Have you ever had a time in life when your questions about the future make it hard to function in the here and now? Lately that has been my struggle. We have been talking and praying about some future plans, and my immediate response has been to try to figure everything out and worry about how it will work out in the process. (These plans do not include any major changes in our work here, just questions about how it will all turn out, and how to juggle the needs of our family and ministry.) I often get so focused on all the possibilities and details that I fail to trust God with my tomorrows. After waking with a stress headache for a few days, I decided that I needed a day for a prayer retreat. I usually do this a few times a year, although it is my goal to make time for a prayer retreat at least quarterly. Here is my agenda for these days. I want to talk with God about all of my concerns. I want to saturate my mind with His Word so that I can focus on Him and not just all of my fears and struggles. And I want to be refreshed by resting in His loving care for me. Since writing often helps me process all my thoughts, I wanted to write about what God is teaching me today.
This morning, I had some specific verses that came to my mind as thought about my desire for this time. Psalm 121:1&2 "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth." Thankfully, I couldn't remember from which chapter in Psalms these verses came. I decided that I would try to structure my time using the acronym ACTS, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication to focus my prayer time. It seemed like reading through the Psalms would be a good way to begin a time of Adoration. As I scanned the first 120 chapters looking for this passage, I was so blessed to focus my eyes on my Lord and adore Him. It is amazing how reading these truths about God can change my perspective! This morning I read that God is my Rock, my Shield, my Fortress, my Deliverer, my Strength, my Protector, my Stronghold, my Shepherd, my Salvation, my Support, my Light, my Creator, my Keeper and my King. I also read about his steadfast love, his righteousness, his goodness, his mercy, his faithfulness, his justice, his protection and his care for the brokenhearted.
Finally as I reached the passage about "lifting my eyes to the hills" it reminded me that everything looks so different when I fix my eyes on Jesus. When I remember what an amazing, loving, gracious God I serve, I don't feel like I need to worry about or control tomorrow. I know that I can trust Him with every tomorrow! While I still have many questions about what the future will bring, I know that my Lord has it all in His hands and I can trust Him to work it out for good! He has been faithful to his people since the creation of this world, keeping His promises and providing for our greatest need through His own sacrifice. I can also look back in my own life and see how He has worked for my good in ways that I often did not understand. I remember when my husband first talked about the possibility of moving overseas; I was so full of anxiety and fear that I vomited. Now, I absolutely love our life here and am so thankful for this amazing opportunity that we have. I can also see ways that God has grown all of us through the process.
I believe that as I spend more time focusing on my Lord, remembering the faithfulness of God in His Word and also in my life, I will learn to rest more and more in the peace of God rather than live my life in fear and worry. Instead of dwelling on the "what ifs" and spending too much emotional energy on trying to figure everything out, I want to "fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith." (Heb.12:2) Today I want to repent of my pride in thinking that I can figure it all out and instead, cling to my loving Heavenly Father who knows all things and has promised that He is working for my good. (Rom.8:28)