This week I am blessed to be in sunny, warm Florida. Right now I’m looking out at a peaceful pond with a fountain in the middle, blue skies, and gently swaying palms. What a beautiful day!
Ahhhhh….relaxation at its best.
But my week didn’t start like this.
We left last weekend, right before temperatures plummeted and the forecast of ice and snow threatened the area. As we drove the initial miles we prayed for a safe trip, and protection for all we left behind: our home, our cats, and our dog (and my brother and his family who are watching them.) Then we settled in for the long drive.
We arrived late Friday night, exhausted but glad to be out of the cold. Over the weekend we watched as the snow and ice made its way toward our house. I prayed. Then I prayed again. Then I prayed some more.
Lord, please watch over our cats. Help them stay safe. Please keep the power on for them. Protect our house from falling trees. PLEASE, Lord, PLEASE keep them safe! I know you can do this, PLEASE! Thank you, Lord, for hearing my prayer. Thank you that you love me. Thank you that you know what’s best.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
I craved the promised peace that passes all understanding, but I couldn’t stop being anxious and fearful despite all my prayers. Then I realized I wasn’t praying in faith, I was pleading with God to give me total assurance that all was OK. I didn’t trust Him enough to leave everything in His hands and relax. I also wanted control, and in no way could I control what happened a thousand miles away.
Lord, help me!
I’d like to say I exercised my faith and conquered my fears and worry without needing to see. But that’s not what happened. I received a phone call from my mom after she talked to a neighbor. That neighbor went over to the house and told us all was OK. Only then did I relax.
Once again, I needed to see to believe. I heard Jesus’ words to Peter and the disciples that day on the boat: Oh, ye of little faith! (Matthew 8:23-27)
Just like the Lord rescued Peter and the disciples despite their lack of faith, He allowed me to see. My gracious God, who loves me despite all my flaws and weaknesses, gave “me of little faith” the assurance I asked for. He didn’t have to, but He did.
Then the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I didn’t have peace because the thanksgiving part of my prayers focused more on what the Lord would do (or not do) than on Who He is and on who I am in Him. Whether or not all is OK at home, God is still God. And I am still His child.
Perspective: this world is not my home.
But while I’m here, each morning I receive the gift of a new day to walk in His love and live in His joy. And I can live in His peace that passes all understanding, IF I choose to trade in my worries.
When I changed the focus of my thanksgiving and prayers, He changed my heart and gave me peace. I’m still a bit anxious, but I’m gaining victory one moment at a time.
Thank you, Jesus, for being so kind to me. Forgive me for my lack of faith. Thank you for renewed perspective. You are amazing!
I’m continuing to exercise my faith…day by day, choice by choice.
How about you?
Questions to ponder: How have you exercised your faith lately? How has the Lord responded?