Peace for the Day

Devotions for our daily angst.


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The Devil’s in the Distractions

“…but I resort to prayer” (Psalm 109:4b)

There’s an enemy afoot who would like nothing more than to distract me, but in the hard won lessons of battle, I chose to resort to prayer.

I learned this lesson years ago when my husband was laid off and could not find a steady job for an extended period of time. This led to severe financial problems which led to horrible marital problems, which led to anger, bitterness, resentment, and distrust with a fairly strong dash of hate, – on my part. That’s the cleaned-up, toned-down version of what was a very dark period.

In the middle of it, the Lord sent friends to drag me to a retreat I did not want to attend. What good could it do being around happy, faith-filled women? The thought of “up” people made me want to bang my head against the nearest wall. My friends ignored my drama. They paid my way, drove me there, deposited me in our room, and had the good sense to leave me alone long enough to allow the Lord to work.

Extend your arms straight out in front of you and make a fist. Start punching the air. That’s what I was doing. I was fighting out there – with my husband, with the bill collectors, with anybody who didn’t understand our plight and attempted to comfort me with platitudes. I battled it out, punching blindly, becoming more and more entangled in hopelessness and life-sucking bitterness.

Then, something happened right there in the middle of the retreat. The speaker taught that the enemy wants to distract us by getting us caught up with everything occurring out front, out there. He keeps us so busy scrapping and fussing that we don’t turn and run to the only One who can take care of it all.

The Lord fiddled with my vision knob and adjusted my sight. Bang! I saw the situation with clarity and light. It was a true God moment.

I left that retreat a changed woman. It made me a dangerous woman. At home, as soon as I felt myself begin to duke it out with external situations, I literally forced myself to turn, to run to a safe place, and to pour my heart out to God. It took time and every last bit of resolve I had; but with God’s grace, eventually, I learned to turn to the Lord before I was sucked into a distracting fight.

Lord, prepare me for battle. Teach me to be a warrior, not an angst-filled worrier.

“Let us pray, let us pray, everywhere in every way. Every moment of the day, it is the right time. Let us pray without end and when we finish start again. Like breathing out and breathing in. Let us pray!” Steven Curtis Chapman, Album: Signs of Life, Song: Let Us Pray

 

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Trust

Trust

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. He’s the one who will keep you on track.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6 Msg)

Trusting God, after knowing Him thirty-one years, should be easy. After all, I have the advantage of hindsight. I look back to see His steady hand leading me here, guiding me there, meeting needs beyond what I could hope, ask, or dream.

But…

For me, there always is a “but”.

Here’s the scenario. A dear friend is stuck in one of those boxed-in, no way out, through, under, over, despairing, dark, and hopeless times life brings us. He can’t fix the situation. He can’t kick, yell, scream, or buy his way out. The people who love him don’t have the means or ability to help. It hurts to watch knowing all we can do is, well, pray. I want to fix this. Now. I want to raise my fist in the air, storm the gates, and make this horrible situation right.

I decided to write him a note. I’ve been in the exact place, a dark tunnel with no end in sight, just different circumstances. I contemplated what I would share.

And then it came. The thought.

Yeah, but, what if God doesn’t do anything? What if God doesn’t come through for him?

That’s the question, isn’t it? What am I going to believe? Who am I going to trust?

Do I trust God enough to tell my friend God will take care of him? Will be with him through this long night until the light of day pierces the darkness?

My husband says, “Once you tell him, it is God’s problem not yours.” Nothing is ever that easy for me. I struggle with faith, trust, believing. I feel guilty that I’m even wondering. God has been faithful to me all these years. Why wouldn’t He work in my friend’s life? I cling to God for dear life. Does my friend? Does it matter?

Father! I can’t believe I’m even wondering. I’ve walked with You long enough that I should trust You implicitly. But, here I am back at square one. I’m sorry, Lord. Help my unbelief. Help me to share all You have done in me and my life with this precious friend and, then, let go to let You work. Father, I commit the situation to You, the God who is able.

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