Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fighting the Freak-out First Factor

Everyone endures trials. Sometimes they are as trivial as misplaced car keys (a frequent occurrence in our home ;->). Sometimes they aren’t so trivial. Our reaction to trials tells others a lot about our character and our walk with God. When our trials are the overflow of the suffering a loved one is going through, handling the trial well becomes more crucial.

I am a “freak-out first, ask questions later” kind of girl. It is not my preferred method of handling problems; it is just my natural way (my “old nature”). When circumstances piled up recently after a particularly difficult week, I reached the limit of what I thought I could handle on my own.

Early on a Saturday morning I sat on my porch swing with my coffee and two different Bible versions. I had finally turned to the place from which true burden lifting comes. I looked up the word ‘stronghold’ in the concordance of both Bible translations. That was the word that kept going through my mind that might be a starting place to find relief and healing.

This is what I found: King David wrote in Psalm 62 about our only source of relief and healing after going through trials of oppression and betrayal himself.

“My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.”

The first step he tells us is patient anticipation, waiting on God to work knowing that He will work and that He is the only One who will never let us down.

“He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, I shall not be greatly shaken.”

This directly addresses the “freak-out first” factor. Believing that God is my stronghold should be the key to a calm spirit in the face of trials. I’ve seen it in others who endure chronic illness, rebellious children, or the death of a loved one. It is no easy thing. David speaks of the pain of his trials in verses 3 and 4, then he comes back and reminds himself (and us) to

“…wait in silence for God only.”

That seems to be a key to his relief. Instead grumbling or complaining, he tells his soul to be still and wait for God. Then after he speaks to himself, he speaks to us:

“Trust in Him at all times, O people, pour out your heart before Him;God is a refuge for us.”

There is never a time when we can’t be completely open with God. He always hears us. His Word always speaks to us…when we wait in silence to hear Him.

In verses 9 and 10, David warns us not to expect our relief to come from the typical places to which we normally turn: people, money, things. Then he comes back and tells us that God Himself has promised us His help to persevere through our trials. David says that God is a just and loving God who’s shoulders are strong enough to handle whatever burdens we bring to Him.

“…you, O God, are strong, and … you, O Lord are loving.”

God reassures us throughout His Word of His love and particular care of us in the toughest times. He provides His comfort through the experiences of those who have served Him. The Psalms are replete with this through King David writings. Look up these verses when you need comfort: 18:16-19, 39-40; 56:8-9; 57:1-3; 91:4-7, 9-12.

The prophet Isaiah also addresses this in Isaiah 40:29-31.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.…but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.”

I wonder what will happen to the “freak-out first” factor the next time I encounter a trial if I have these verses “hidden in my heart?” I am sure I will return to God’s feet with my burdens several times… and perhaps I will then “wait in silence” to see Him work in and through me.

First printed May 2007 in The Freedom Reader, a publication of Spring Valley Freedom Bapist Church, Huntington, WV.