Four times in 72 hours I was presented with this verse. Sometimes it takes me a time or two to “get it.” That was almost two weeks ago. Interestingly, I knew there was something in it that God wanted me to understand and apply, but until the past few days, life was rolling along and I wasn’t challenged to do so.
The fourth time I encountered the story in 2 Chronicles was the most profound. It was then that the meaning in this passage was very clearly delivered in a message delivered by Joyce Meyer. Joyce’s programming was one of the first I stumbled upon as I began transitioning from watching 'whatever was on TV' to actually seeking something that would be more meaningful. I love the clarity and frankness with which she delivers the Truth. So many times, I have been forced to look at areas of my life and my personality which are not comfortable, but hold me back from the life that God wants for me. So, when I heard Joyce was bringing one of her conferences to Denver, I did everything possible to make sure I could catch at least one session.
The theme of her message that day was how important it is for us to be stable, dependable and reliable. Dependable and reliable are usually pretty achievable for me. Stability, well, I need a lot of work in this department. My tendency is to be more roller coaster than smooth ride. So as Joyce delivered her message, and I jotted down notes feverishly, I started to see the relevance to my life as it began jumping off the page at me. God needs me to stay stable and trusting in all things. As I sat there processing the words, I started thinking about all those times when I tend to overreact, or worry excessively. Those are obviously not times when I am leaning on God as I ought to be. I don’t know why it is such a struggle. Every time I consciously decide to trust and wait, stay steady and let God be God, I am amazed at what happens. He is always faithful.
And, how come it is so much easier to be the messenger of this advice? With my family, friends and children, I am always on message – trust God, He is in control of this. So why don’t I catch a dose of my own medicine more often? I wish I knew.
Small steps, I’m reminding myself these days. Joyce’s message (which was, upon reflection, reiterated in the other three times this passage was presented) was that God is telling us to keep going forward and do what He is telling us to do. The battle isn’t up to me to figure out, or fight. It’s God’s. And when I can trust that, worry falls away and overreacting isn’t among the options. We heard a bit more from that passage in the message:
"Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever." (2 Chron. 20:21)
That has to rank up there in my favorites. And in that passage, the people are not just saying those words, they are worshipping with all their hearts. And it is impossible to focus on “me” and “my stuff” when worshipping like that. Looking upward keeps the priority on God.
So, my first real opportunity to apply this revelation in my life came in what is any parent’s nightmare. A potentially serious illness affecting their child. And, this wasn’t just one child. You see, both of my kids were diagnosed with H1N1 the other day. Talk about knocking the wind out of your sails! As soon as they had come down with symptoms, I was praying. And when I couldn’t do much more to help than hold them, I was praying. And when we were in the waiting room, I was praying. And when the doctor poked her head back in the room to tell me the tests were positive, I surprised myself with a calm, slow exhale and feeling that God is in control of this. Stay calm, steady and press on with whatever is needed and let God deal with it.
So that’s what we did – and we prayed, and our friends prayed and people we hardly know prayed – it was amazing. And staying steady in the midst of the storm, surpsisingly, was me. The best new is, this morning, both children seem to be on the road to recovery, praise God.
Any mother will tell you when it comes to her kids, there is nothing she wouldn’t do to try and protect them – it’s the fiercest feeling I personally have ever had. So, instead of facing that potential health battle alone, by enlisting (and trusting) the Warrior of Warriors, this fight became one where my job was to stay steady, worship and trust. I will testify – that is a much better job than trying to take it all on alone!