“In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”
When I am bogged down, in the midst of the trials of life, feelings of futility and defeat, self-doubt and recrimination can spin out of control and overwhelm my best attempts to maintain an even keel in my faith. Financial and marital problems, unreasonable work demands, ill health, malicious gossip, slander, harassment, insensitive, boorish family, co-workers or other associates that wield their negative opinions like a bully with a two-edged sword–all eat away at my emotions and pull my focus off the only source of Truth and Hope in this fallen world.
Only if I stay close to God, trusting only in His gracious and sufficient hand of mercy will the petty annoyances, hassles and persecutions that others foist off on me pale in comparison to the assurance that I have found security and approval in the eyes of the Creator of the Universe. Only in God am I strong enough to let others’ negativity roll off like so much water off a duck’s back. When I keep my focus on Him, nothing anyone else says or does against me has any eternal value. The only thing that matters is what He says about me. Only God’s words have any lasting significance.
So when I feel myself starting to drift off course and give too much credence to what others say or think, even those in authority whose negative opinions have the power to cause bad things to happen to me, I need to remember that God is not surprised or taken off guard by what is happening to me. He knows how to handle it and had a plan for this moment long before I was even born if I just let Him do His job instead of acting like I can do it better than He can. When I let God be the boss, He gives me strength beyond what I ever thought possible.
When faced with a trial, instead of ruminating and brooding in self-pity mode, I must actively and purposely choose to set my heart and mind on prayer and worship. In the light of His glory, any offense against me is trivial and inconsequential when I consider His word, “Cast your burdens upon the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 He cares immeasurably more than I can imagine in my wildest dreams that I not lose heart and falter in faith, but I have to choose to let Him do His job in my life because He won’t force His way in where He isn’t wanted.
However, when I surrender my will and my “right” to take offense and nurse a grudge, choosing to trust that He knows what He is doing in allowing this to happen in my life, regardless of how it feels to me, then comes an incredible inflowing of assurance that His word truly is unbreakable and that no matter what is going on around me, He will not allow me to be shaken off the Rock that I have freely chosen to rest on as my island of safety. With my focus firmly fixed on Him, my heart is filled with peaceful assurance in recognizing that His solutions to my problems, although they may not look like I was expecting, are sufficient and good to fulfill every good purpose of His in my life and others.
Dear Lord–all glory, praise and honor to Your Name most High. Thank You for being the All-Sufficiency in my life. Help me to keep my mind centered on You and resist getting caught up in life’s daily hassles that can’t matter in the end. Let me not be tempted to let the misdeeds of others against me shake me up and get me so flustered that I lose my focus on You. Help me rest in your unshakeable presence, letting You take my worries and handle the solutions without my interference. Thank You for being a God who cares enough to rescue me from myself and give me more life in You than I could ever earn or deserve. I choose forevermore to be Your humble bondservant, O Lord Most High. Do with me as You will. No matter what it costs me, I want more and more of You in my life everyday. Without You I am nothing but all praise, honor and glory to You for taking my bits of nothing and making them into something that brings honor and glory to Your Name. Words are not enough and I can’t possibly love You more than You have already loved me but I can’t help but use the few paltry words that You give me to tell You that I do love You with all that is in me. Let everything I say and do always honor and glorify Your name and testify to the world that the Lord God of Israel and the world is still living, moving and breathing in the world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
I am not ashamed for I know in Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to to keep that which I have entrusted to Him until that day. 1 Timothy 1:12