“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
–Proverbs 3:5 (NLT)
If you’re like me, you love it when everything in your life is under control. But what happens when things spiral out of control, and you aren’t sure what to do or where to go?
When Stephanie and I were first dating, we ran into a small problem during a visit to the mall. Stephanie was making a few purchases in a store. Evening was approaching, so we decided to get some dinner at one of the mall’s restaurants. We’re both totally blind, and nobody else was shopping with us, so we had no idea how to find the restaurant.
After we discussed the problem, we prayed that God would help us out. After all, the Bible says the Lord will lead the blind by a way they do not know, so we decided to take Him at his word.
Just as Steph finished making her purchase, a woman came up to us. “Excuse me,” she said, “but I happened to overhear you, and I’m heading towards that restaurant. Do you want to come with me?”
“Sure, thank you!” we said, and we reached the restaurant a few minutes later.
By now you might be thinking, “That’s great, but can God guide me in the overwhelming situation I’m facing? I just got the doctor’s report, and it really looks bad.”
Well, I must admit it’s true that while God knows all about the problems you’re going through, life can seem like a vast maze. We wish that life was pre-packaged and tied up with a pretty bow, but it doesn’t always work that way.
So what happens when the answers are different than we expect? I have discovered that God can see around the corners of life. He once made a way for us in that shopping mall, and He promises to do the same for you. I have learned that He is faithful to help those who pray to Him fervently, and ask for His assistance.
So while our own plans may be disrupted, the Bible says that our Father only wants the best for you. It also says that He will draw close to hear our concerns if we draw close to Him. We may nott always understand His ways, but He often uses our circumstances to teach us. I like to envision God as a good doctor working behind the scenes, fighting for each of us.
Let me give you an example of how God used circumstance in scripture, and then share some of my own thoughts with you.
Do you remember when Jesus accompanied His disciples across the lake? They got caught in a terrible storm, but Jesus had fallen asleep in spite of all the wind and the noise.
Like us, the disciples were frantic, probably trying to escape in their own strength. In my mind’s eye, I can see the disciples trying to bail water out of that little boat, only to sink deeper. In spite of their best efforts, they felt no relief.
But finally, like them, I woke up. Yes, I said that I woke up. I discovered that Jesus was not the only one who was asleep. I, too, became exhausted from being tossed by the storms of life. I sank down on my knees, and I realized my own weakness and frustration.
I imagine that a lot of us have felt like that at one time or another. Unable to hold out any longer, we each come to the end of our rope. We then find that drawing close to Jesus, as His disciples did, was the best place to be all the time.
Think about the Bible story again. When Jesus’ disciples alerted Him to the situation, He immediately calmed the storm which they had tried to face on their own. Then, as He took them out of their comfort zone of self-help, Jesus gently rebuked them for their lack of faith.
Today we face storms that only Jesus can calm, and He often tests us in much the same way as the disciples. But many times, like them, we just scratch our heads and wonder who He is, or where He is.
As a fellow head-scratcher who wanted to try and make some sense out of the difficulties I had gone through, I thought about this. As I asked God what the storms I had faced could teach me, He brought my first apartment to mind.
I was in college, living like college guys do. In a word, my living situation was messy. I was always going somewhere, so the clothes that were strewn around must have been quite a sight. As far as the fridge went–well, we won’t go there. Let’s also skip the sometimes-flooded kitchen floor, and the vacuum which rarely left the closet.
If you’re still feeling adventuresome after the kitchen tour, take a walk into the living room with me. Now that we are here, I will tell you about my famous plant, which I forgot to water. Okay, you’re right–it’s more like a big, ugly vine that’s all dried up and barely alive. If you look to the left, you can see how the plant overshadows an old chair that came with the apartment. Come on–it’s right there in front of you, stuck in the corner.
I have a purpose in showing you around. My life became just as messy when I moved from my birth home into that little apartment.
Unfortunately, it is the same story with God. When the storms of life come, we often find that we have moved away from His loving protection and into a mess of our own making. But we don’t want to think about that and cry out, “Where is God in this?” If we turn to Him at all, it’s usually as a last resort.
But this need not be the case. I have learned from experience that our heavenly Father wants to give us loving support and assistance. The Bible says that He has loved and cared about each of us before we were born, and that He has every hair on our heads numbered.
With God’s loving concern in mind, I challenge you to let Him control your storms. Have faith in a loving God, instead of putting all your trust in yourself. Give all of your concerns to God, and He will help you find the answers you need. God will either calm the storms (if that is in your best interest), or He will walk through them with you, showing His love every step of the way.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.