From Foxhole to Sanctuary

From Foxhole to Sanctuary

pebbled textureI don’t know if you’re like me, but I pick up things to worry about as if collecting rocks. The load gets heavier and heavier, until the weight reaches critical mass. HeadacheAnd before you know it, I’m wide awake in bed at night—worried sick.

A toxic pattern, to be sure.

I tell God I’m sorry and lay each rock of concern at His feet. He usually says,

“Dear Susan…Remember Who I am.”

For several years now, I keep seeing the number 722 in countless ways. I saw it on my coffee pot clock not 10 minutes ago. See previous post about it. I believe it’s a reference to Daniel’s vision in 7:21-22.

 21 “I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.”

Don’t you love the word—until?

It signals a great shift. The mystery is—did it happen already with the death and resurrection of Christ? Or could we be in the throes of it at present? Or maybe it’s still future? I wonder. At the moment, many of God’s people are severely embattled and even targeted. I’m no authority on Scripture. But I see this number every few days. God has my attention.

Businessman looking at arrows pointed in different directionsWith that in mind, I found myself gathering stones again…Israel under attack, beheadings, a commercial airline shot down, race riots in Missouri, health issues, rising national debt, addictions, deaths, divorces, suicides—need I go on? Despair is everywhere.

Lord, when will the “time arrive”? Is this just the beginning of the days of sorrow? Will the tribulation be much worse?

My thoughts easily spiral.

So one day when I was swept into the vortex of worry, I saw eights and nines in different combinations: 8899 and 889. I searched it out in Scripture. Was it random, or precisely what I needed to hear?

Psalm 88:9 “My eye has wasted away because of affliction. I have called upon you every day O Lord. I have spread out my hands to You.” (A true description of feeling dread and despair. A “Where are You, God?” prayer).

God responded…

Selected phrases from Isaiah chapter 8…

“You are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it…It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear. And He shall be your dread. Then He shall become a sanctuary.”

Selected phrases from Isaiah chapter 9…

The virgin Mary carrying baby Jesus“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish, in earlier times…the people who walk in darkness will see a great light. Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them…You shall increase their gladness. They will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest…For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders…

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.”

And a word to those who bring harm…

Isaiah 8:9…

“Be broken O peoples, and be shattered and give ear, all remote places of the earth—gird yourselves, yet be shattered, gird yourselves, yet be shattered. Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted. State a proposal, but it will not stand, for God is with us.”

iStock_000040954702SmallAnd finally, Psalm 89: 8-9 

“O Lord God of hosts, Who is like You, O mighty Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. You rule the swelling of the sea. When its waves rise, You still them.”

the hole

God reminded me…

“My dear Susan…Remember Who I am.”

If I choose to pick up stones of worry and fail to hand them over to the One In Charge Of All Things, they become stones of offense. Then the enemy slips into my thoughts as the narrator, and says, “God can’t really be trusted, can He?”

We are living in a critical time of history. That much is true. We must get out of the foxhole of spiraling doubt and dread.

Remember Who God is, and enter His sanctuary.

Can you relate?


  1. oh brother, susan, can i EVER relate. well put when you say “the enemy slips into your thoughts as the narrator”! the enemy of our souls is so slick, so accomplished, so professional at doing that. i am relieved by this post. it is always comforting to know i am not alone. and to be reminded that god wants us to REMEMBER WHO I AM. i will cling to that and try to remember it for more than the next 5 minutes!
    i love you
    suzee B

  2. Yes, I can. What right do I have to throw stones? None, I know. Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.

    Thank you, my beautiful friend.


    • Thanks Mick and Suzee for your thoughts here. The last few sentences of this post are the essence of what happens when I get rattled inside with doubts and dread—I let the enemy into my mind as the narrator. I form an offense with God. The eights-and-nines if nothing else got me immersed in the Word whether it was just odd or truly God. I felt washed over, wave after wave of Who God Is!!

