Trust in Him

I often write about God’s plan because I find people saying, “everything happens for a reason” all to often. I believe that we all take for granted the guiding hand at work in our lives. So many bad things seem to happen that we rarely stop to celebrate the good things. It is as if we expect the good things to happen so we concentrate on the bad things. I know that by nature, I am more of a pessimist than an optimist. Looking back, I find no obvious cause for this perspective except my training to prevent firefighter injuries and fatalities. As I moved up the ranks, I found that being in command of incidents in which people’s lives were at risk makes you look at things much more cautiously. I think that is what turned into my pessimistic outlook.

I am not a negative person (at least I think) but I also don’t seek to find the bright side of things either. In any case, I have seen first hand, God’s hand in my life. As a self-employed business owner who relies on larger consulting firms for work, the last quarter of 2016 was devoid of work. I’d been through times like this before but this was the longest period I’d ever experienced. I told myself to focus on letting God’s plan unfold and be patient (not an easy task). Work earlier in the year kept me so busy that true priorities started to slip. In late December, the phone started ringing again – it was the military contracting office. I’m writing this devotion on the airplane returning from Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio TX. I spent a week there at Army North HQ planning for a project in South Carolina in February. At the airport this morning, received another request for a trip to Washington State. “God cares for those who trust in Him.”

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him,” Nahum 1:7

It is ironic that this was written by someone in the Old Testament, which is filled with stories about people not trusting God. We all know that it was so bad that God had to take matters in His own hands and send His Son to bring salvation. I look at this single act of love as what allows us to turn to God as “a refuge in times of trouble”. No matter what I’ve done, God loves me! I saw an old friend who retired last year while I was in San Antonio. He had suddenly lost a close friend in the days preceding my arrival. A man of faith, my friend was down on his loss – he had forgotten where to turn in his time of trouble.

“What a loss!” he proclaimed. “We were going to enjoy so much time together now that we were both retired” my friend lamented. I reminded him that his loss was only temporary and that the great memories of his friend would return. We don’t know what God has planned for us or why the things happen as they do but we can be assured that they are part of God’s plan for our lives. Remember, sometimes we are the teacher and other times we are the student. You won’t know which role you are in until time has passed. The key is to trust in God and remember that, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.”

Trouble and Doubt

I won’t deny that there are a lot of things to be worried about these days. I would suggest that many of us worry about things that don’t exist or things that we anticipate will happen but never do. This week our daughter will graduate from college and move back home until she finds a job. The job market for college graduates, let alone thousands of others, has been horrible the past five years. Fortunately, she has three great job possibilities that she will have to choose from. I’m not worried. What troubles you? Is it something tangible or is it something that you are worrying about before it actually happens?

I’ve never been known as a positive person. I’ve always had to be planning for the worst but hoping for the best. In management, you have to be on guard for the things that will hurt you or the organization. It’s important however, to celebrate when things go right. Many managers forget to do that. They become so focused on problem avoidance or fixing problems that they fail to recognize the great things happening around them. They worry about things that “could” happen and miss the good things that do happen. So what are you worried about? What troubles you? It’s impossible to avoid worrying so the key is learning to keep it in check. Others have suggested that worry and doubt is more of an emotional response and that the best way to counteract it is through logic. Look closely at what you are worrying about and see if it is an actual or a perceived problem. Th.en you work through the emotions to find solutions

He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?
Luke 24:38

In this verse, Jesus was speaking to His disciples when He first showed Himself to them. What if Jesus was asking you these questions? Why are you troubled and what doubts do you have? Jesus would tell you is that you should be sending all of your worries to the Father. It can be argued that the emotion of worry (trouble) is a product of the devil. It is a great way to put separation between you and God because if you don’t think that God is with you in your life when you are feeling crushed by doubt, you will turn away from God.

Maybe you’ll rely more on yourself, maybe you’ll turn to “an escape” or maybe you’ll simply let the doubt take over and crush you. When these things happen, you push God away; just what the devil wants. Before that happens, go back to Jesus asking you – He is speaking to you in this verse; why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? How will you answer Him? We’ve been taught in other verses to lift our concerns to God in prayer. Sounds like great advice.