Susan Jane King

Thriving with Jesus in life's ongoing challenges

Anxiety Medicine That Works

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Anxiety. All of a sudden, we can run into it, like hitting a brick wall. That happened to me last week. I woke up at 4 a.m. with a start, and then I could not go back to sleep. Pressures, responsibilities, and deadlines started flooding my mind at a rapid pace.

“Lord, help me!” I prayed. “Show me how to handle this.”

“Philippians 4:6-7.” I sensed Him gently whispering the verse to my heart: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

Recognize Anxiety as a Signal

When we feel anxious, that’s a signal to turn to God. The Bible verse says, “Do not be anxious about anything.” Anxious moments will come, but God doesn’t want us to live in a continual state of anxiety, to be there habitually. Jesus came that we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). We find that kind of life with Him.

Pray to God

The word “prayer” in Philippians 4:6 is “proseuche,” in the Greek New Testament language. It means, “To look at God as He is, to pray, worship.”  We have to choose to move our thoughts off the things causing us anxiety and onto the Lord, who is over all things.

I was amazed when I learned that the word anxiety (“merimna” in the Greek) actually means, “through the idea of distraction, solicitude, care.” The root of that word means, “to disunite, divide, give part.” Anxiety is an attempt by the enemy of our souls to distract and call us away from God, to get us to look at other things and make them bigger than our Lord. We must refuse to allow him to do that. We are told to cast all our anxiety (distractions) on the Lord, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7, NASB).

How do we do that?

When we feel anxious, we must look to God and recite who God is. We must speak with God and listen to what He has to say. We grow closer to Him and stronger in our faith in the process.

Ask God

To petition God means to ask Him to help, to give us what we need. We look to Him as the Source for all things and the Authority over everything in heaven and on earth. Instead of jumping right into how we are going to “solve” the problem, we ask the Lord for wisdom, power, and provision. We commit to do what He says, and we look expectantly for His answers.

Thank God

Even before we witness God’s response, we can thank Him that He has the situation under control. We can thank Him for who He is, for His promises toward us, for His ability to do all things, for the great love He has toward us. Thankfulness indicates trust. We believe God is God, that He cares for us, and that He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond what we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Anticipate Peace

We are told in Philippians 4:7 that if we go to God, focus on Him, ask for His help, and thank Him in advance, that He will supply His peace to guard (literally “umpire over”) our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. It will be a peace that makes no sense from a wordly perspective. The Lord will hold us in His peace. When our emotions or thoughts are tempted to drag us back into anxiety, the Lord’s peace will be calling to us as well. It will fight for and guard our well-being.

In His Word, the Lord has outlined anxiety medicine that works. He is the remedy to all our afflictions. He pardons all our iniquities, heals all our diseases, redeems our life from the pit, crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion, and satisfies our years with good things, so that our youth is renewed like the eagle (Psalm 103:3-5). With medicine like that, anxiety doesn’t stand a chance.

Question: How has the Lord helped you with anxiety? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

 

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God Sees Who He Made Us To Be

man speaking microphone woman speaking

As a little girl in first grade, I was so shy that I hung against the wall of school building every recess. Having compassion on me, my teacher would choose students at each break and make them play with me. The idea of having to interact and talk with others tore away at my stomach until my doctor put me on medication to prevent an ulcer—I was 6 years old.

My son couldn’t speak at all until he was 5 years old. Specialists said he was mentally retarded. Lots of stimuli sent him into off-the-charts tantrums and fits. He often shook things in front of his face and seemed detached and distant from the world.

We never saw ourselves as public speakers. At the time, no one else did either.

But God did.

Shortly after I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I was watching a video of a Christian Bible teacher, who was speaking and teaching. Somewhere in the middle of that video, I sensed the Lord telling me, “That will be you some day.”

Really?! I thought.

That was 18 years ago, and now it is happening. My son Patrick and I are speaking publicly, sharing our story of hope and encouragement, testifying to the power and grace of God.

This past weekend, we spoke at the District Convention of North Carolina West Civitan. We felt at home standing on the platform, speaking into the microphone, and sharing what God has done.

God Uses the Weak

I heard once at church that “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” In other words, He takes our weakness and uses it for His glory. The Lord told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul responded by saying, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV).

Gideon was hiding from his enemies when God called him a “mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12), even though Gideon told the Lord that his clan was the weakest in Manassah, and he was the least in his family (Judges 6:15). David’s daddy didn’t even think about bringing him before the prophet Samuel for consideration as the future king because David was the youngest, and he was a shepherd, the lowest job in the family (1 Samuel 16:10-11).

God uses the weak so that we and others can realize that “our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5, NASB). On weakness is the stage on which the Lord can display His mighty power, “so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NASB).

God Fulfills His Plans

We are told in the scriptures, “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV). What God plans, He does. It is not up to us to make things happen. The Lord accomplishes what He desires. “The Lord Almighty has sworn, ‘Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen’” (Isaiah 14:24, NIV).

The Lord works everything according to His perfect plan . . . and His perfect timing. David waited 14 years after he was anointed until he became king. In the meantime, the Lord used David’s experiences during that time to shape him for the position. David learned a great deal about the Lord during that time, which helped him as he later led the nation of Israel.

I know the Lord has shaped and taught me and Patrick during the past 18 years. So many of those lessons are recorded in our new book, OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM. Now, we are sharing those truths at our speaking engagements.

God Sees the Eternal

In the end, this is what the Lord said about David: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22, NIV). We are also told, “David had served God’s purpose in his own generation” (Acts 13:36, NIV).

David knew of the love, grace, power, and faithfulness of God. He responded by allowing God to use his life as He desired.

