Wow! This has been quite a week hasn’t it. Since I can’t post any pictures yet (still wrestling with my provider to figure out the issue) I thought I would write a nice long post of encouragement to those that are reeling from the events of the week. With stocks plunging, the world seemingly spinning out of control, fear filling hearts and minds and motivating many to make rash decisions, what are we to do?
“Fear not” is a phrase that is used 63 times in the King James version of the bible. Perhaps it is mentioned so often because our hearts are so inclined to fear that the Lord knows we need to be reminded frequently! When times are overwhelming and stir fear in our hearts, what are we to do? Close our eyes tight and repeat to ourselves, “I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid?” Who thinks that would be an effective strategy?
There’s a very simple principle the Lord has taught me that I’ve shared before. This principle has had a profound impact on my life and my battle at times with being fearful. I call it the “Red door” principle. Imagine this:
There’s an adorable little Irish cottage with wonderful whitewashed walls and cute little windows with shutters and flower boxes out front. There’s a wonderfully intricate thatch roof and a cobblestone path leading up to the door. You can picture it all in your head can’t you?
Now, what ever you do DO NOT PICTURE A RED DOOR!
You can see the ivy vining up the side of the cottage and over the roof on one side and the sweet climbing red roses or the other but DO NOT PICTURE A RED DOOR.
You can see the giant oak tree in the front yard and the smoke coming out of the rock chimney but DO NOT PICTURE A RED DOOR.
When we try to avoid a thought, our human minds do exactly the opposite. Our mind naturally obsesses on that which we are trying to avoid. If I determine not to fear, my mind begins to bring to mind everything that I’m afraid will happen. So what’s a person to do to avoid fearful thoughts?
Try substitution. Put in it’s place the opposite of what you are trying to avoid. Now if you go back and read my word picture and forcefully make yourself “see” A GREEN DOOR instead of trying NOT to see a RED DOOR, you’ll have much better success. So it is with our thought life!
So the theme for my verse for today is BE OF GOOD CHEER! Lift up your head, choose to place your trust in the only one who has “overcome the world.” The only one that can give your heart a true and lasting peace. A peace that isn’t based on what your 401K account balance is, what the value of your home and your equity in it is or whether or not you can retire when you planned or you’ll have a job next week. His peace is a perfect peace that is based on His love for you and His foreknowledge and detailed planning of every day of your life… before the foundations of the world were laid.
This week didn’t taken the Lord by surprise and He’s not shaken. Run to Him with your worries and fears and grab hold of his promises to keep you afloat when the seas roar and fear threatens to overwhelm you and drag you under. Know that He has a plan for your life, a purpose for every day He gives you and those plans are for good and not for evil. Sometimes, part of God’s plan is to upset our world. To upset those things that we place our trust in that are not eternal and that lead us away from His best.
In Israel’s past, at times He allowed them to be taken captive for a season, but never for their permanent destruction, only for their chastening and to cause them to return to Him. We aren’t much different than Israel are we? We’re so easily lulled to sleep when things go well and we rarely seek Him when our lives are in wonderful prosperity, but most of us are very quick to seek Him in times of trouble. God’s word to Israel as they were being led into a “God ordained captivity” were these:
This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
We don’t know if our nation is headed into a time of extended financial crisis and captivity or not. I can’t stand here today and tell you that your life will return to “normal” soon — It is not in my power to see. But I can tell you that God has a plan and that plan is for good and not for evil. Trust in His plan. Trust in His love. Trust in His goodness because nothing else in this world is trustworthy.
SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY: John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” NKJV
PRAYER: Lord, this has been a fearful time. I’m fearful of what I see and I’m even more fearful of what I can’t see and can’t control about my future. Please help me to overcome my fear even as you overcame the world. Help me to trust that you have a plan forward for me and that you know the future and hold it (and me) in your very capable hands.
Lord, give me that “green door” that I can hang onto when fear stirs in my heart. Give me a promise that is personal and powerful to calm my fears and give me a stable and enduring trust in you. AMEN