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Monday, May 12, 2014

I don't see the trouble here...

Where is it you look for help in your time of trial?  For some of us, we look no further than our reasoning power - if we can reason a way out of it, we will find it!  Others of us turn to the first available helping hand - not really focusing on "what" the hand offers, just that it is a hand up or out.  Still others will turn to something to "take the edge off" so the trial is a little more palatable - not really concerned about the addictive power of the substance. None of us faces trial without some kind of desire to just "get out of it" as quickly as possible.  It is unpleasant, grating on our nerves, and totally consuming of our energies.  We want a "way out", but sometimes we'd do a little better if we'd just count the cost of the choices we make in finding that "way".  

Real help comes from God.  Your blessing clothes your people!  (Psalm 3:8 MSG)

REAL help comes from God.  When he becomes the FIRST source we turn to in our times of trial, then he has become our EVERY source of help.  We turn to almost anything or anyone else other than God simply because we have not learned the beauty of letting go of the stuff we cannot handle and letting God take control of those things.  We struggle with letting go because our pride gets in the way - just making a mess of everything we put our efforts into. We were not intended to bear these burdens alone - nor were we intended to "find the fix" on our own.  God provides a means outside of human reasoning, human effort, or talented rebuttal.

How do we actually move beyond US needing to be the ones to fix everything in our lives to the place where we turn to God FIRST, finding his blessing a "covering" over our lives?  I think it begins with fully understanding that in turning "to" him we turn "away" from whatever we have run to in the past. There is nothing more important than having the right perspective on the problem we face and that perspective is not found by focusing on the problem. All we see when we focus on the problem is the magnitude of the problem. Those of us who struggle to let go of the problem on our own do so because the problem is all we see - we haven't turned our backs to it to behold the grace and peace God wants to bring.

Now, don't get me wrong - I don't think we can just turn our backs on problems!  I do think we can turn our backs on struggling so hard to figure a way out, though.  David set an example for us - turning toward God - his refuge in times of trouble.  In so doing, he was letting his enemies know that their "taunts" and "nagging" were nothing in comparison to the peace and safety he felt when he kept his focus on God himself.  The problem still existed, but he was not so intently focused on the problem - he stayed his focus on the possibilities of God intervening to overcome even the worst of his enemies.

Psalm 3 begins with David calling God's attention to the issue of enemies beyond counting surrounding him on all sides.  David knew the intensity of his troubles - he was not denying them, or making light of the circumstances in which he found himself.  He also felt the heat of their mockery - for their words weren't hurled at David to build him up, but to rock his hope and faith. They made taunts about his God - attempting to get David's gaze off the one who delivers, redeems, and rescues.  Why?  They knew the power in focus - the hope in right perspective.  They knew God would show just how small their efforts would be in comparison to the magnitude of his blessings on David's life.

This is all the enemy of our souls can do - present troubles which are designed to trip us up, getting us to focus on them, and not God.  There will always be trials and troubles, but what we choose to focus on when the come our way will determine whether we try to fix our own way out, or fix our gaze on the one who has already prepared the way out!  Just sayin!