from Virtuous Daughters, April/May 2020~Volume 20, Number 1
What a privilege it is to serve the living God! All through the Scriptures, there are stories in abundance of God's faithfulness, His protection, His provision, His conviction, His salvation, and His awesome love.
Over and over in my life, I have witnesses His goodness with my own eyes...my dad's job, my older brother's miraculous healing, His saving us from many wrecks, so many answered prayers, His patient, loving teaching--and the salvation of Jesus for a soul such as me!
So, why is it that I would ever find myself in the middle of overwhelm? Mind whirling, heart anxious, weighed down with worries... This past fall, I experienced this in a very real way when my family's safe, steady, comfortable little world seemed threatened by so much change all at once! I do not like change, yet it surrounded us on many levels. I felt frustrated--I couldn't do anything to STOP IT--and so I worried. I literally felt panicked. Even though I prayed and prayed to trust God with those circumstances, I had a difficult time letting the worry go.
It had been quite some time since I'd gone through the Exodus story, and I was reading it during that season. You know about one famous facet of that story--and I began to see it all too clearly. The pattern of faithfulness and forgetfulness. God performs such mighty works on the behalf of the children of Israel, but in no time they forget and complain (Psalm 78:10-11,42). Then God judges them, they realize their mistake, God works for them again in a mighty way of provision or protection...and, before you know it, we see the whole cycle repeat. Over and over and over again! It can be downright disgusting; won't they ever learn? How can they not see this? How can they keep forgetting? God's power is right there for them. They see it with their own eyes, but then they miss the point and return to focusing on their problems, even blaming God for them.
Now, let's visit another scene. The place? A boat at sea. The problem? One loaf of bread to share among at least 13 grown men. "But Jesus being aware of it, said to them, 'Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?'
"They said to Him, 'Twelve.'
"'Also when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?'
"And they said, 'Seven.'
"So He said to them, 'How is it you do not understand?" (Mark 8:17-21, emphasis mine)
The disciples had, with their own eyes, just witnessed Jesus actually feeding the crowd of 4000 people. The disciples themselves had set out the bread and fish for the multitudes to eat. They themselves had gathered up seven large baskets of fragments. And here they were, probably just a few short hours later, concerned about not having sufficient bread. How could you not see that? You were right there, and you missed it!
It can be so easy to point a finger when everything's written down in black and white. But as I lived through this uncertain time, God opened my eyes to see: this is the same spirit I'm living in when I don't trust God. Exactly the same. The children of Israel's problems were real to them, the disciples' shortage of bread was real to them, just as my problems were very real and present to me.
But God's faithfulness is also just as real. His mighty wonders just as real. To say that God is powerful and answers prayer is not just a theoretical statement for me, I've seen it. I know. And yet, so often, I miss it, because I focus on my problem, and by my actions I forget God.
As God has convicted me of this, He's opened my eyes to see I can't make myself "have trust." A life of trust is the beautiful product of looking to Him and knowing Him. It's just as we read in Isaiah 26:3-4: "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength." I still have so much to learn, but He's teaching me that trust comes when we REMEMBER and give thanks for His faithful work in our lives.
We see this exampled with such passion in the book of Psalms. Why do you think the psalmist speaks so much of God's mighty works? Take a look at these examples, and then why not go on a treasure hunt for more?
"Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men. Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul." Psalm 66:5,16
"Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah." Psalm 68:19
"Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You Who have done great things; O God, Who is like You?" Psalm 71:19
"But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works." Psalm 73:28
"I will remember the works of the LORD; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds." Psalm 77:11-12
"For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep." Psalm 92:4-5
"Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory." Psalm 98:1
"Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth," Psalm 105:5
And the list goes on!
Isn't this exercise so encouraging? "In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." (Psalm 94:19) When we focus on the problem, we fret over how we're going to fix it and it causes anxiety because we can't fix it. But, when we focus on God, we see that He is able. He is good. He's shown us that so many times. Today is no different, and today's problem no more difficult for Him!
Maybe you're there right now, my friend. Stuck in a situation that leaves you gasping for breath. You're praying for God's help to trust, but you feel weak in the battle. Don't give up, my sister; the battle is the Lord's! As I put these lessons into practice during that challenging time, God took my burdens and gave me gladness. And today I see His blessings in the changes! It may not be easy, but I encourage you to look to Him, thank Him, rejoice in Him right now, even in the uncertainty. Turn the worry into worship--and you will find true rest and trust in Him.
The Article Library
This "Library" contains articles that were published in previous issues of Virtuous Daughters. It will keep growing as we continue to upload articles from the 20 years of printing. We pray they are an encouragement to you!