Gobsmacked: (Slang – Utterly Astonished, Open-mouthed)
Been gobsmacked lately?
I love that word. I used it recently to add British authenticity to a WWII story I submitted to a children’s literature historical fiction contest. It may be old-fashioned, even smack a bit (no pun intended) of obsolete these days. But on this Thanksgiving Eve, as I count my blessings over the wild and crazy year I’ve just had, I’m thinking… hmmm… gobsmacked says it all. With maybe a little shock…sorrow… and wonder… thrown in.
For a little over one year ago, out of the blue, it seemed war had been declared over me. A war of words spewing lies, proclaiming defeat and intending to crush. Warriors determined to leave me in the dust. What blindsided me most was who and where it came from. And how long it went on. And on.
“What’s happening, Lord?” I so often prayed, burdened down and stressed to the max with the fight. His answer came so swiftly as I read the psalms, it left me gobsmacked again…only this time by finding my story right there in the Psalmist’s words:
“Hear me O God…hide me from the conspiracy…from that noisy crowd… They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent man; they shoot at him suddenly, without fear. They encourage each other in evil plans, they talk about hiding their snares; they say ‘Who will see them?’ They plot injustice and say, ‘We have devised a perfect plan!’” — Psalm 65: 1-6 (NIV)
And by God’s answer: “Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord…let all the upright in heart praise Him!”– Psalm 65: 10 (NIV)
I identified with David and pleaded, as he did: “Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and deceitful tongues…I am a (woman) of peace, but when I speak, they are for war.” — Psalm 120: 2, 7
Yet…above the cacophony… I heard His whisper in my heart: Remember… “The battle is mine,” says the Lord. “Stand firm in praise and see what I will do…” I remembered when God told that to Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat sent the praise singers out at the head of the battle. Not the wisest move in our eyes. But as they proclaimed their praise, God brought them wondrous, reclaiming, victory.
And so I determined to face each day with praise as my shield, His words of promise as my sword… Help me Lord, to keep my heart set on praise… I praise you for your victory and restoration in my life…
As I did, I noticed something. Whenever the “war” intensified, God sent me encouragers with words of hope to fortify my heart. “You can’t…You aren’t…You won’t!” shouted the deceivers. But others lifted me up with, “Keep believing in yourself, Pam…You have much to offer…You make a difference!”
I have to admit…Many a time I felt overwhelmed…found myself letting lies crush me with self-doubt. But God was always there…lifting me to praise.
Lately, as the “war” has finally ended and I look to new ways God can bring my dreams to fruition, I’ve been meditating on what God can and will do when we turn our hearts from fear and doubt to sing and praise Him:
- Use the earthquakes in our lives to open prison doors and set captives free
- Make the dry tree to flourish and bear fruit
- Make our hearts sing with the music of strings
- Anoint us with the oil of joy
- Make our mouths like the pen of a skilled writer
- Strengthen us with his word of “Peace, be strong!”
- Reach down from on high and put us high on a Rock
- Turn our darkness into light
- Anoint us to do great things in Him
- Use us to encourage others
- Fill our mouths with even more thanksgiving and praise
- Draw us with loving-kindness and build us up again
- Open doors no man can shut
- Put dreams in our hearts and anoint them to succeed
- And so much more…
Yes… it’s been one incomprehensible and stormy year. But I thank Him for all He’s doing to bring me victory out of what others meant for harm…his promise to bring beauty out of ashes…and for all those he sent to me with words of hope and joy. Lord, I am so grateful for all the beautiful ways YOU leave me gobsmacked! For your ways are to lift me up, make me sure-footed as a deer, and lead me on the paths of your joy, your provision. I’m looking to you to make more out of my life than I can hope or imagine.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to
him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100: 4, 5 (NIV)
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