Do Not Fret

Life can be overwhelming at times and we feel ourselves sinking into despair. Financial problems, health issues or family circumstances pile on top of us and we don’t know what to do. I find myself getting sucked into the vortex of negative thinking and “knowing” the worst is going to happen. I’m generally a positive person but life dumps on me I freak out!

God tells us in Psalm 37, “Do not fret”. He doesn’t just say it once, he says it three times! Obviously he knows in our current state of flurried thought we need to hear him repeat his command. If he could physically shake us, by the shoulders, I’m sure he would as he says firmly, “Do not fret! Do not fret! Do not fret!” Do you get it? I think I hear you, Lord.

Then, God tells us what to do instead of fretting over our situation. These six things will take our attention off ourselves and focus us on what is important. It will replace our fretting with confidence.

1)Trust in the Lord and do good (37:3) Trust God to handle the situation, give it him, and then do something good for someone else.

2)Take delight in the Lord and he WILL give you the desires of your heart (37:4) Spend time with God, thank him for what he’s already given you and delight in the fact he is God and is in control. When we delight in God, he delights to give us the desires of our heart.

3) Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he WILL do this (37:5) Bring your situation before God, commit it to him, trust him to take care of it and he WILL It doesn’t say “maybe” or “he might” but he WILL bring about the solution.

4) Be still before the Lord, wait patiently for him (37:7) This is the hardest thing for me to do. I want to keep running solutions through my mind and give God my suggestions but He says to “be still and be patient”. God’s timing is always the best timing even if we are taken to the very edge of a situation he will resolve it.

5) Refrain from anger, turn from wrath (37:8) How often do you find yourself angry with God or with the situation you’re in? You’re like a wounded animal and you want relief and instead of surrendering to God you fight him. God tells us to refrain from being angry and to be at peace with the situation.

6) Hope in the Lord (37:34) Obviously, our solutions to problems haven’t worked so our last resort, which should be our first priority, is to hope in the Lord. Hope gives us confidence and strength to face one more day knowing God is in control and has our best interests at heart.

When we find our heads spinning because life is sweeping over us and we become angry because things aren’t working out, we need to change our perspective. Stop trying to figure things out and let God be God. Trust him to do what is best for us. If you’re like me, its hard to be still and patient and wait but God has promised he WILL take care of things and it will be for our good. So, let’s pray for all the “frets” life gives us but let’s also focus on God, trust in him, commit our way to him and wait patiently for his answer.

Wailing into Dancing

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I have wailed. Yesterday, I wailed as I lay on the floor face down in excruciating pain from yet another Crohn’s flare-up. The pain is beyond anything I can describe. I have begged and pleaded with God, in these moments of overwhelming agony, to please heal me. Then, I wail. “Why aren’t you listening? Why don’t you heal me? I believe you can heal me but you’re not doing it. Why?” These are not moments of simple tears or crying but full blown wailing. This is my heart and spirit broken and begging God for relief.  As I lay there yesterday, anguished tears flooding my face, I heard the still, small voice. “Listen to me.” I was entreating God to listen to ME and he was asking me to listen to HIM!

I pulled myself up from the floor, still dealing with undulating cramps and pain, and wiped my tears from my face. I sat down and opened my Bible even though it was the last thing I wanted to do when my body was screaming for relief. Psalm 30 was my recommended reading for the day and it was God speaking to me. Full of healing and hope and rescue from despair even in the midst of pain. “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.” (30:2-3) The pit of despair and despondency called to me but God spared me from falling into it. How easy it is, when pain grips your body in a ruthless vice, to give in to depression and self-pity. To wail at God, “Why aren’t you listening?” Even in those moments God is there and if we call on him he will rescue us from the dark realm of death and bring us light. “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (30:5)

These moments of feeling utterly helpless against the onslaught of pain are the times we learn to become deeply dependent on God. When we feel secure, it is easy to overlook our need for him but when we are face down on the floor we understand our dependence on him. “Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.” (30:10) We beg for God’s mercy when we realize we are nothing, we have nothing, without him. Then, we find relief and our souls can rest.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord, my God, I will praise you forever.” (30:11-12) I read this verse as a promise from God. My wailing and my pain would be turned into dancing and joy. It will not last forever. Maybe God will heal me and maybe I will have more moments of wailing but I will praise God in those moments knowing he is beside me. And I will dance!