Distress

You know them, just like I do.

Right now–this very day–you could probably name a family member who is struggling in some way.

You’ve likely heard of a devastating car accident in your area, or a house fire.

People that have always seemed healthy now have cancer; some are young.

Some are older.

Maybe just this year you’ve had good friends get a divorce.

Others may be grieving tremendously because someone they loved very much has died.

You know them, just like I do.

As Christians, what are we to say to comfort others who are facing strong difficulties?

I often listen to the radio on my drive to work.

There is a song that has found its way into my heart for quite some time now.

It is titled, “Just Say Jesus” by the group 7eventh Time Down.

Here is a portion of the lyrics:

Life gets tough, and times get hard
It’s hard to find the truth in all the lies

If you’re tired of wondering why
Your heart isn’t healing
And nothing feels like home
Cause you’re lost and alone just screaming at the sky

When you don’t know what to say
Just say Jesus
There is power in the name
The name of Jesus
If the words won’t come
Cause you’re too afraid to pray
Just say Jesus

Whisper it now, or shout it out
However it comes out, He hears your cry
Out of nowhere He will come, you got to believe it
He will rescue you
Just call out to the Way, The Truth, The Light

As believers of Jesus, we know that there is power in the name of Jesus.

I think it is very good advice to tell someone who is hurting that they can just speak the name of Jesus as they struggle to even form words in the midst of devastating circumstances.

In fact, I think it is very good advice to remember it ourselves.

When we are hurting, we can just say, “Jesus” and He will hear us.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.

—Psalm 18:6

 

my cry

 

Be Still

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

At any given time, there can be circumstances in our lives that pull us toward becoming distraught.

While deeply concerned about one thing, another issue arises.

At certain moments, it just seems like too much for our minds to process.

We pray for ourselves when we have needs.

We pray for others as we see their struggles.

This problem and that problem coupled with this dilemma and that dilemma, hastens toward us with a fevered rush.

It’s as though they come screaming, “Fix us! Fix us! Right now!”

But, we can’t….

So, the striving begins.

The unsettled motion of useless worry.

Only God can make the wrongs right, heal diseases, restore relationships, and bind up the brokenhearted.

We are to come to Him in prayer about the looming circumstances before us.

We are to be still.

Restfully so.

Peacefully so.

“Still” in the knowledge that He is God.

*

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

—Psalm 46:10

*

Click image to enlarge.

still frame

Nothing Like Your Thoughts

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

How big are your problems?

How big are mine?

I have had some really serious difficulties in my life.

It’s safe to assume that you have, too.

Things can happen that cause such pain and heartache.

Lesser problems may threaten to steal our joy, tempting us to trade worry for trust.

Recently, I drove past a lake and saw several sailboats on the water.

Stopping to photograph them, I captured a number of shots on that sunny day.

Looking at some of the photos tonight, I noticed something about one that I hadn’t before.

It appeared as though a giant bird had flown between two sailboats.

Of course, I had been far off on the boardwalk with my camera, so it only looks like a giant bird.

In reality, the wing span may have been two to three feet across.

I can assure you that I did not photograph a bird whose wings were equal in length to that of two sail boats—even though that’s what it looks like to me.

And there, in those last six words, is something to be considered.

When we experience problems, we know only what it looks like to us.

We can’t know what it looks like to God.

What our problems really are–every aspect of them–are fully known to Him.

God’s words to us as recorded in Isaiah 55:8-9 are these:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

We may see our problems as big as a giant bird the size of two boats, but God knows its true proportions.

In reality, whatever the size, God is able to handle it.

He is in control.

How big are our problems?

Smaller—-so much smaller—-than our God.

*

Click image to enlarge.

imagine

Get Me Out of Here

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

Who will give me wings,” I ask—
    “wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
    I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
    I want a cabin in the woods.
I’m desperate for a change
    from rage and stormy weather.

—Psalm 55:6-8  The Message

In the Old Testament, King David knew what it was like to be overwhelmed.

To be betrayed.

To have slanderous things said about him.

To have people conspire against him.

After all, he was a king and nations do rise up against nations.

But no matter what happened, David would always return to his faith in God.

When he was troubled, he turned to God for help.

When he was joyous, he turned to God in praise.

In the passage above, David is tired of all the trouble that has mounted itself in front of him.

He longs for peace and an absence of the problems that are weighing heavily on his heart.

Peace and quiet.

A walk in the country.

A cabin in the woods.

Desperate for change…..

Haven’t you felt that way before?

Just wishing to fly away and leave it all behind?

King David trusted God, even in the hard times.

The dangerous times.

The confusing times.

He trusted Him in the good times.

The prosperous times.

The joyful times.

If you are in the midst of trouble today, I urge you to pray and tell God what is on your heart.

If you are in a place of peace and calm today, I urge you to thank God with a joyful voice.

Wherever you find yourself at this moment, God is there.

He is faithful……

Click image to enlarge.

peace

Through the Strong Currents

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

Standing near the shoreline, I happened to notice a draw bridge opening up above the water.

I watched as a boat made its way through.

It’s quite an undertaking to design, construct and operate a draw bridge.

From the very beginning, the purpose of the draw bridge is to open up a passageway for boats so that they can go through.

Because the bridge was so big and so low, I might have mistakenly thought that the boat would not have been able to get to the other side.

There may be things in our lives that look like that bridge to us.

Illness.

Relationship issues.

Job concerns.

They seem way too big to allow us to pass through to a better place.

It is God, however, who controls the bridge.

At His command, the heavy mass of steel and concrete situations can lift, just in time for us to pass through safely.

We must trust God every day.

Even when the obstacles seem too big.

 

 

 

 

The Lord makes a path through the sea
    and a road through the strong currents.

—Isaiah 43:16

 

 

 

 

Click to enlarge image.

path