My immediate family live in the northeast region of the United States, which is where I grew-up. They love it there but me, not so much and my travels back to the area have lessened over the years. During my most recent visit I experienced a couple of anxiety attacks after not having had any for a while.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses
all understanding,
will guard your hearts and
your minds in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 4:7

Have you ever had a negative outlook on something that others around you found to be positive?
“The forest makes me feel closed in,” I explained to one of my brothers, “I like the openness of the desert.” But there was more to it, so I added, “Ohio puts me in a bad head space.” As we drove around the area where my brothers live, I thought about it more.
“What was it?” I wondered as I spotted a walking area that led to trails into the woods. “When I was young, I used to take solace in woods just like that. Now woods like that make me feel claustrophobic and snappy.” I felt disappointed in myself because for the last five years I had been hard at work to understand and to change behavior and negative thinking from a long past of domestic violence.

Later that same day, as I stood at the tree lined edge of my brother’s lawn listening to the wind whisper to the trees I cried. My mom was dying, and memories were flying around my thoughts – some of them were getting stuck in scenes that I did not want replaying.
“I thought I was over this crap.” I screamed at myself in my head.

I’m caught in a maze and can’t find my way out,
blinded by tears of pain and frustration.
 I call to you, God; all day I call.
 I wring my hands, I plead for help.

– Psalm 88:8b-9

Now, a couple of months later and mom has since gone home to heaven, I am grateful and wondering, “What was the turn around?”

“The Lord gives strength to his people,
and the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
– Psalm 29:11

One of the last accounts of events in the life of King David is when he took a military census of his troops (2 Samuel 24). It was a census of his own choosing, not something he inquired of the Lord about, and it got him and Israel into trouble. After years of battles and bloodshed with God on his side for the sake of Israel and in their favor, King David allowed his pride to override God’s provision. It is something that I have been guilty of countless times and have always kicked myself in the butt for. Of course, I repent but I know I will have to pay the piper.
King David knew too.

“But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people.
And David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I
have done. But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of
your servant, for I have done very foolishly. And when David
arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet
Gad, David’s seer, saying, Go and say to David, “Thus says the
LORD, three things I offer you. Choose one of them, that I may
do it to you.””

– 2 Samuel 24:10-12

Every time I read those verses my body tightens like I just took a punch to the gut. I picture David shaking and lowering his head with his jaw clenched and thinking, “Aw, LORD, I messed that up.” I have taken a similar posture too many times in the past – it’s practice for when it happens again. 😉
The Lord gave David three choices for judgment of his sin (2 Samuel 24:12-13), but David chose to leave the decision to God (v. 14).

The Lord sent a pestilence on Israel and was going to destroy Jerusalem but relented from doing so (2 Samuel 24:15-16). In 1 Chronicles 21, the account of this part of the story gives me chills:

“When David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord
standing between earth and heaven with his drawn
sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem,
David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown.”

 – 1 Chronicles 21:16

Just picture that in your mind! But why did God relent? Most likely because in repentance, David prayed and worshipped the Lord.

“And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt
 offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD responded to
the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.”

1 Samuel 24:25

From falling facedown to praising, David tells us in Psalm 30:11-12 that:

“You turned my lament into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
so that I can sing to you and not
 be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise
you forever.”

What was the turnaround in your circumstances that makes you grateful this thanksgiving?

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
to which indeed you were called in one body.
 And be thankful.”

– Colossians 3:15

Photo by Jill Wellington on