Book of JoshuaOne side effect of chemotherapy treatments I had was sleeplessness. This is how I understood what the nurses explained to me: Benadryl mixed with the therapy to alleviate allergic reactions to a binding agent in the infusion, not the chemotherapy. The Benadryl results in what we called the Benadryl nap. The nap was great. But the Benadryl wore off and the steroids, also in the infusion, kicked in. It took at least three days for the steroids to work through my body, and I was awake much of that time.

Awake isn’t the same as clear-minded. Reading, especially if I wanted to retain any information, wasn’t productive. I’m not much of a coloring book person. Crocheting and knitting were dismal failures from my childhood; revisiting those hobbies was out of the question. So, all that made binge watching television series appealing.

The Dick Van Dyke Show seemed like a good place to start. They were funny, quick, and didn’t require incredible concentration. So I clicked on the first episode, then the second, and the third. On it went. And, it was great. Until it wasn’t, as they say.

If you asked exactly how far into the series I was when this happened, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. The steroids had worn off, and I was sleeping again. This night vivid dreams formed. The gang was all there. Rob and Laura Petrie, Sally Rogers, and Buddy Sorrell gathered in the Petries’ living room accompanied by the zippy theme music. Somehow, I was right in the middle of it all, taking part in the zany conversation and delivering one-liners. I woke up when Laura said her classic, “Oh, Rooobb!” The episode was decidedly incomplete and to this day remains a cliffhanger.

I should have known better than to watch episode after episode. Past experience has proven that what I allow into my mind, shows up in unwelcome ways. Many years ago, a woman in a Bible study I was leading was having marriage problems. They were serious issues, and I wanted to help her. In some ways, her problems became mine. She would call often to talk about what was happening. Her issues were beginning to impact my marriage. I wasn’t exactly suspicious of my husband, but I certainly wasn’t as open and free as I was before her calls began.

Very early in our marriage, God taught me to be a good wife to the husband he gave me. The Bible, older successfully married couples, and some poor examples of marriage taught me how to respect the man I married and to never degrade him, especially to others. Yet, in an effort to help a friend, I was beginning to allow disrespect and unkind words to take root in my mind. The Holy Spirit seemed to remind me my first responsibility was to my own marriage, not to someone else’s. He also let me know I was not equipped to be her counselor; she needed a professional. The conversation explaining those points to her was difficult. Yet, it released me from what I had allowed in my mind.

Recently, a couple we count among our friend-treasures came to us with a serious problem. We knew we couldn’t solve it. We could only encourage and seek God’s resolution. Trust in God was sung in our worship service right before our friends talked to us. It came to mind often in the following days. “Hey, Siri! Play Trust in God by Elevation Worship,” I would say when I was folding laundry or washing dishes. It became my prayer  for our friends.

On a day my husband was gone for several hours, I put it on repeat early in the morning and didn’t stop playing it until he came home after lunch. One night around 3:00 a.m. I woke up to the words, “I sought the Lord, and He heard, and He answered. That’s why I trust Him. That’s why I trust in God.”

My mind had done it again. It had taken what I fed it and brought it out in my dreams. This time it was an affirmation of God’s faithfulness to answer prayer. There was no cliffhanger or need for professional counselors in this story. There was simply our God who wanted to be sought.

Joshua, the leader God appointed to take the Israelites into the Promised Land, told the people, “This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it” (Joshua 1:8a, CSB, italics added). Paul wrote, “…but be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord…” (Ephesians 5:18b-19, CSB).

What I meditate on, as Joshua indicated, comes out in what I do. I am so grateful that all of us, individually and collectively, sought God and expected Him to answer. We spoke encouragement from God’s Word to shift the focus from the temporal to the eternal. God has proven His faithfulness and is undeniably at work in our friends’ situation.

We trust God.