Mini-devotions written by Francie Taylor, challenging readers to examine their lives, improve their relationships, and to develop a closer walk with the Lord. Francie covers a variety of topics affecting Christian women at various stages, encouraging women to "keep the heart."
Does it ever feel like life isganging up on you so much that you want to run away?
Get in line and take a number. You would probably be #89,427,893,973. That's eighty-nine billion, four hundred twenty-seven million, eight hundred ninety-three thousand, and nine hundred seventy-three.
We may feel as though we'd like to find the escape route, but others may not know it. People ask the standard question: "How are you?" And as long as we supply the stock answer ("Fine") we can usually get away with pretending to be fine. It is incredibly easy to cover up our true feelings, leaving people completely unaware that we're entertaining fantasies of a hasty escape from the pile-up of stress. I laughed and shook my head when I read this in my morning Bible study:
"I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest." (Psalm 55:8)
Hey King David, wait for me!
We are clearly not the first to feel so overwhelmed with the relentless pounding of life that we're looking for an "escape." This feeling of wanting to fly away is as old as the Old Testament.
"And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest." (Psalm 55:6)
These words were written when the Psalmist was in the midst of so much trouble that he even described it as having a physical effect on his being: "My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me." (Psalm 55:4) Yes, adversity can actually cause physical pain, as well as the obvious emotional turmoil.
But it gets deeper: Our flesh adds fear to the mix, putting us in an almost unbearable position as we play that terrible mind game called "Worst Case Scenario." Again, this is nothing new, because the Psalmist fell into this trap as well: "Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me." (Psalm 55:5)
I can almost feel the shivering. When our thoughts run wild, we are adding torment to an already tough time.
Are we able to live like this? Temporarily yes, but permanently, no. All of these emotional responses were meant to be like a winter season in life that would come, last a little while, and then cycle away.
These emotions are real and not to be taken lightly. It is not unusual during times of intense pressue to want to stay in bed with the covers pulled up to the chin. I call them "pajama days," where your pajamas are your fashion statement, and your hair stays in the position it was in when you woke up that morning.
Thankfully, this is a temporary phase and we do have relief, if we'll accept it. We even have Someone to rescue us. Never forget that God has not lost track of us just because things have gotten outrageously difficult or discouraging. Tough times rotate, but we may forget this when we're in the midst of a longer form of affliction. Still, God weaves in periods of sweet relief and we'll experience these reprieves if we're paying attention. In fact, the very trial itself may be a beautiful gift...wrapped in ugly paper.
When will we comprehend the fact that God sees differently than we see?
What we see as terrifying looks like training to Him.
What seems perilous to us is strengthening.
What looks utterly impossible to us is actually a miracle in progress.
Think about it: when we are living comfortably, is our prayer life as intense as it is when we're living in the discomfort zone? Not usually. Does that mean we need affliction to cause us to pray? This is not always the case. Often it's more an issue of the quality of the time we're spending with God. We all tend to run to the Lord in repeated earnest and fervent prayer when we need Him most. Have you noticed by now that neediness is a regular rotation in life?
It is very wise to spend deep and abiding time with the Lord daily, especially when life is calm. That way, we're already very close to Him when the thunder of adversity shakes our world. And we can cry aloud to God anytime, day or night: "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice." (Psalm 55:17)
He shall hear my voice.
What can you do when you wish you could escape the burdens of your life? Cast them over to God. "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." (Psalm 55:22)
The word "cast" in this verse is not a light term. It's not like you're gently passing the basket of burdens. Oh no. This is more like what you would do if a venomous viper latched onto your hand! You wouldn't just pass a viper and say, "Here, take this thing. I don't want it."
You'd SHEDthat thing as fast as you could!
That's what God wants us to do with our burdens. Throw, hurl, fling, and shed! He can handle the "venomous situations." We cannot. And God adds His sustaining grace to our lives in precisely the measure needed, at exactly the right time.
We may have days when we feel like running--or flying away, but the best place to go is straight to the Lord in prayer. Watch how He rescues you. Prepare to be amazed.