More for worriers like me…

Ok, so I think I need to blog again on trust, because it’s an issue God is speaking to me about, and trying to encourage others encourages my heart, too!

I once heard a talk about faith that described faith as risk. The talk was about the story of Ruth. Faith was described in this way:

Faith is the calculated risk of the person who knows her God.

Whilst I was greatly helped by that statement, it needs clarifying: from the world’s side of things, sometimes obeying God looks like risk. From the side of reality, which is the side of faith in God’s promises, there is no risk at all… because the risk is grounded in the character of God, which guarantees that the outcome for God’s child in Christ can only be good… not necessarily everything we want in the way or at the time we want it, but what God ordains for us, which will always be good! 🙂

This is what the statement is saying: if you know the character of the God of the Bible, you will be prepared to act on the basis of His promises, taking what seem to be crazy risks, because you trust the character of God.

And what is our God like? He is all-powerful, completely wise and so very, very loving.image

In God’s power, we find our confidence that He has the power to whatever He wants to, and that nothing is impossible for Him. Nothing can happen to us without His permission.

In God’s wisdom, we find our confidence that He will always do the best thing.

In God’s love, we find our hope that God will do us good (if we come to Him through Jesus), despite the fact that we don’t deserve it… this is the glorious goodness of our God! He delights in doing His children good!

So…. If God’s promises are true, and they’re not going to break… If God’s Word is not going to fail, and God has promised in His Word to always give what’s best for His children in Christ… Why not relax and enjoy the ride? Be radical and go and have fun as you obey God and wait for His perfect will for you! After all, there is no risk! He’s not going to fail you! So… live with a merry heart! I dare you!

Yes, the Christian life may be hard. In fact, the very fact that we are following Jesus will bring us trials, some of which will stretch us to the very edge of what we can bear, because our Heavenly Father loves us enough to teach us and because His aim in our lives is to make us like Himself. However, God does not want us to live in fear of what will happen to us. Instead, the Bible contains amazing teaching about how to live in joy and peace, no matter what our outward circumstances may be. We can trust His loving heart, His perfect sovereignty over every situation and His amazing, wonderful, ultimate plan.

God did not mean for us to live our lives in worry and anxiety, always worried about how things will turn out. No, He wants His children in Christ to be free, living in joy and peace and hope no matter what our circumstances may be today, no matter what they have been in the past and no matter what they will be in the future… because we can trust Him to do us good.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

God wants us to live in freedom, joy and peace, honouring Him as we continually trust Him to provide for our needs and as we live in the freedom of faith.

“I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:13

And we can know that, if we belong to Him in Jesus, His heart is always ultimately to bless us.

“Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” Isaiah 30:18

I remember when the Lord gave me this verse. It was so obviously from Him: it just jumped out at me from the Word, and it deeply comforted me. At the time, I was deeply worried about my future; about things I could do nothing about. It was so simple, and yet so profound. What was I called to do? Was I called to engineer things myself: to worry and plan and work it all out and make it all happen? No, it was so, so simple: I was called to rest: to simply be quiet and to trust in God. This was the way to strength and help: simply to rest in God. I knew that this didn’t mean inactivity: the Lord had things for me to do there and then. But, nevertheless, there was nothing that I could do, apart from to pray and to live out the tasks God had given me each day… with joy and peace and energy, because there was no point being worried and anxious when the Lord had promised to provide for me!

I began to find a sweet, wonderful joy in living one day at a time: committing the future to the Lord and focusing on the immediate task at hand, with a heart that increasingly began to be at rest. As I did so, I found so much strength and hope in serving in the immediate: whether that was helping at an evangelistic event, meeting a younger Christian sister or carrying out mundane tasks.

Whenever I gave in to worry, my strength was drained and I became weak and despondent, selfish and distracted from the needs of others. Whenever I put my hope in the Lord and focused on serving Him where I was, I would be filled with strength and joy, and find myself able to serve with deep happiness in God.

I’d forgotten that. But it’s very good to remember!

But it’s not always easy to live that way, is it? Especially not when there are real things you could worry about.

I think that trust is something you fight for: it’s not something that comes easily all the time. It’s not something that always feels good.

It’s a decision that is made with or without feelings: a decision to bank your all on the faithfulness of the One Who is always faithful.

Maybe trust is choosing to do the thing God has placed in front of you; to serve the person who needs your help, even when you are anxious yourself, choosing to believe that, as you take care of others, He will take care of you.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34

I remember a time when I had a bit of a breakthrough revelation. I would get into swirling downward cycles of anxiety which pulled me down, and I couldn’t work out how it had happened. And then I realised something: it always starts with one thought. And I can choose to fight that thought with God’s truth (or to do so as soon as I catch it!). I can choose to prevent that cycle by deliberating filling my mind with other things: by singing, listening to Scripture, listening to Bible teaching, calling a friend or choosing to dwell on positive things. It wasn’t an immediate fix, but there was real progress. It’s something I’d forgotten, and it’s something I need to remember again. And it’s something I need to choose to do constantly! It’s not automatic and it’s not easy, but it works!

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8

It’s not easy and it’s not immediate, but we can grow and make progress- and find increasing peace and joy in our God and increasing freedom as we serve Him.

I’m in. Want to give it a try? 😉

(If you don’t know the blessings of knowing the Father through Jesus yet and the amazing peace He can give, the Father is longing to bless you, too- with the blessing of eternal salvation and forgiveness through surrendering to Jesus, believing in Him and following Him as your Saviour and Lord… for your rescue from the coming judgement… and for eternal hope. He has been waiting for you all along. His heart longs to sweep you up in His awesome, eternal love).

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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