When I was little, I learned how to walk out my faith mainly through experience and observation. For instance, one day, while driving across the country to visit my sister in California. (We lived in Maryland), my brother had a nosebleed. We were in the Allegheny Mountains—my mother, my preteen brother and sister, and I (three years old).
Back then, the road was a plateau without guardrails. There were just two lanes—one going each way—wrapping around the side of a mountain. If you were in the outer lane, as we were at the time, and looked out the window on that side of the car, all you saw was a ravine. Needless to say, there was nowhere to pull over.
That was the situation my mother found herself in. All three of her children were frightened, her son was bleeding, and she couldn’t touch any of us—not then. She needed both hands on the wheel as she drove along this cliff. So, what did my mother do? She told my brother to tilt his head back (that’s what we did for nosebleeds back then), pinch his nose between his eyes, and repeat after her.
Then, as she continued to drive along the cliff, she said a few words at a time with my brother repeating them, “When I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee, Live; yea, I said unto thee, Live.” (Ezekiel 16:6 paraphrased) A few minutes later, the bleeding stopped. At which point, my mother stopped quoting Scripture and began praising God.
That is an example of how I learned three things: (1) the power of quoting Scripture, (2) the need to memorize Scripture—so I would have it even when I didn’t have access to my Bible, and (3) saying thank you.
We made it through that situation relatively unscathed because my mother was prepared, but not with medical training. She prepared by growing spiritually. My mother’s story demonstrates two areas of spiritual growth: what you can do and why.
Therefore, I conclude our six-part series on getting ready for your next big thing with a discussion on growing spiritually. (If you missed any of the previous parts, I encourage you to check them out too: part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five).
Tips on Growing Spiritually
Here are two things my mother did that prepared her for this journey:
1. Memorize Scripture – Challenges in life come whether we are waiting for our next big thing or not. Challenges are just a part of life. My brother’s nosebleed could have transformed from a challenge into a distraction. Since my mother was driving along a cliff, had my brother’s condition distracted her, we all could have been in mortal danger. Instead, my mother was able to maintain focus and we arrived safely at several next big things, like the Grand Canyon and Disneyland.
2. Read your Bible – In order to memorize Scripture, you have to read your Bible; thereby, becoming familiar with other passages. In this case, even if you haven’t memorized the Scripture, you are aware of what it says. When I was in seminary, my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The prospect of losing his mental faculties depressed him. At one point, my father mentioned suicide.
To discourage him, I shared the story of Jonah (Jonah 1-4). Rebelling from God’s charge to go to Nineveh, Jonah wound up on a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. When a storm hit, Jonah told the Captain to throw him overboard because God sent the storm to encourage Jonah to go to Nineveh. With him overboard, Jonah believed God would leave the ship and its remaining voyagers alone.
Drastic steps, I know. I believe Jonah preferred death to going to Nineveh. However, Jonah didn’t die. God sent a large fish to swallow Jonah, then spit Jonah on dry land. Jonah didn’t die because he didn’t have the power of life and death. Only God has that power.
So, when my father contemplated suicide, I told him he could try to kill himself, but there was no guarantee that he would die. Not only that, he could do himself irreparable damage. There are many people in hospitals on life support today due to failed suicide attempts. Then, he would still be alive and in worse condition than he was then. My father did not commit suicide. He lived another year. That blessed me, making that my next big thing.
Benefits of Growing Spiritually
Here are three benefits of my mother preparing for this journey:
1. Patience – As I shared in part one of this series, the key to patience is having control of your desire rather than your desire controlling you. My mother had control of her desire to help us when my brother’s nose started bleeding. Because of this, she was able to act in that situation, rather than react.
2. Peace – As we grow spiritually, we learn to cast our cares on God through prayer (Psalm 55:22; Philippians 4:6-8). Releasing our cares to God quiets our minds making our minds stronger. This allowed my mother to stay calm, which helped her children remain calm. To us, Mama had it all under control. In reality, Mama trusted that God had it all under control–and He did.
3. Gratitude – Thankfulness enables us to focus on the positive in any situation. Positivity enables us to better respond to emotions. In this case, it enabled my mother to better respond to not only her emotions, but ours as well. By praising Jesus, my mother recognized His part in our safety and protection and focused our attention on that rather than the scary experience we just had.
The tips listed above are just a couple of things we can do now to get ready for our next big thing. These tips and my mother’s example have served my whole family well over the years. No matter where you are in your faith, Scripture is a weapon you can use to overcome a multitude of challenges. So, what Mama passed on to us, I pass on to you.
Questions: How has memorizing or reading Scripture helped you prepare for your next big thing? How could it? Please respond by clicking on the Comment, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest buttons below.