Trust me-God’s Got This one


Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze~ Isaiah 43: 1-2

As a rule I am not much of a worrier.

However. I am definitely not someone who has conquered worry through spiritual efforts. Rather, my inclination to avoid excessive worry is strictly practical. I have learned the hard way that worry wastes time, squanders energy and has the power to change precisely nothing. I am an outcome-oriented person cursed with a bit of a lazy streak. Consequently, I typically avoid any activity that does not ordinarily result in some sort of payoff. Worry does not achieve any sort of tangible outcome. As a result, I typically don’t worry about all that much.

 Until recently.

 Over the last few weeks I have found myself worrying about all sorts of strange issues at the oddest times of the day and night. From a strictly commonsense perspective, some of these worries actually make sense.

 When we put our house up for sale almost five months ago, the market was solid and houses in our area were selling at a steady pace. Within what felt like minutes of putting OUR house on the market, it dried up. Only a handful of properties have sold in our area since August. My husband and I have been living apart for months and the arrangement is getting expensive.

I worry the house will never sell.

 My husband has been subsisting on microwaved popcorn and cold cereal for months now. I worry he will develop scurvy or beriberi or some other rare nutritional deficiency. My handyman skills are rudimentary (to say the least) and so all the chores my husband normally does are not getting done or they’re not getting done properly. I worry the house will fall down on us while we are sleeping. Our eleven–year-old has began to revert back to some old behaviors recently. I worry about how all this is affecting her. I worry about moving in the middle of winter, I worry we won’t move until spring or summer or that we will never move. God has provided through this whole stupid mess but that hasn’t stopped me from worrying my head off about money.

 And those are just the worries that actually make some level of sense. The really weird stuff hits me hardest around three in the morning. That’s when I worry about how the dogs will adjust to the move, global politics, scary viruses becoming airborne, fiber and if we are getting enough of it and whether or not I remembered to shut the garage door. Once I exhaust those worries I move on to questioning every choice I’ve ever made and then I wonder if painting the entire house a different color will make it sell faster.

 The other day I came across some much-needed encouragement from an unexpected source. The seventh and eighth chapters of Daniel recount some rather peculiar dreams that foretell some unsettling future events. The implications of the dreams are at best a bit creepy and the content is so strange that it has kept scholars and theologians debating the deeper meaning of the text for centuries.

 It was not the content I found helpful. It was the context. Daniel recorded his dreams at a point in history that was both personally and politically chaotic. He was a slave who had served as an adviser to one king (Nebuchadnezzar) for all of his adult life. Nebuchadnezzar was not a great guy. He was a brutal narcissist with a capricious streak. That said, he was also a capable leader, teachable and had over time he had developed a healthy fear of Daniel’s God. Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson Belshazzar had proven himself to be an even more erratic and cruel leader than his granddad without the leadership abilities, teachable spirit or fear of the Lord.

 I believe God gave Daniel a peek into a future he would never live to see, in the midst of what had to have been of the scariest times of his life, to remind him and, by extension, all of us. That God has this. Whatever it is, God has it. God has our future tightly in His grasp. Nothing surprises Him. He has whatever is keeping you up at night too. Whether it’s a house that won’t sell or a health problem or a job loss, or a kid that has gone off the rails, or something even worse.

 God’s got it and He has you too.

Living by Faith in an Uncertain World-

We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. ~ Isaiah 59:9b-10a

 It’s been a week:

 Monday we discovered the security at our health insurance company was breached and every member of our family has had their personal information stolen. Therefore, it is quite possible that at this very moment some punk thief is enjoying the European vacation I have always dreamed of, and we are footing the bill for it.

 Our family has seen more than its fair share of challenging changes over the course of this past year and it is likely that we have yet another big one coming. It appears that there is yet ANOTHER move on the horizon and we still haven’t finished unpacking from the last one. To complicate things further we really have no clue where we will move or when it will happen. Subsequently, a whole bunch of fairly critical decisions are presently on hold until we know something definite.

 The heat has returned and so have all of the slithery, skittery desert creatures. As a result my (mostly) irrational fear of the backyard has returned in full force. Furthermore, a much-needed new diet and exercise regime has left me feeling achy, irritable and hungry. The payoff for all my hard work and deprivation has been a solid two-pound weight GAIN.

 I am well aware that in the grand scheme of life and eternity none of these issues are the end of the world. There are plenty of people on this planet who would gladly trade my first-world problems for their much more real and pressing troubles.

 That awareness did not keep me from wallowing in some of the most negative feelings imaginable for a few hours last night. I really do know better than to go there. I have learned the hard way that self-indulgent wallowing solves nothing and only leads to greater feelings of discouragement. However, feelings—especially negative feelings—are rarely ruled by logic, good sense or an unshakable faith in the goodness of God. 


 My negativity was still going strong and steady at bedtime and as a result I had a hard time getting to sleep. The next morning I was still feeling tired and a bit sorry for myself when I opened my Bible and came across this gentle reminder courtesy of our all-knowing God:

 We live by faith, not by sight~ 2nd Corinthians 5:7

 As I meditated on the verse and how it so readily relates to my own life right now, I was reminded of something I heard a youth Pastor say once in a sermon:

 “Feelings are the F-word of Christianity”

 The poor guy took more than a little heat from some irritated parents over that statement. Many felt it was crude and poorly stated. All that being demonstrably true, he also had an excellent point.

 His point was that feelings are capricious, unreliable things that ought to have little impact on the way we live out our Christianity in this world. Feelings can and will trip us up in a million different ways. Feelings, if left unexamined and unchecked will lead us into situations Christians have no business being in. Feelings are the root of virtually every kind of heartbreak in this world. Feelings will lead us to doubt even the most obvious of truths. Feelings cause even wise people to do and say things that can never be undone.

 Facts are slippery little things too. Facts, like feeling,  trip us up sometimes but in a totally different way. Facts can tell us what is true at the moment, but not everything that is true at the moment is immutable. Situations can change and God is ultimately in control of the outcome of every situation.

 God reminded me this week that we are called to live not by our feelings or even by the facts that are right in front of us. Rather, we are called to live by faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us that faith is the evidence or proof of facts and realities that we are unable to see or touch in the here and now (Hebrews 11:1-3).

 Walking in faith does not mean that we ignore reality or dodge responsibility. Living by faith means trusting God to work out the details of what we do see, and remembering that feelings lie and facts change, but our heavenly Father can be trusted even with the most exasperating of circumstances.