  3. Thankyou for this. Over again lately I am telling myself ‘Remember God and what He has done’ I know this is key. As in Joshua.’ Remember my laws – WHY ‘That you may be blessed!’ AND God remembers! I will put a rainbow in the sky that I may REMEMBER my covenant with you. If remembering is SO important that God himself does it then it is VITAL that we do it! When I wobble if God is real, I REMEMBER what He has done for me and who he is. And when that is to hard for me, I remember a sentence from C.S Lewis ‘The Silver Chair’ It is hard but I know it is true. The witch says to the children, Prince Rilian and Puddleglum………..’There is no Aslan, there is no Sun … and though it costs Puddleglum effort, His reply is SO blessed! He says, ‘ I will believe in Alsan, even though there maybe no Aslan to believe in.’ And in the words of another ‘Though he slay me, yet I will trust in Him.’ God never forgets. And to the best of my ability I will do as David did – Remind myself, in the presence of my enemies that God is God and they are nothing at all.

  4. Just got back from my walk to Emmaus. One of the speakers shared a thought. We need to remember who we are and whom we belong. She had us say this phrase. “I am the beloved child of the most High God. I am beautiful to be hold. And I have something to share with the World. No lie of the enemy can keep us from our Aba Father.

  5. This hits home powerfully and brings comfort to my doubting mind, that I am not alone. I know we all trip over road-blocks and heart-aches, and find the lies taking over, the insecurity and questions rising– Are You really there, God? Can we really trust you to protect us? Why do you let us suffer? Why does a troubled young soul die alone in a forest– when she was looking for you? Why does a beautiful young man, just stepping out into the world with a servant’s heart, a way of touching everyone around him with Your love– die in a tragic car accident? Why does a pastor who made such a huge impact for You on this earth have to leave us too soon? You make NO sense whatsoever, God. My mind knows I will never understand, but my heart is broken and my spirit falters.

    I have stacked river stones in past years, to mark a place where God showed up. I have written countless pages in journals declaring the wonders of my God. I have met Jesus along a river bank and walked with Him and knew Him to be REAL and REACHABLE. He has shown up in my darkest places. And yet… my mind is troubled because there is no way to make sense of all the tragedy around me. My heart is seized with fear because it could be one on my dearly-beloveds who is lost to me, any day, and hour. Where is our Protector? And the enemy quietly slips in, as you described, Susan. I have an offended spirit, and yet, I know I must lay down my pride and REMEMBER WHO GOD IS. This conversation, including everyone’s commets, has helped me turn my eyes once again upon The ONLY ONE who can bring peace. He did not promise we would be without trouble in this world, but only that He would be with us. I need Jesus every day, every hour. I go away from Him too often. I need to seek a new revelation of His Love, His Power over Death and the pain of this world. But I must confess, I am full of fear and my spirit is weak.

  6. Psalm 77 has given me fresh hope after writing my earlier comments…
    recalling that doubt and questions have plagued mankind for all generations. Only God knows how many countless souls have cried out to Him in distress, asking ” Has Your unfailing Love vanished forever? Has your promise failed for all time? Have You forgotten to be merciful?”

    And then we must come to the broken place and proclaim, whether we feel it or not:
    “I will remember the deeds of the Lord– Yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy. You are the God who performs miracles, You display Your Power among the people.”

    My stubborn spirit balks at praising His Goodness when I’m hurting over sorrowful and tragic things happening all around… so many of them too close to home. Yet I will stretch my hands out and let Him show me the way.

    • Nikole…
      Thank you for being so vulnerable and real in your comments! This conversation with all of you moves me. I too lived with an “offended” heart and spirit for far too many years of my Christian life. I no longer want to carry any offense against God. I laid it down.
      The one thing I go back to again and again are God’s words to me in a dream when He said in the absolutely kindest voice I’ve ever heard: “It’s not about this life…” and “Take note of that.” Suffering and persecution and sickness and death and loss are all temporal. I mean no disrespect to those hurting at present. But all that will come to an end and God will make all things new. In that sense, whatever we go through here isn’t futile in the big picture for us who love the Lord. He will work it for good no matter what.
      Having said that though, it is also true that the Lord Himself subjected this world to futility. He did it on purpose so that His creation would search and find Him. Romans 8:20-21 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Somehow by the Spirit, I’m choosing to be here, to be present in the futility, to try and be a light though it surely includes some suffering. I believe our days are counted out already. Our children’s days are counted out already, by the Lord. And my prayer is “Lord, let me fulfill all that you created me to do and be…let me not miss one minute!” When it’s time to go on to eternity, I want to go!! And in the meantime, I’ll weep with those who weep, share the joy when it comes, love what God loves and listen everyday for His Spirit. Sending love to you all…. Susan