Promises from Psalm 91

By Amy Cargle, Executive Director of Operations

In 2008, the economy took a turn and we entered the Great Recession. At the time, I was a business litigation attorney working for a firm in Cleveland, Ohio. I was 10 years into my career, working toward becoming a partner, and networking to build a client base. There was a part of me that truly loved being an attorney but there was another part of me that was not happy. I had longed to leave the billable hours and litigation pressures. Despite trying to control my path and my future, life just didn’t go the way I expected it to go. I have been a believer since I was 10 years old, but during that 2009-2010 period, I thought I was in control of my destiny. God had other plans.

In January 2009, I went in for what I thought was my performance review and left that meeting without a job. I was a victim of the recession. I was one of many lawyers laid off during the economic downturn. I did not handle the layoff well. I can still replay that day in my head. I felt hopeless, panicked, and fearful. I had been a Christian for decades at that point and knew those were not the feelings I should feel. I was not trusting God’s plan, but instead, I was worried about our family, and I was convinced we were going to end up homeless. I spiraled, experiencing anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. The panic attacks were so bad that I had to tune out the news and the stock market reports. I was a mess.

Not surprisingly, God sustained my family through that very difficult time. We did not lose our house and we did not end up homeless. Don’t get me wrong, times were tough. I had a senior in high school getting ready to go off to college the next year and I had no idea how we would pay for that. My marriage went through a very difficult period because I was so deep down in the pits, worrying constantly. I felt like my identity had been stolen from me—instead of finding my identity in Christ, I had found it in my career, in generating an income, and in things.

Guess what? God showed up in every way and we survived those difficult times. I took a job teaching college while continuing to practice law on the side. Eventually, I stopped practicing law due to the anxiety and stress. I transitioned into higher education and discovered contentment in my role. I worked through the anxiety and panic attacks during that time, as well as the constant fear of losing my job. For a while, every time I got called into a meeting or my boss requested to talk with me, I panicked reliving the experience of losing my job. However, over time, I began to regain my self-worth and find a new identity. I drew closer to God especially since I was forced to rely on Him for everything and seek His will and guidance in all things.

During those dark days (and many were very dark), I prayed Psalm 91 out loud every morning. Honestly, it got me through that time. “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom in I trust” (v 2); “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (v 4). I used personal pronouns when praying Psalm 91 – He will cover me with his feathers and under his wings I will find my refuge; his faithfulness will be my shield and rampart. I spent an entire year or more with that prayer every morning. It confirmed to me that God wants the best for me in all circumstances. It finally sunk in that even when it felt like a thousand arrows were flying directly at me (v. 5), “because God loves me . . . He will rescue me, He will protect me, for I acknowledge His name” (Psalm 91:14).

Fast forward to 2020 . . . a worldwide pandemic, stock market crashing, and people losing their jobs. I am not going to lie—I had moments of creeping fear, anxiety, and uncertainty in the beginning of the crisis. I immediately reverted to those 2009-2010 fears of losing my job or my husband losing his. BUT, after a few months of this situation, I can tell you that I handled this crisis much differently than I did during the Great Recession. I have turned to God when I started to worry or when fear has crept into my mind. I have gone to the Word when the enemy has tried to fill my head with lies. I have sought direction in prayer and spent much time in worship (my love language with God). I have sought comfort in knowing how my story turned out 10 years earlier.

I know the crisis is not yet over and we still live in a very uncertain world. I also know that God does not promise us constant happiness. However, as I write this, I can praise God for the shift in mindset between the two crises. During the first crisis, I knew Him, but didn’t trust Him implicitly. I believed in Him, but didn’t believe He knew what was best for me. I had faith in Him, but I didn’t really have faith in Him. Have you been there?

This time, I know Him AND I trust Him implicitly. I have seen His grace, His work, His goodness, and His plans come to fruition over the past 10 years. I believe in Him AND I believe His plans are PERFECT! I never would have considered moving from Ohio to Texas 10 years ago; I never would have imagined I would be working on the pastoral team of a church. I would not have recognized the perfect preparation He orchestrated with my education and experience for this role at Faith Bible Church.

Friends – I am telling you my story in the hope that one of you can have peace from my experiences. How I handled this crisis versus the last crisis looks very differently. That is solely because of God and the unending promises that He will care for us, His plans are best, and He will not leave us in a pit of fear or anxiety. I have a confidence in Him that I did not have in 2009-2010.

He loves me and you so much that when we call on Him, He will answer us (Psalm 91:14). He will be with us in trouble, and He will deliver us and honor us (Psalm 91:15). What an amazing promise for us in these uncertain times. I praise Him for those promises and the assurance that I am not alone in my journey because He cares about it even more than I do.

If you stop by my office at the church, you will notice that I have Psalm 91 framed on my wall. I want a reminder every day how God’s Word pulled me through one of the darkest times of my life and remember the abundant promises He has for me every day, no matter my circumstances or the craziness of our world.
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