Ever heard that little verse: Don't Worry, Be Happy? Well, try that one on for size and you are likely a little like me - worrying is just a part of life and it is kind of "Pollyanna-like" to just think you can shut it off and "Be Happy". One thing I know for sure - God wants his kids "happy" - but we get this word "happy" confused with a state of mind or euphoria. Instead, we need to learn to think of this as a lifestyle - one of being blessed, even in the midst of conflict. If we consider some of what we have heard to be true about God, we might just begin to see how this is actually possible. First, he is listening. Now, one of the things which contributes to anxiety more than anything else is the belief no one knows the situation we are in. It is comforting to know God hasn't forgotten to listen to our needs. Second, he is ready to rescue. If we are worrying, we aren't looking for a rescue, but are looking for a way to rescue ourselves! This may not seem significant at first, but trust me, God's rescue is always going to be better than our own! Third, God is not remote to our lives - he is right there at the ready. There is nothing we need more when we are in the frenzy of worry than to "catch our breath". Who helps us do that better than Jesus? Last, but definitely not least, God is there EVERY time we need him - all those times we are "in trouble", he is there. It brings me a great deal of comfort knowing even when I am "in trouble", he is right alongside to help me out of the mess I managed to get myself into!
Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time. (Psalm 34:17-19 MSG)
I once heard it said that happiness is not based so much on what it is we gain in life, but what it is we lose. This is definitely contrary to human wisdom, is it not? Yet, if you stop to consider it, the truth comes through - when we lay down our lives, all our anxieties, we find we are on firmer ground than we were when we were trying to carry it all ourselves! One of the toughest things we have to do in this life is to "process" life. Stuff comes at us at speeds which sometimes overwhelm us and cause us not just a little angst. We get overwhelmed with life. One of the things we are called to do is to "process" through our problems, not let them pile up one on top of another. When we allow the "pile up" to occur, the anxiety often rises to the level of being "undone" by life! We are not asked to "process" our problems on a purely human level - God comes to our aid to assist us in processing through them.
One of the things we need to guard against when life deals us a few problems is the desire to believe what the devil tells us about them. It is his goal to get us to believe the problems are God's way of "dealing with us" or "getting even with us" for something we have done / not done. Wow! This gets us all messed up when we actually believe this story of his! It gives Satan nothing but extreme pleasure when we begin to blame God for stuff. One thing we need to remember: God does not HURT us! Nowhere in scripture do we find any truth which says God is out to get us, bring us down, or take us down a pathway which will destroy us. This would be contrary to God's extreme love for his creation. In fact, if we read our passage again, we see God cares, is totally aware of our circumstances, and wants to help us if we will only give him the chance.
When life gives us challenges, there is a tendency to allow these challenges to affect our heart. Nothing pleases God more than to give him our hearts so he may keep them safe in his care. When we give him our heart, we experience a closeness, even in our brokenness. Nothing heals brokenness better than being close to someone! No amount of suffering is ours to bear alone. This is something we need to hear and begin to believe - God doesn't want us to "go it alone". We remain "in" our pain until we invite God "into" our pain with us. We ask God to take it away - he asks us to invite him into it. Now, this may seem a little odd to some, but even in the pain, God has a way of revealing something to us we would not have known otherwise. So, instead of always asking for the pain to go away, it might do us well to ask God to come into it and do with it as he sees fit!
Keep this in mind: God seldom moves the way we want him to. I don't think my limited understanding of life's problems is the best means of dealing with them, but I have a "plan" for God which I often try to "convince" him is the best! You might just find yourself to do the same thing. Once we come to the place of seeing today's worries as a means of giving God access to areas of our lives otherwise untouched by him, we might just be surprised at how differently he moves into those "worries" in ways we may not have imagined. Just sayin!