1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh—my adversaries and foes—they shall stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. 4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. 6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. 7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! 8 "Come," my heart says, "seek his face!" Your face, Lord, do I seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation! 10 If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up. 11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. 12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence. 13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
When Burdens are Hard to Bear
by Leigh Greathouse, Ph.D.
Everyone has their cross to bear in life, and each of us approach our burden in different ways. My burden came early in life at 24, with the diagnosis of a rare form of uterine cancer, stage IV.
At the time I had a strong Christian peer group at church that supported me, along with a loving family. It was a unique experience, getting the diagnosis, and then processing what it meant. I cannot say that I was not scared at first, especially the initial surgery, but then an amazing thing happened. The Holy Spirit gave me knowledge beyond my understanding that I would be fine, and I need not worry about this trial in my life. At the time, everyone around me could not understand why I seemed so peaceful in stark contrast to the sentiment of the doctors.
It was not until later in life that I really understood what had happened, and to this day I am still in awe. It was truly a blessing because it forever changed the direction of my life and my career. Do you ever wonder why God has set such trials in your life or given you such burdens to bear? Even just day to day, sometimes the burdens, and life itself, can seem too much to bear.
As a scientist, I am constantly faced with failure on a daily basis. If you have a passion for it, the struggle is worth the failure. There are many times, however, when I feel overwhelmed by all of my goals and responsibilities, and I do not know if I can continue or want to continue. The fear of failure or the worry about funding is always present, but I take solace each day in psalms like these: “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”. When this worry starts to become overwhelming, it is comforting to know that we have God on our side, protecting us. Even more than this, I am comforted by this part of the psalm: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
Our time in this earthly body is short, and God’s purpose for us has nothing do with what goals you achieve, awards you get or papers you publish. He is working through you to accomplish His plans, and so the worries of today or tomorrow seem to pale in comparison to what is waiting for us in Heaven. For me, I know part of my purpose is to share the Hope of Christ and His birth through sharing my story.
My hope for you during this season of Advent is to remember your purpose and think on this psalm when you feel overwhelmed by life’s struggles. “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.”
Learn More About Our Guest Writer
Leigh Greathouse, Ph.D.
Leigh Greathouse, Ph.D., is an associate professor in nutrition sciences, with joint appointments in both Biology and Health and Human Performance. Her background spans the fields of cancer biology, epidemiology, and nutrition. Dr. Greathouse is an example of the benefits Baylor’s students receive from faculty involved in interdisciplinary, collaborative research that advances such academic priority areas as Health and Data Sciences.The focus of her laboratory at Baylor is on elucidating the relationship between diet and the microbiome and its impact on cancer etiology and treatment.
Dr. Greathouse applies machine learning algorithms, bioinformatic tools, and ecological statistical methodology to cohort studies and large datasets to identify biomarkers. She also uses molecular biology techniques to test these biomarkers for causative relationships. As a cancer biologist and dietitian, she collaborates with internal and external research teams to identify dietary and microbial factors that can be used to prevent disease and improve health outcomes related to chronic inflammation.