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Foundation Truth, Number 13 (Spring 2006) | Timeless Truths Publications

From The Lure of Divine Love, by Kathryn Helm

God and Shattered Nerves

“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.”* (Isaiah 40:25-26)

“God is equal to shattered nerves.” Do you believe it? Among the pilgrims there are many who do not, and excuse themselves and sympathize with others in such a way as to engender selfpity; and selfpity will open the door for a train of evils to come trooping in, crowding out Christ, who alone can keep the citadel of our soul in quietness and assurance.

On my return from that long sojourn at the hospital, I realized that those years of extreme suffering and the many serious operations had so shattered the nerves that, as “a harp of a thousand strings,” they would vibrate most painfully under the sweep of the ordinary life in a home, for I was unable to do anything but lie and wait the return of strength, which came, oh, so slowly.

In my weakness and ignorance, I could not differentiate between the indescribable torture of diseased nerves crying out for soothing quiet and relief from responsibility that they were utterly unable to endure, and the unrest of soul that comes with rebellion against God. Then with the accusations of the enemy, I became bewildered; and with a spirit of protest ever at my elbow, I failed to resist the temptation. And thus the enemy, coming through the nerves, found a way back into my once cleansed heart. That old impatience that I had battled with all my earlier life was again felt within—where all had been calm and peaceful, even when the nerves would rise up in such mutiny as to overcome consciousness.

It was a great grief that I had so signally failed the Lord again. As I silently brooded over my sorrow, the thought was pressed upon me (which seemed so reasonable that I believed it) that, with such shattered nerves, God could not save me from this inward impatience at times. Though He had saved me before, and could save others; but not me now, in this condition. The fault was all on the human side, I knew, but I could not help it.

I mentioned it to a few, but no one had the courage to tell me God was able. Or perhaps, like many another, they too were limiting God, and really did not know that it was in the region of possibility. All they had to give me was poor, weak human sympathy, when I so sorely needed a knowledge of the truth, and encouragement born of Divine sympathy, and the uplift of another’s faith. But not very many have this to give. And those that have, feel that they do not know how to minister to one in such a pitiful condition. So they are deterred from making the effort that might be used of God to restore a soul to its lost inheritance and give back to Christ His rightful place on the throne of their hearts—just what their soul is longing for. “If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand,”* (Job 33:23) how different it might have all been!

As it was, I sorrowed as one without a hope, enduring the inexpressible suffering of the body, the added unrest of the soul, and an occasional uprising, which seldom came to the surface or was expressed in impatient words. I was oppressed with sadness and often talked to the Lord about it, but with that hopelessness of unfaith. I had a penitential attitude, and a real sorrow for the Lord, because I could not cooperate with Him, so that He could deliver me from His foe within my breast (see Rom. 8:7).

One day He spoke to me, and without the least ostentation, very quietly, as though what I had thought impossible was but a little thing for Him to do. I never forgot the words, for they actually created faith (John 6:63), and such blessed results followed.

“I know not how the Spirit moves
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.”*

Too weak for concentrated, intelligent thinking, I simply left it all to Him, and the holy hush of His presence pervading my inner being seemed to neutralize all that disturbing element. Anyway, all was peaceful once more in the citadel of my soul. The words that the Lord Jesus spoke unto me, that wrought such a restful change (Hebrews 4:9-10, 4:3), were these: “I am equal to shattered nerves.”

All glory be to God, although the enemy has never ceased his efforts to effect an entrance through the avenue of the nervous system, and has used all kinds of stratagem—and I have been in many a close corner, and have been confused sometimes—yet after more than a quarter of a century of testings and provings, from experience I can testify, “God is equal to shattered nerves.”

How often have I felt the sudden sweep of temptation, and with my nerves all aquiver, instantly have cried out, “Lord Jesus, do you see that impatience coming? Don’t let it in.” Thus I hid away behind the undisturbed Sovereign of life’s sea, and that tidal wave that threatened to overwhelm me had to recede.

Someone has put it this way:

Have you ever seen an old, familiar, oft-victorious, Satan-sent, hell-bringing temptation coming for you? And knowing your own utter helplessness before it, and knowing also Christ’s omnipotence, have you turned to Him with that instant prayer, “Lord Jesus, Thou art sufficient”?—and then watched the temptation shrivel and die before Him, while your heart tingled and sang “with joyful praise,”* realizing anew that “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”* (1 John 4:4)

I have a friend, a fine young man, who greatly needs to differentiate between the irritability of the nervous system, and the agitation and unrest of enmity against God in the heart. With his extreme conscientiousness and the highly sensitive nerves of his delicately poised organism, he feels everything with unusual keenness, and fails to make those fine distinctions. So, censuring himself, he becomes discouraged of ever reaching the altitude in grace where he will not feel impatient. But all will be clear when he learns to differentiate.

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”* (Isaiah 40:30-31) True, it does mean close, careful living with paramount desire to please the Lord. And it takes courage to deny the clamorings of the natural (when this harp of a thousand strings is strung up in discord to an inconceivable tension, painfully vibrating with every breath), to even then take up my cross daily and follow Jesus. But I have heard His gentle whisper, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.”* (Jeremiah 31:3) My heart has responded, “And I love Him more than I love myself.” It is ever the “Lure of Divine Love” that draws me on.

“He saw me ruined in the fall,
Yet loved me notwithstanding all;
He saved me from my lost estate,
His loving-kindness, oh, how great!”*

There is no question as to where I would have spent the years of my life, if it had not been for the peace of His presence in the depths of my soul, the holding of His power, and the occasional overflow of that same peace into the physical, with soothing comfort for every quivering nerve.

I am fully persuaded that even on this line He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”* (Ephesians 3:20) “For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember Thee in Thy ways.”* (Isaiah 64:4-5)

“Speak, speak to Zion’s burdened ones,
Lead, lead them up to Calv’ry’s Mount;
The want of weary hearts is there,
’Tis cleansing in Redemption’s Fount.
“I am glad there is cleansing in the blood,
Tell the world, all the world
There is cleansing in the Savior’s blood.”

Songs in the Night

Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Through the hours of coming day;
Grant that poise of soul and mind,
With Thy grace, that I may find
Strength for this frail form so weak;
For Thy glory this I seek.

Thou who stills the ocean wild
As a mother calms her child,
In Thy gentle Spirit’s pow’r
Thou canst hold me hour by hour;
Help me choose from labors vast
Restfully some little task,

Till the throbbing nerves and brain
Slowly gather strength again,
Then once more with spirit blest
I may tell the world of “Rest”;
As I wait and learn of Thee,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

Pleading faith looks up to Thee,
Rest of faith steals over me;
Oh, the hushing of Thy word,
“Be still, know that I am God,”
O’er and o’er repeats to me,
“Fear not, I will pilot thee.”