Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Coincidence? No. A Deliberate Message? YES!

Just a little bit ago, I was pondering a specific problem that leaves me very anxious if I think about it too much. I literally threw my hands up in the air and said: God - I just don't know what to do! I then prayed specifically that God would speak directly to me through one of the devotions saved in my devotional email folder.

Since I have received this series of devotions since 2007 and have 1,108 of them to chose from, I closed my eyes and trusted I would land on one He wanted me to read. I clicked several times through the many pages before blindly landing on page 18. I followed my same method and quickly clicked down the long list and selected a post.

At that same moment, John started crying.  I immediately got up to care for him, before opening that selected mystery post. As I jaunted up the steps, a bit of excitement was brewing - I was looking forward to seeing what God had to say to me. While I was comforting him I prayed that I would be able to sense Gods meaning loud and clear through the authors words. John quickly settled down and I returned to this well worn seat in front of my computer. I closed my eyes once more and opened them in genuine anticipation.

This was the devotion that was not-so-randomly selected.

 When You Don't Know What to Do
"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."
2 Chronicles 20:12b (NIV)         
5 a.m. Wide awake. Thoughts racing and whirling. Chest tight with anxiety.
My mom recently suffered a stroke, and my concern about her weighs heavily, causing my thoughts to spin. How long will Mom need to be in a rehab facility? How's my Dad holding up? Who will watch the boys when my husband's traveling for work and I need to be away to help my parents? We are in a situation we've never been in before, and we're finding that there are so many questions we can't answer.
There's a good chance you, too, are familiar with those middle of the night anxious thoughts and unanswered questions racing through your mind. Maybe your worry is about finances, a job or lack of one, a wayward child, a health challenge, marriage problems, or extended family problems. Or maybe your worries are not about big situations, but the accumulation of smaller challenges burdens your mind and heart. Your thoughts whirl as you wonder about the solution to your problems.
As I lay in bed that early morning, I remembered a familiar and favorite Bible verse: "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." I got up from bed, went downstairs, and opened my Bible to today's key verse which perfectly captured what I was feeling and thinking.
By reading the context of 2 Chronicles 20 we learn some key principles to follow in anxious situations. When King Jehoshaphat is told that "a great multitude" is coming to wage war against him, we see how just like us, the king is afraid (2 Chronicles 20:2, 3, NAS).
Instead of sinking in the quicksand of his own fearful thoughts or the inscrutability of the situation, King Jehoshaphat purposefully chooses to focus on the sovereignty of God. The king "turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah" (v. 3).
Through prayer and fasting, the king and the people of Judah acknowledge what God has done in the past, and they voice their faith in what he will do in their future. They acknowledge they are powerless, but God is completely powerful.
In the same way through my mom's situation, I have seen how quickly my thoughts could turn to the problems I don't know how to solve. What will we do if she doesn't recover her ability to walk? What if she needs a nurse full-time?
I am learning, however, to turn from these thoughts by thanking my sovereign God for all the ways He has been faithful in the past and all the ways I see His faithfulness in the present circumstances. I am learning to ask Him for wisdom for every little detail. And I am setting my eyes on Him as I wait for His answers.
What problems in your life seem unsolvable or unanswerable? Follow King Jehoshaphat's example. Turn from your own anxious thoughts, acknowledge you don't have the answers, and set your eyes on the One who does.
Dear Lord, I praise You for being a sovereign God. You are in control. I don't have to be. When I don't know what to do, Lord, thank You that I can ask You for wisdom and guidance. You are my Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). I put in Your hands each of the concerns weighing on my heart and mind. Thank You that I can entrust them into Your loving care. I set my eyes on You, confident You will come to my rescue. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Isn't God just awesome?! I read that and all I could do was giggle, smile, throw my hands up and proclaim my love for Jesus.