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  • Susan Cort Johnson

Staying On Chorus

Updated: Apr 27



"Be Still”—I often strive to put out the fires I walk through and flail in the river currents fearful that my head will go underwater (Isaiah 43:2). Yet God says the flames of the fire will not burn or scorch and the rivers will not overflow us because He is with us.

What should I do? Sing.

In March I started reading “Streams in the Desert” as part of my daily devotion time. On day 23 of that month the author, Mrs. Charles E. Cowman printed a poem.

“He placed me in a little cage,

Away from gardens fair;

But I must sing the sweetest songs

Because He placed me there.

Not beat my wings against the cage

If it’s my Maker’s will,

But raise my voice to heaven’s gate

And sing the louder still!”

I often beat my wings against the cage. Following my diagnosis of B Cell Lymphoma in late November 2019, there have been battles with fears and uncertainty in the early hours of the morning. My choice for healing was a miraculous cure and I asked. When God did not heal me, I sought guidance on therapy. I found it difficult to accept what seemed to be His choice…chemo. I furiously beat my wings against the bars that locked in this decision.

When the Apostle Paul and Silas were locked in a cage, prison, they prayed and sang hymns to God. They were singing when an earthquake shook the bars and freed the prisoners. (Acts 16:25-26.)

The two words I wrote at the beginning this piece are part of a complete sentence from Psalm 46. “Be still and know that I am God.”

The psalmist tells us that God, the “Most High”, is not moved although waters roar and foam and mountains tremble. Before my cancer diagnosis, I completed a Bible study based on Psalm 46 written by Sher Pai. One question in this study was: “In what ways does this knowledge help you to let go of the things that are trying to disturb your peace today? (The knowledge was the revelation of God provided in Psalm 46).

My answer was: “He is a present help… Do I assume He will help, or do I cry out? Do I ask, seek, knock—pour out my heart as a person would to a loving Father?”

I have cried out to God during my cancer treatment and have found He answers. Our emotional state does not factor into His response, often we are vulnerable trying to get some solid footing on unstable ground feeling guilty that our faith has been shaken. But still God answers.

Feb. 27 at 3 a.m. I wrote:

“Last night my heart was troubled as I went to bed. I asked the Lord to shelter me in the shadow of His wings(Psalm 36:7)… I needed comfort, reassurance… I needed to be wrapped securely, protected. I felt a touch and heard inaudible words— “You are in the shadow of my wings.” Suddenly I realized that is why the side effects from chemo were not so severe and those I have God has given guidance on how to manage them.”

God is trustworthy. Whether or not we trust Him is not a factor in His trustworthiness. It is one of His characteristics. We can count on Him to do what He says He will do in His Word.

Knowing that “God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1), when trapped in circumstances beyond our control, instead of coming out swinging, let’s sing praises as we expectantly wait for something extraordinary only God can do



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