I was in the gym this past week and was fortunate enough to get one of the coveted elliptical machines with a TV. As I wiped down the machine, sorry, but I am a bit of a germaphobe, I was elated and looking forward to the distraction from the impending doom of what I was about to do. As I pugged in my ear phones and selected my usual News station I settled in and began my routine. As I was just starting to break a sweat and release the stress of the day, the top news stories where lining up and I was starting to feel a different kind of stress.
The News in rapid succession went from the evil actions of terrorists, to persecutions in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, and Kenya, to violence in our cities, to the deadly Ebola virus, to suicides, to floods, to wars, to children being exploited, to murder, to the drought in California! A flood of emotions welled up inside; anger, frustration, sorrow, hurt, disbelief. As I was sorting out what was going on inside me, the lady next to me was on her cell phone, talking more loudly then I’m sure she was aware, for I could hear every word despite my ear phones, but she was dealing with some relational problem with this person on the phone, she was frustrated, angry, shedding some tears. If this was not enough, my own frustrations came to the surface of my issues, my struggles, my problems, and my short comings…and I felt hopeless! The turmoil of life was overwhelming!
I quickened my pace, turned off the news, plugged in my music, and cried out to God, ‘Lord there is so much going on globally, nationally, in our State, here locally, and even in my life…it all seems so hopeless…Lord, Please help!” I don’t remember much that I did at the gym that evening for I was wrestling with these issues, praying, trying to gain perspective…and though I am still in process God gave me something helpful that I want to pass on to you.
Now this all may seem a bit simplistic, but it is helping me…and maybe it will help you. I first found tremendous comfort as I turned to Jesus through prayer. Jesus Himself said,
Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Jesus can provide help, hope, and peace even in the most difficult of circumstances, we just need to turn to Him, trusting He will help us through.
Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.
The more we know about God the more we tend to trust him…I have a friend, she is in heaven now, but as she was struggling with cancer and the chemo and the pain and the surgeries…I asked her what kept her going and hopeful. She told me that she had to constantly be reminded of who God is and how much He loves her. The truth of God fueled her trust, even gave her joy, though her circumstances were unpredictable.
What brings help and hope is being reminded God is with us as Psalm 139:1-6 says, that God is intimately acquainted with all our ways, and as Deuteronomy 31:6 says that God will never leave us, and as Isaiah 41:10 says…
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Not only is God with us but loves us abundantly
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.
I love that image of God so in love with us He breaks into song over you. I wonder what kind of song that would be??
Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
The words ‘steadfast love’ is the Hebrew word HESED, the loyal, faithful, grace charged love God has for us. It is a love that is not a result of anything we have done nor can it be taken away from us (Romans 8:35-37). God has chosen and is choosing to love us. I don’t know about you, but this helps me and my hopelessness is fading. It also helps to know God is all-powerful (1 Chronicles 29:11) and God is sovereign (Proverbs 19:21), and He will work the mess of the world, our nation, our state, the poor lady that was next to me, and in my own life. I just need to constantly remind myself of who God is and trust in Him.
Seeking to hope in our amazing God with you in these troubled times,