"The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them...Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him... The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit...many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken." Psalm 34:7, 9, 18, 19-20
When S. first battled anxiety a few years ago, I parked on this chapter for over a month. I was pregnant, had 2 toddlers at my feet, and a struggling husband who was either insanely busy or completely crashed. I was exhausted and wasn't sure which way was up. I sat every morning with a cup of coffee while everyone slept, reading the same chapter over and over. Reading it now instantly transports me to the kitchen table while it's still dark, journal open, pierced by a different section each time.
I remember so many of my prayers, and many I recorded in journals. I wished they would be answered quickly. Sometimes my fervency would convince me that certainly today I would see the results of my prayers! I would excitedly wait for S. to come to breakfast, imagining he must have had the same revelations. Surely he felt the power that I felt! He would come and one look at his face showed me that I would have to get back on my knees.
Yet it's amazing how when your hope is in the Lord, you are able to have hope for His work. I always trusted that God would be faithful to complete the work he began in S. At times I felt downright excited. Other times I prayed out of sheer obedience.
This past December when I felt S. in a downward spiral, I buckled in; prepared for turbulence. I took a deep breath and audibly said, "I know how to do this. I've been here before." I pulled out Psalm 34, my journal, and hot coffee- to pray life into my husband. I couldn't look at his face because I knew what I would see wouldn't match what I believed. This time, God gave me the prayers to pray. He gave me discernment and fight when S. had none.
In the past 6 weeks I have seen God answer years worth of prayers in my husband. I was brought to tears this week because I often wondered if my expectations were too high...and now I see that my God has a beautiful way of surpassing expectations.
S. told me a couple weeks ago, "I think one reason we can be where we are today is because we hope for each other."
It's true. I know couples who aren't compatible; who have the odds against them and circumstances that statistics say will cause them to fail... yet they persist and have rich relationships because they consistently hope for each other. They assume the best (even when it's not deserved). They fight for each other even if the other person isn't worth fighting for.
I know other couples who are compatible and look lovely. Yet, they don't hope for each other and don't fight for each other. They believe the worst and I have to assume that they don't know how to pray life into each other.
As I thought on S.'s words I realized I've always hoped for him, prayed God's best for him, and believed. Not because I believe in S., not because I am an optimistic person, but because I believe I am praying in accordance with God's will. I know that God is for S., God is for my marriage, and my family. I know that I have a faithful God and my gigantic hope in Him creates hope in all sorts of unlikely places.
Right now I have a husband who is willing to fight for me. It is life giving. In the past few years the angel of the Lord has encamped around me. God has been near to me as I've had a broken heart. Now somehow in answering my prayers for S., God has answered prayers for myself that I didn't know to pray.
S. has chosen to believe for me, pray life into me, and fight while I have nothing to give. The Lord is giving me a new kind of rest because S. is shouldering what I am shouldering, he is surrendering, and he is lifting up the things I don't have energy to offer up.
"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with m, and let us exalt His name together." Psalm 34:1-3