than pulling her out of them, will speak volumnes to her. The Lord will use this time greatly in her life.

Thank you for sharing your concerns with us so that we can pray!

"The Lord is their strength. and He is the saving refuge of His anointed." Ps 28:8 I know this to be true. I hate bugs and have an aversion to flying. I wilt in the heat and pain often racks my body. Yet, the Lord saw me through and every single time we flew out to the jungle, was a miracle of His grace in my own heart! He watches out for His own and He'll be close to Melissa and her team members as well.

You are lovingly in my thoughts and prayers,

prashant said...

I tremble yet I bow before Him and know that He is with us, with her.
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