April 16, 2013
“We don’t know what to do but our eyes are on You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
No matter how gifted we may be, sooner or later we will hit a wall of crisis where we simply do not know what to do. The Scripture quoted above is taken from an historical context when the people of God were overwhelmingly outnumbered and they simply did not know what to do.
The earthly half-brother of Jesus wrote that when we do not know what to do we should ask God for the wisdom we confess we do not have (James 1:5). He promises us that God will not hold back but dump a truckload of wisdom on us.
Years ago I received a telephone call from my youngest daughter when she was a first year student at the University of Virginia. With many tears she informed me that she had fallen down a flight of stairs and was sure she had broken her back. At the hospital they had discovered mononucleosis and seriously infected tonsils that needed to be removed. She concluded her “organ recital” litany: “Finals begin tomorrow and I just don’t know what to do, Daddy!”
Frankly, I was touched that my very intelligent young daughter believed that if she could just share her litany of woes with me and tap into the vast resources of my wisdom I could tell her what to do when she did not know what to do.
According to James that is the way we make our heavenly Father feel when we come to Him overwhelmed with problems and tell Him we just don’t know what to do. That’s why a good way to begin some days is:
“Lord, I don’t know what to do but my eyes on you!”
March 18, 2012
“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’” (Psalm 3: 1, 2)
As David writes the Third Psalm he is facing the greatest crisis of his life. His son has turned the entire nation against him and has driven him out of Jerusalem into the wilderness where he hid from King Saul when he was a young fugitive. His situation is so desperate that many people said that even God could not help him. But in this psalm David explains how he knows God will be there for him; he is not having a panic attack so he gives us a prescription for one.
Observe the way David uses three tenses as he lays out his prescription that kept him from panicking. He recalls that in the past there were many times when he cried out to God and the Lord heard him. When he lay down to sleep not knowing if the enemy would slit his throat while he was sleeping, he awoke alive because the Lord sustained him. He then declared that he will not be afraid of the thousands of people who wanted to see him dead. He then declares in the present tense that God is with him and His present blessing is upon him.
When you are in crisis think back to times in the past when God met you and brought you through a crisis. Then let those past answered prayers inspire you to trust God for the present and the future crises in your life.
Look back. With faith, look forward. Then look around at your present circumstances, not with panic but with faith and peace.
December 30, 2011
“Where have you come from, and where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8)
The last days of the year are a good time for reflection and resolution. Have you ever had a year that was so bad you could not live with the idea of another year of the same? Are you there now? If you are, you could be ready to hear the question quoted above that God likes to ask people from time to time.
This is the consummate question of direction. It implies that if we do not have a crisis that changes things, we are going where we have come from.
Sometimes we are the thing that needs to change. Jeremiah actually mocks us for trying to change ourselves: “Why do you gad about so much to change your ways? … Can the Ethiopian change the color of his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jeremiah 2:36; 13:23).
There is a big difference between trying to change ourselves and being changed by God. Unless we are changed by God, or God changes what only He can change, we’re trapped in a cycle of going where we have come from.
With great spiritual discernment David asked God to create in him a new heart and God answered that prayer for him (Psalm 51:10). God can do that today. We’re not doomed to that cycle of going where we have come from. We can be changed and God can change the things that must change so we will not go where we have come from next year.
Confess that you can’t change yourself or your circumstances, but believe God can as you enter the New Year… then watch at God work in 2012.