Praise is due to you...O you who hears prayer...(Psalm 65:1)
You have made known to me the paths of life. You will make me full of gladness i your presence. (Acts 2:28)
May the peace of our dear Lord fill every hour with peace today. (Amy Carmichael in Edges of His Ways)
These were portions of my morning readings. If I was ever tempted to think that God does not know our hearts and know how to speak to us...I have more proof of the foolishness of such a thought now.
There are a great many opportunities for me to fret. Each day, it seems, provides me with many new things to think and worry about. Whether it is family issues, work situations, the struggle of a friend, my weight loss, my finances, my future or something as silly as whether so and so thought what I said just that moment was stupid...you name it.
This morning I was giving in. I was thinking and imagining worst-case scenarios. My chest felt tight and my heart felt as if it were made of lead. I had prayed and spent my time with the Lord and asked Him to help me cast rather than carry this particular burden...and yet I felt the way I described above.
As I climbed the stairs to my office, I again asked the Lord for His help. His response was this: Why fret over what is uncertain when you know what is [certain]?
The fretting stopped cold.
All that was running through my head was speculation, conjecture, and imagination. Not one thing actually going on in the present was requiring the intense response I was having. I was responding to what might be...not what actually is.
What actually is, is that God is sovereign - equally so over the lives of believers and unbelievers. He is good and kind. He promises to work all things (ALL things, good and bad...all means ALL) together for the good. He is trustworthy. And, He will always do better than we think or imagine (no matter how grandiose or horrifying that imagination is).
Several years ago, I was fretting over my size and the effect I believed it had on my prospect for marriage. It was a Sunday morning and I was getting dressed and said something like "No one will ever marry me unless I get rid of this" and slapped my ample backside. Immediately, I heard "I am bigger than your butt."
At first, I was like "God said 'butt'?!?!" Then I cried.
I never forgot that, though I don't think I really believed it until a few years ago. The older I get the more proof I have that God is indeed bigger than my "butt" or my "but". The only "but" I ever need concern myself is this one: "But God...". We want to define life and set our emotions to the ebb and tide of our circumstances, but God defines them according to His will. And His will is good and perfect and immovable. He is not worried when storms crop up for He created the storm. It is part of the plan and He says to us: It is I; do not be afraid. He slept on a pillow while the storm threatened to capsize the boat He and his disciples were in. He was not worried. All was well in hand...including the storm and tossing waves. Were it not for storms, would we have such proof of God's might and faithfulness?
If life was never scary or hard, would we ever go deeper with the Lord? I don't think so. It is in those moments when we come face to face with the reality of our desperate need for God and utter dependence on Him. It is there we learn the most about who He is and become the most conformed into His image. And it because of this that we can then have peace that goes beyond our understanding...peace that is not determined by what we understand or see or think or feel, but that is rooted and grounded in the truth of God.