Oh, the invisible, yet almost tangible, emotional shelf where we tend to put our problems that we want God to help us with. It should be a one way only shelf. Like a laundry shoot! (Only would it go upward… these are the things I think about sometimes) I wish my shelf were like the doors at my doctor’s office and once I shut the door, they were gone forever. (Gross, sorry, but I do have a point) Unfortunately, I tend to open the door and pick these problems right back up (sometimes minutes after setting them down). Because worrying over them does soo much more good, right? Yes, I know it doesn’t. Well, my head knows it doesn’t. So why is my heart so stubborn? Or, is it the other way around? I don’t even know anymore.
I heard something recently that challenged my thinking. Do I expect God to be more like a genie? It sounded crazy at first, but then I delved deeper. I began to realize that I had, indeed, fallen into this trap. I tended to call on God in the tough times more, begging for an intervention to my problem. I would pray more diligently during the times when I didn’t have an answer and desperately sought one. I was more aware of my need for a Savior when I needed a rescue. I would become frustrated when it didn’t happen almost immediately or the way I thought it needed to. Sometimes, God was so good that He would take care of the problem or situation. Once that time had passed, my Israelite mentality seemed to take over almost automatically and put the lamp back on the shelf. I always worshiped and thanked God, but soon the light wasn’t quite there like it had been before. I began to feel stagnant in my walk again. I certainly didn’t want anymore of the bad things to happen! What in the world was I doing? If I were God and I wanted a relationship with me, I could certainly see what I would do to get my attention! Good thing His ways are higher than mine.
Enough. The enemy tried to convince me that I was the only one who felt this way and was alone. But he was wrong. Again. There was a whole tribe who shared this attitude.
Ah, our favorite peeps, the Israelites. We read their stories now and think how ridiculous they must have been to doubt God when a freaking sea parted for them. Or how they got mana on the ground every morning for 40 years. Or how they got sick of waiting on Moses (a/k/a Charlton Heston in my mind) up on old Mount Sinai and decided to make a golden calf because they needed something tangible. What?? Or how they wanted to go back into slavery because at least they knew what to expect rather than to trust God with their unknown future. Sounds really stupid… yea. Really stupid. I mean, that’s completely foreign to me… except that it is a personal struggle of my own. I have a fear of the unknown and a need to control it. Which makes NO sense at all. Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t judge them so harshly. (Except for the Red Sea thing, I mean come on!) A 150 mile, one month trip took 40 years because of their lack of faith. (And we thought Gilligan had it rough!)
In all sincerity, what a sobering thought. How easily and quickly the enemy can manipulate us and turn our faith into fear. Our reassurances into questions. The pit of our stomachs from secure into a melting pot of butterflies and churning waves of dread. He loves to steal our peace and shove our previously placed cares in front of Jesus’s feet right back at us, snarling with laughter. Let’s fight back by refusing to worry and taking these verses to heart:
Contained within these two verses are several amazing truths: God will sustain us, He will never let us fall, and He cares for us. Taken one at a time, we see first that God declares both His ability and His willingness to be our strength and support—mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He is able (and best of all, willing!) to take everything that threatens to overwhelm us and use it for our benefit. He has promised to “work all things together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Even at times when we doubt Him, He is still working for our good and His glory. And He has also promised that He will allow no trial to be so great we cannot bear it and that He will provide a means of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). By this, He means that He will not let us fall, as He promised in Psalm 55:22.
May we leave our cares where they truly belong today and find peace beyond all understanding from the One who truly cares for us.