On Monday, I talked about living in victory. On Tuesday, I spent the day swimming in uncertainty. Perhaps God wanted to cushion today’s post with compassion. Emotions and our thought processes are very closely tied and although we are commanded to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, it’s not always easy.
I’ve struggled with wayward thoughts my entire life. Discouragement, fear, frustration…numerous other emotions, all begin in my head. And once I let that first thought take hold, I feed it, and work it, strengthening it with one negative thought after another until it balloons. I think this is a constant battle. Truth tells us God is in control. Truth tells us God’s ways are always best even when we don’t understand. Truth tells us this life on earth is fleeting and our true home lies in heaven. Truth tells us we belong to Christ and have been purchased at a high price.
Quite honestly, I am struggling today. A friend is sick, and it has reminded me how incredibly fleeting life is. The Bible tells us tomorrow is promised to no one, yet how rarely does that truth sink in. And yet, when the reality of mortality hits, so many things become inconsequential.
Today I am focusing on Philipians 4:6-8 as I diligently put into practice 2 Corinthians 10:5 which tells me to demolish every argument that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I will pray with thanksgiving, reminding myself of all the times and ways God has shown up in the past. I will focus on who He is–Creator, Redemer, Sustainer, Comforter, Prince of Peace, Almighty Father. When I remember what He has done in the past and meditate on His incomprehensible love and power, anxious thoughts diminish. My concerns are placed in a “bigger picture” perspective. Then, I will lay my concerns in His hands, knowing that He is sovereign, loving and all-knowing.
The final verse is one I like to repeat outloud when I pray, (4:8) especially when my thoughts attempt to run amuck.
“Lord, You are lovely. You are pure. You are honorable and worthy of respect.”
In Tony Evans, Free at Last, he gives an illustration of a driver stuck in traffic attempting to find his way out by craning his neck to see around the long line of cars. As I read, I was reminded of the years we spent in Souther California. If you’ve ever lived in the Los Angeles area, you know how frustrating rush hour traffic can be. You’ll do anything to avoid it, even if that means hanging out down town until eight or nine, when the bumper to bumper crawl finally ends.
Amidst the chaos, how many of us would turn to a fellow driver, moving beside us at a five mile an hour crawl, to ask for guidance? Their vision is equally blocked. All they can see is the mass of cars all around them. And it wouldn’t do any good to look behind us, either. Instead, we turn on the radio in search of the helicopter update–news from one who is above it all and can clearly see.
God is our helicopter view. Most of the time our view will be distorted by the massive traffic jam all around us. And this is why we walk by faith, not by sight, trusting in the unwavering, unfailing love of God.
And before I leave, I ask that you pray for my friend and her family, for peace, an overwhelming sense of God’s love, strength and healing. I spoke with her on Monday night and rejoiced in the extreme peace God had given her. God is holding her tightly and pouring His love through her. His love is never-ending, never-failing.
Praying for your friend and her family – and for YOU, Jennifer. Philippians 4:6-7 are two of my very favorite verses in the Bible – my life verses. And I SO need them – especially today. Thank you for this reminder.
I tell ya, you are not alone in these thoughts. Recently my family has been faced with something unimagineable and it really makes you think about the bigger picture and how little control “we” have. Worry is my biggest enemy, I worry about things I just have no control over whatsoever. Patiently, He is waiting for me to learn and re-learn, that although my heart is aching for myself and others, that if I just have faith in Him, the pain and worry will lessen. Together if we keep encouraging one another to look outside ourselves, we will all be blessed with the love and comfort only He can deliver. You and your friend will be in my prayers Jennifer.
Melissa and Joanne, it sounds like you both are having a difficult day today. I will pray for both of you right now, that God holds you tightly and makes His love very real to you.
Whenever difficulties hit, I am reminded of Genesis 3, and the consequences of sin. God created a very good world, but Adam’s rebellion messed everything up. This present world is tainted by sin and suffering is a result of that. But the promise is that Jesus is returning to take His children home to be with Him in heaven where there will be no sickness or pain.
Jen…I have joined you in prayer for your friend. When I struggle I often repeat to myself over and over again, “I place all my trust in you my God, all my hope is in your mercy”. It helps bring me peace during difficult times.
Let me share a YouTube video (hopefully the link will work) of Steven Curtis Chapman’s song, “God Is God”. I can’t tell you how many times this song came on the car radio when I was in despair during my daughter’s illness. It still ministers to me today. Praying for your friend, Jen and for you.
Blessings and Hugs…
To all of you, thank you for your kind words, but most of all, thank you for praying for my friend and her family.
Thanks for sharing your heart…your burden for your friend…and your struggle with staying focused. The battle is so exhausting and draining. It does help to know that what we are facing is ‘common to man’….all the others making the journey to Him…longing to be faithful, fruitful, and finish well. Praying with you for your friend and her family…and for you and with you as well. Hugs…sandyT