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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dogs nipping at your heals?

Help!  I think I am going under for the very last time!  Ever prayed or said those words? Maybe not, but I bet you have thought them on occasion.  We ALL get backed into a corner now and again - either because our time commitments get the best of us, or just because the pressures of life mount and we just cannot take one more thing.  When these moments occur, it is good to recount the blessings of God in our lives because as we do, we begin to see just how faithful he is each and every time we need his help.  The most amazing part of this "recounting" process is how much we realize God's interventions even when we didn't ask!  It was as though God knew our thoughts (well, it should come as no surprise to you that he does) and intervened based on those unspoken "Help" pleas.  Although I am not a huge fan of the "unspoken prayer request" (because if you won't speak it how do we really know what to pray for), I know God has the capacity to see our needs and intervene even when we have trouble articulating the help we really need.

If you had not helped me, Lord, I would soon have gone to the land of silence. When I felt my feet slipping, you came with your love and kept me steady. And when I was burdened with worries, you comforted me and made me feel secure. (Psalm 94:17-19 CEV)

Our psalmist hits the nail right on the head when he lays it out in our passage - without God's help, our end result would have been much different.  Although our situation may not have landed us in the "land of silence" (better known as death), we still could have seen far worse outcomes if God's hand had not stilled the storm, or set things in motion which needed to be directed our way.  All of God's interventions in our lives, even those which tend to make us a little uncomfortable because they focus on something which needs to change in our behavior, are because of his love.  It is his love which enters into our moments of chaos and sets them in order.  It is his love which confronts those things in our behavior which need the greatest change.  It isn't his "way" to leave us floundering for eternity - it is his "way" to "enter in" and take control.  In the example he gave us with Jesus, he proves this! It was by Jesus "entering into" our world that he made a way for the control of our lives to be permanently changed (for the best).

Looking again at our passage, it should come as no surprise the psalmist recalls his "feet slipping" and God's quick intervention to keep him from doing so.  In most of our lives, we often get tot he point of "feet slipping", trying desperately to keep ourselves from falling.  If you have ever witnessed someone on icy sidewalks trying to remain in an upright position, what did you observe?  Their steps were cautious, using their arms to kind of act as "counter-balance" to shift weight here or there.  Why?  It hurts to fall!  The slipping is one thing, but to actually feel your footing give way is quite another.  When we are at the point of "no return", knowing our feet are going out from under us, isn't it good to know we have a faithful God who comes alongside in his love and "steadies" us again?  In essence, he is not our "counter-balance", but he is the return of our solid footing!

Another point of no return for us is this idea of worry.  We attempt to bear up under weight which was not ours to bear up under in the first place.  This is what worry accomplishes - nothing more.  It heaps weight upon us, burdening us sometimes beyond our capacity to bear up under that weight, until we almost feel like our collapse is imminent.  It should come as no surprise to you that worries are simply the torment we bring into our own lives! Yep, it is a kind of torment, like a dog nipping at our heals and relentless in his pursuit of us. The funniest thing about worrying is this idea of us doing this tormenting of ourselves!   WE are the ones bringing ourselves under the load of torment - not God!  When he sees us getting ourselves into this place of being so emotionally weighted down, he comes along with his peace and presence - bringing comfort and settling us into a place of security once again.

Henry Ford once said, "I believe God is managing affairs and that he doesn't need any advice from me.  With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end.  So what is there to worry about?"  Consider that one for just a moment.  He begins with this idea of believing (trusting) God is in charge in his life.  He also acknowledges this tendency we have to want to "advise" God on how things should be handled in order to affect our security and peace in a positive manner.  Silly us!  We think something will actually affect us positively, while God knows specifically what will bring the results we so desperately need in our lives.  In essence, Henry was saying we don't really know what we need, so we should acknowledge our need and then leave it up to God to provide for that need exactly as he has designed.  In the end, the outcome will be the best it can be - for we haven't orchestrated the outcome, God has!  Just sayin!