Y’all, this has been a week full of uncertainty. Fear for our health and those we love, anxiety over daily provision for small business owners, disappointment over cancellations of sporting events, and so many decisions being made that are out of our control. It can be scary and lead us to question what the Lord is doing in all of this, if anything.
So yesterday I just started reading the Word…no rhyme or reason…but just turning and flipping and soaking up all of the beautiful reminders of God’s goodness and faithfulness. I went through Psalms and Ecclesiastes and then went back to Job. As I read the pages, I came to a verse I studied recently that jumped back off the page:
“By means of their suffering, He rescues those who suffer. For He gets their attention through adversity.” Job 36:15
For He gets their attention through adversity…
Y’all, if I’m honest, our country’s attention needs to be gotten. There is so much political strife and disregard for Truth. I think we’ve been “majoring on the minors” as my Pastor Steve used to say, and need so desperately to focus on what really matters most.
In Deuteronomy 8 and 9, we are reminded of our great need for the Lord and advised to never forget all of the ways He has taken care of us (I recommend reading yourself because they are loaded passages!) But more than that, they point out three ways the Lord gets our attention and blesses us in times of so much uncertainty. I pray these three areas will help you keep your focus on the majors in the coming weeks.
1.We lose the illusion of self-sustaining power and get to witness God’s provision.
My husband and my father, who I work for, own small businesses. As orders are cancelled and people don’t come in, it can be a scary time. And it brings the realization that we cannot provide for our families in our own strength. We must rely on the Lord for our daily bread and trust that He is the good, faithful Father we know Him to be…even when times are hard. He has provided in the past…and He will in the days to come.
“He did all this so you would never say to yourself, “I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.” Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful…” Deut.8:17-18
“Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what He has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.” Ecc.7:13-14
“When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn…” Psalm 142:3
“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” Matt.6:26
2.We gain time to refocus on the Lord and our families as our schedules are cleared.
I like control of my own little universe. And it is full. I don’t know that there’s one date on my calendar without something on it. But do you know what else? I can’t tell you how many times I pass my Bible on the coffee table and want to sit down and spend time with the Lord, but something else has taken precedence as more urgent at the time. I am guilty of putting last things first and first things last, and I have a hunch I’m not alone.
The Israelites were known for doing the same thing, as they chose one thing after the other over the Lord. I’d like to think I’m different, but the truth is, I’m not. Sometimes the Lord forces us into uncomfortable places when we won’t follow His lead to begin with. Sometimes He pushes us out of our comfort zones into slower paces and spaces so we can see Who matters most. And sometimes He opens our eyes to the precious blessings that are right in front of us when we don’t recognize them for ourselves because of the hustle and bustle of life.
Take time to enjoy your loved ones during this time, y’all. Calm your little one’s fears with reminders of God’s goodness and how He has been faithful before. Use these days to point them to Him and refill your own hearts and minds with Truth. And show them the One to cling to when uncertain times come.
“Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn.” Deut.10:16
“Then I pray to you, O Lord, I say, “You are my place of refuge, You are all I really want in life.” Psalm 142:5
“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish…Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in His ways and holding tightly to Him.” Deut.11:18-22
3. We have the opportunity to make a stand and claim faith over fear.
There are people who are in panic mode about what is to come. They are afraid of sickness, economic downfall, and death. But y’all, as believers in Jesus, we know that this world is not all there is. We know that ultimately, there is only One who is in control. He knows what has been and what is to come. He goes behind and before. And He is not one bit surprised by the circumstances we find ourselves in now.
Because we know that, we can hold on to a peace and a hope and a faith that says, “I know my God is for me. He loves me and those I love more than I ever could. And He will never leave me.” And then, we can share that with the world. I encourage all of you to post scripture around your home and workplaces, so that when fear creeps in, when the “what ifs” seem to be winning, that you have visual reminders to cling to and claim and speak out loud in the name of Jesus. Here are a few favorites:
“He hems me in behind and before, He has laid His hand upon me.” Psalm 139:5
“He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” Col.1:17
“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” Col.3:2
“The Lord will work out His plans for my life-for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.” Ps.138:8
“I look up to the mountains-does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the One who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as yoru protective shade…The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” Ps.121:1-5,8
“For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything He does.” Ps.33:4
“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.” Ps. 37:7
“Why am I discouraged? Why am I so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise my Savior and my God!” Ps 42:5
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.” Ps.4:8
Sweet friends, times of adversity are never easy. There are more questions than answers right now. More inconveniences and frustrations and fears than we know what to do with. But there are blessings in the mess. There are lessons in the mess. And there is a Savior in the mess, who is always working for our good.
Pray for God’s provision in the coming weeks. Refocus on the Lord and your family. Claim faith over fear. And pray for those who don’t know the Lord to see Him in a very real way.