I went to bed last night with an anxious and confused heart and woke up feeling defeated. Defeated over all the hurt, and pain, and evil that is rampant in our world. Discouraged and frightened by the harm that one human being can deliberately do to another. Wanting justice in so many situations when none seems forthcoming.
If my hope were not in God I could become stuck right here. Part of the problem instead of the solution. Hopeless instead of hopeful. Living in defeat instead of victory. Seeing only bad in others instead of the good. Growing bitter instead of growing better. Living in fear instead of stepping out in courage.
When bad things happen, when evil becomes visible, when our hearts seize and our stomachs roll we can get stuck repeatedly asking “why?” Part of not just surviving but thriving in the hard stuff means changing the question. I think the more important questions that we need to ask are “what can God teach me through this?” Or “what does God want me to learn in this hard thing?” And “how can I use this experience to help others?”
To land in the muck of all these negative feelings I made a lot of mistakes over a short period of time. My first mistake was in going to bed without spending time in prayer giving all of my concerns over to God. The stuff happening around me is big. Big enough that I should have put a pillow on the floor beside my bed and prayed on my knees until I could truly give all my concerns over to the Almighty God.
My second mistake was in not seeking comfort in the promises of God’s Word. Not last night before I went to bed and not first thing this morning which is how I usually start my day. This brings me to my third (and most embarrassing) mistake – starting my day on Facebook reading a whole bunch of fearful, judgmental, uninformed comments surrounding one of the situations that has disturbed me deeply.
So in a world where truth is up for grabs and Fakebook is considered more reliable than the evening news here are some eternal truths to grab hold of with both hands and never let go:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world! – John 16:33
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:35, 37-39
Precious Father – In a world that is unstable may we find our stability in you. In a time that needs to see a visible God at work may we be your hands and feet. When we feel that all is hopeless may we find our hope in you. And when we feel frightened help us to remember that you did not give us a spirit of timidity but of power, love and self-discipline. Amen.