GPS Please

How often don’t we all feel like we just need someone to step in and tell us very simply, “Turn right in 100 feet”?  Some days I feel desperate to have that sort of guidance in a completely tangible way.  I was feeling that today when I got on the treadmill – no small coincidence here, as I was feeling like I was going 100 miles and hour without getting anywhere.  While I was doing my obligatory 30 minutes, I was praying Philippians 4:6-7.

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.

I spent quite a bit of time “discussing” the first portion with God.  ”Do not be anxious about anything” … Wow do I ever struggle with that one!  It isn’t so much that I am fretting and worrying over things beyond my control the way I did in the past.  At one point in my life I was on 5 different prescriptions in an attempt to control my blood pressure.  (How that resolved is a completely different story.)  The anxiety I feel now is more in the form of:

  • What’s going to happen next?
  • What is my place in ministry?
  • How can I be effective when I’m so flustered so often?
  • Why is this taking so long?  I have a much better time schedule, just let me share it with you God…
  • This isn’t how this is supposed to be happening …
  • There just isn’t time to …

Several truths from God came flooding into my mind that put me in my place:

  • I am God and you are not.
  • I have been here since the beginning and will be here until the end.
  • I have designed everything. The plan is good.  The plan is Mine.
  • I know what I am doing, and I am doing it for your own good.

Several truths about my own mode of operation also exposed themselves and left me feeling convicted:

  • I tend to think that I am the one with the best plan including the timetable on which it should run. After all, I’ve done such a good job managing my life in the past … yeah, right … that’s why it consisted of living in a haze.  I like to be in charge of the plan for my life, since I tend to think I know best.  Pretty conceited, don’t you think?
  • I think that if I don’t do it, then there is no way that it will ever get done … after all, isn’t God’s plan dependent on my “helping” Him?  I’m not talking about doing the work He has designed for me to do, I’m talking telling God just when things should be happening.  Doesn’t He realize that I have a timetable that is delicately balanced?  And since I’m so good at this He really should listen to me…
  • When I “gave up” and “gave in” to God, the best things happened to me.  By releasing my control of my life, I was able to move out of His way so He could work miraculously.  I need to focus on the fact that He really does have my ultimate best interests in mind, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.  So often I can look back at the “bad” things that happened and see how they were really the best things to happen.

Then, the part about  “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”  came up.  It’s easy to be thankful when things are going our way, but God expects us to give thanks for everything.  That’s a pretty tall order for me some days.  Be thankful that situations at work are stressful and expectations seem impossible to meet?  Be thankful that my mother is in declining health and is now wheelchair bound in a nursing home?  Be thankful that everything seems to be crashing down around me?  Really God?

It reminds me of part of Corey Ten Boom’s story – the concentration camp barracks she was assigned to was completely infested with lice.  Hardly something I could muster up thankfulness for, but she knew this verse and thanked God for the lice.  Then it became apparent to her that God was using the lice to protect His work – the prison guards were unwilling to enter that barracks, so she was able to lead daily devotions with the other women there; something they couldn’t have done if they didn’t have the privacy afforded by the lice.  Many women were comforted by God’s word because of that infestation.

I believe that God is good and constant, and if I believe that, then I have to believe that God is good all of the time; that He is incapable of non-goodness.  That means that everything is for my benefit, even if the refining sometimes hurts or if I can’t see the reasoning for it.  I trust and believe that God is there for me 100% of the time – He has my back all of the time.  What an amazing person to have as  your back-up!  What protection and security!

The finishing verse, And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  is just the icing on the cake.  Not only does He have our best interests in mind, He will protect us while we get there.  His peace will protect us from the stinging comments and isolation we can experience in this world.  Isn’t that just the most awesome thing?  He’s not only launching an offensive attack for our well-being, but He also has the whole homeland security under control – He is protecting the core of who we are with His peace.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when we feel rejected, left our, or ridiculed; but it does mean that we can snuggle into His presence and reside within the blanket of His peace.

What an amazing God I have!

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