In the midst of our challenges and turmoils, our joys and triumphs, our eternal God is working out His eternal purposes—in and through us. He sees the end from the beginning, and He is working everything together for good (Romans 8:28) . . . because He is good.

May we each allow the Lord, who sees the eternal perspective, to work out His purposes in our lives.

Question: How have you seen the Lord working out His eternal purposes in your life, and in the lives of others? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

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The Lord Controls the Doors

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I met yesterday with the assistant superintendent of the local school system. I was able to share with her some of my and Patrick’s story, which is chronicled in our new book, OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM. I talked with her about the positive impact made by the caring professionals in the local school system. I voiced my and Patrick’s desire to speak to teachers in order to thank them and to communicate that they can make a tremendous difference in the lives of their students. Patrick serves as a living example of that truth.

Will anything come of that meeting?

Only if the Lord wants something to happen.

Revelation 3:7-8, NIV, says, “What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open. . . See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.”

The Lord opens and closes doors for our own good.

He says “yes” and “no” and for our own good (Deuteronomy 10:13) and so that it might go well with us (Deuteronomy 4:40). He says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” He closes doors because He knows that to go through them would bring us unnecessary pain. He opens doors that bless us and draw us closer to Him. He is eternally wise and exceedingly loving toward His children, and He knows what is best for us.

The Lord opens and closes doors for the good of others.

The Lord closed the door for Paul to preach the gospel in Asia, even though he wanted to go there (Acts 16:6). Instead, the Lord opened the door for Paul to share the truth about Jesus Christ in Macedonia (Acts 16:9-12), and Paul walked through that door. The Lord had prepared the hearts of the Macedonians to hear Paul’s message. The closing and opening of doors was for their benefit.

The Lord opens and closes doors for His kingdom purposes.

The Lord does not want anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). He places great importance on bringing others into the kingdom. Doors open and close toward that purpose. We can’t always see what is happening in this realm, but God does.

Paul was sensitive to the swinging of the doors. He looked for the open doors and humbly moved away from the closed ones. He knew that the Lord was the Doorkeeper (1 Corinthians 16:9, 2 Corinthians 2:12, and Colossians 4:3), and he celebrated with his home church when the Lord “had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27, NIV).

Jesus said, “I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10, NIV). That’s the bigger—the biggest—picture. That’s the picture that endures for all eternity.

Whether the door swings open or closed in our lives, we can rest assured that our loving Father is moving the hinges to benefit us, others, and His kingdom purposes. We all remain blessed because the Lord controls the doors.

Question: How has the Lord opened and closed doors in your life, and what has He accomplished in doing so? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

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Climbing the Mountain

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Patrick and David hiking and at the top of Mt. Whitney

 

The summer after my son Patrick finished fifth grade, he went on the adventure of a lifetime, hiking Mt. Whitney with his dad, two uncles, and grandfather. Working their way to the peak—14,505 miles above sea level—would have been difficult enough without the challenges of Patrick’s autism. But Patrick determined to make his way up that mountain, and 7 days later, he was at the top!

I wrote about that memorable trip in my book, “Optimism for Autism.” Hiking Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevada mountain range included many trials, as well as triumphs. Some friends recently asked me and my husband David about the trip, and we got to relive the quest for the peak all over again as we recounted some of the most remarkable stories from their journey.

As I reflected on Patrick’s determination to climb that mountain (89,000 footsteps, according to Grandpa King’s pedometer), I thought of several lessons my son learned along the way. Those lessons can benefit all of us as we tackle the mountains looming ahead of us in life.

Look At Jesus

Patrick said one piece of advice he had for climbing Mt. Whitney was, “Don’t look down!” Some of the steep, narrow trails had drop-offs of 2,500 feet. (In perspective, the Empire State Building is 1,500 feet tall.) David instructed Patrick to keep his eyes on the trail in front of him, focusing on where he was headed instead of the scary possibilities of falling.

In the Bible, it says, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NASB). We can focus on our difficult circumstances, or on the One who sees us through them. We can keep forging ahead with the Lord. Peter walked on the water when he kept his focus on Jesus. He didn’t start sinking until he took his eyes off Jesus to look at the wind and waves around him (Matthew 14:22-33).

Don’t Give In To Your Fears

About halfway through their hiking trip, Patrick confessed to David that he was afraid of heights! He even got to the point that he didn’t want to take another step on that mountain. David told Patrick he needed to hike afraid. In other words, David encouraged his son not to allow his fears to rule his life.

Psalm 56:3, NASB says, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” It says, “When I am afraid.” Fear is a natural human response, but when we feel it, we are to take it to the Lord and ask Him to help us with it. When the Lord directs us to do something, we should not allow fear to discourage, distract, or stop us. We should do it afraid, choosing to rely on the Lord to help us overcome those fears and triumph in Him.  God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

Control Your Thoughts

Patrick learned along his 7-day journey to think positively. All the way up that mountain, he carried a small piece of paper with a Bible verse on it: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).

“Whenever it was hard, I would look at that Bible verse,” Patrick said. His Grandpa King had given him that Bible verse at the beginning of the hike, and Patrick held on to it with his hand and his heart. We are told to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5); in other words, we need to watch how we are thinking and throw out any thoughts that don’t line up with what God says. His beautiful promises in His Word offer great hope and reassurance. When we think about what He says and who He is, our challenges don’t seem as imposing.

The mountains in life do not have to overwhelm us. We can experience intimate times with the Lord when we choose to climb those mountains with Him. In the process, we can each discover, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:19, NIV).

Question:  What mountain are you currently climbing with the Lord? What is He teaching you there? Comment at the link below.

Visit Susan’s website: susanjaneking.com

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