What do you do at times like that? I asked myself a question: what would Bill Johnson do or teach others to do? And then I recalled Bill saying at one time, “When you’ve lost your peace, open the book of Psalms and read it until you find your voice.” Up until that point, I had always viewed that as simply a good tip. We listen to teachings over and over; then we realize on the umpteenth time, “Oh, you mean to actually do that.” Open the Psalms and read until you find your voice. So, sitting crossed legged on a hotel bed, I opened my Bible to Psalms and began to read. I knew those early psalms well, yet I read them as if for the first time. In Psalm 4:3, it says, “God hears.” Wow, I thought, the obvious can be so encouraging. That is truly good news. I don’t know if you realize just how good that news is, that He hears when you call to Him. Despite the encouragement that one line brought, I knew it was not the voice that I was looking for, so I read on. Would I be there long? I wondered. Maybe the great Psalm 119 would contain my voice? But then it happened as I got to Psalm 13:2, “How long will I take counsel in my soul?” Immediately, I saw that my soul is not a good counselor. That was it. Paul Manwaring, who is able to work nearly everything out with a nursing, management, and strategic background, had to know on that day, that his soul, mind, will, and emotions could not be trusted as the primary guides for this journey. As I read on, Psalm 16 reminded me that my soul has the capacity to take me to Sheol or hell. “For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol,” reads Psalm 16:10.
My mental wanderings were already dragging me to the place where there is no hope and no answers, just more distress. In the hotel that day, I decided, between God and myself, that I would not study the PSA test result or anything related to it. I wouldn’t go surfing the Net or even searching my soul. I would, as I went on to read in Psalm 16:7, “…bless the Lord who has counseled me,” and allow my mind to instruct me in the night season. The journey from Psalm 13 to Psalm 16 would be a journey I would take many times over in the coming months. It would prove to be a life-giving journey, a passage into the counsel of heaven.