Weeding Out Fear
Often in life, tiny worries quickly get blown up until they are more than just possibilities, but reality. Being a worry-wart, I have done this many times.
One night, my family and I noticed police cars scouring the road across from us as if they were searching for something or someone. Since we live only a couple miles from a prison, it was a plausible theory.
As I was preparing for bed, I passed my window and noticed the lights were on in our detached garage. This was unusual. I slowly crept closer, my heart beating faster. As I stared, I was sure I could see a man in a trench coat leaning against the side of our garage.
You’re going to look really stupid if you’re wrong, so make sure, I warned myself. But he was there! I knew he was! Then he turned his head to look at me. I ducked, and ran to my parent’s room.
“Mom,” I whispered frantically, trying not to wake my dad. “I think there’s a guy standing by the garage. Will you come look and make sure I’m not seeing things?”
We huddled together at her small bathroom window and peered out. Pretty soon I had her convinced too.
“Should I wake up dad? Or call the police?”
We decided on waking my dad from a sound sleep.
“Dad, there’s a guy standing by the garage in a trench coat!”
Three of us now peered out the window.
“Where did you say you saw this guy again?” My dad asked. “I know there’s a weed on that side of the garage.”
“It’s not a weed! He turned his head and looked at me!”
Without another word, Dad grabbed his flashlight and started outside.
“Be careful!” I admonished.
Mom and I didn’t leave our post at the window for a moment. We heard Dad go out, but didn’t see him. And the figure against the garage didn’t move.
In a few minutes, we heard Dad climbing back up the stairs. I rushed from the bathroom and met him as he placed his flashlight on his dresser.
“Just the weed.”
I could have melted into the floor I was so embarrassed. I was going to call the police — for a weed?
A twinkle came into my dad’s eye. “But it was a very scary weed.”
For a moment, I stared at him in shock. He wasn’t mad I woke him up? He wasn’t thinking about what an idiot I was? But his smile held no condemnation. I slowly returned it.
We do something similar in life. Just as I ran to my father when things looked scary, so we also have the opportunity to run to our Heavenly Father. But I wonder: how often do we run to him in terror of a few weeds in our life? How many times are we pleading with him to send an arsenal of angels for an immobile plant? Jesus says it this way,
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Matthew 6:27 (NLT)
“And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” Matthew 6:30 (NLT)
The more we dwell on fear, the more it becomes reality. The trick is learning to recognize when we’re starting to take things out of proportion and stop before making it bigger than needed.
I imagine God, too, sometimes says, “See? I told you. It was just a fear.”
And with a twinkle in his eye, “But it was a very scary fear.”
When you bring your concerns to God’s throne, you can bring them without any fear of condemnation.
Perhaps, when they are brought to Christ’s light, you may just find them to be what they really were all along: weeds on a dark night.
The Providence of God
January 8, 2021
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
When people hurt you, mistreat you, disappoint you, throw you under the bus, the first step to forgiving them is to acknowledge what they have done. You can’t sweep it under the rug. You can’t pretend it didn’t happen. And you can’t just keep saying, “It’s okay. I’ll be fine.” You have to address the hurt head-on.
Now, I realize that addressing your hurt can be a painful process. It can bring up a lot of feelings and emotions that are hard to handle, leaving you feeling helpless and overwhelmed. But you have to remember that even when it seems like everything is out of control, God is in control. Behind everything that happens to you, even the bad, the evil, and the horrible, God intends it ultimately for your good.
God never has to say, “Well that wasn’t in the script.” With God, everything is in the script. In the movie of your life, there are going to be valleys and deserts, bad times and good times, good and evil. But when the movie ends it will all work out for your good. Remember all the bad things that happened to you and all the bad people that do them, with the providence of God, God will use them and what they do ultimately for your good.
He will not let anything in your life go to waste. So even in the pain and the hurt, remember and trust that He has your best interest in mind at all times.
Dear Father, you know the hurt I have experienced and the pain I have faced in my life so far. You know the valleys I’ve walked through and the storms I’ve endured. Please help me to remember that even my toughest circumstances can be used for good in my life. Give me the strength and the wisdom to trust that you love me and that you know what’s best for me so that I can become more like Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.
God Knows Our Way and His Plans Are Good
by Debbie McDaniel, crosswalk.com
Sometimes, we may not believe this is true. Troubles swirl around us, pressures feel too great, life seems hard. We might even feel like God has forgotten us and left us facing the struggles all alone.
Yet in the background of this great verse, we’re reminded that God spoke these words to His people, not when times were easy, but when times were very hard. They would endure 70 years of captivity, they would experience great suffering. And it’s right there, in the midst of all that, we can see the hope of God shine through.
He didn’t leave his people in the tough trials. He won’t leave us there either. He walks us through, reminding us that His plans are for good, for a future, for a hope. He is right with us, and breathes confidence and peace, that we will press through the struggle, and come out to the other side, stronger, faith-filled. He assures us that He will never waste the pain of what we experience in this life, but will bring greater good and blessing because of it.
If you find yourself facing hard times today, or maybe you’ve just walked through a difficult year, this verse is your reminder – there’s hope ahead. Be confident of this, God’s not finished yet. You’re still here, you’re gaining strength and perseverance through the trials. He has good in store, great purpose in all that we walk through, no matter how hard it may be.
He sees the big picture of our lives, and He’s aware of every little detail too. He knows what He’s doing, even when we can’t see it all yet. He often works behind the scenes that unfold our every day, in the places where we may not always understand His plans. Even through all our seasons of waiting.
So we can trust…that He has our best in mind. He’s got our back. He’s with us right now. And He’s secured our future too.
Resting in that truth today. There’s peace in knowing we don’t have to try hard to control it all. We can let go of the need to try to figure it all out, or the striving of trying to make things happen.
God knows, He understands, we’re never alone.
Keep pressing through.
He loves you.
He is with you.
“If you do not obey the Lord your God … [He] will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to.” – Deuteronomy 28:15, 20 NIV
God promised enormous blessings for His people when they entered the Promised Land. He promised “prosperity” (v. 11) and financial abundance. He promised to bless “everything” they did (v. 8).
He would bless their crops, sending rain at the right time. As a result, they would experience an abundant harvest and “the storehouse of his bounty” (v. 12). Their livestock would be plentiful. And they would have victory over their adversaries.
But there were conditions. They had to pay attention to His Word, follow Him, and obey Him. And there were consequences if they ignored Him and went their own way. They might experience disaster or panic, feel unsettled, frustrated, confused, or uncertain. They wouldn’t have His peace. Through these responses, in fact, He might try to get their attention to correct them or remind them of His promises.
We, too, need to realize that God desires to bless us abundantly. But to receive these blessings, we must obey Him and keep His Word. If we don’t have peace in our hearts, it might be because we are out of His will. He may be trying to get our attention, correct us, remind us, or speak to us.
These are times to pray and seek Him. Quiet our hearts and listen. Examine our lives. Be sure we are obeying His Word. We need to be in harmony with His Spirit. Be sensitive to His leading.