Everybody's got their problems. I think we can all agree on that one. But how do we view them? What do we do with them? Where do we go for direction?
I love the verse in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that says, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Looking at our problems or trials from an eternal perspective makes them appear light and momentary. Besides that, these light affliction are working together for good, for refining us for glory.
Colossians 3:2 tells us, Set your affection (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth. Are we keeping our face downward and only looking at our circumstances here on earth or are we looking up, trusting our heavenly Father who works all things together for good? (Romans 8:28)
So what are we supposed to do with our problems, our struggles, our worries, our concerns? Philippians 4:6-7 tells us Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Psalm 55:22a tells us, Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: and in Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. We don't need to carry these burdens alone or in our own strength, instead through prayer we can give them over to God and find peace and rest.
But what if we don't know what to do, we just don't know the next step and there are important decisions to be made; then what? Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us to Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Two words really strike me in this verse; the words all and shall. It doesn't say bring only your big problems, your big concerns, your big questions to God. No, it says acknowledge Him in all your ways. It also doesn't say that if you do lay your questions, concerns, and decisions at His feet that He might direct your paths; No, it says He shall direct your paths.
Numbers 23:19 reminds us that, God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
An example of the importance of acknowledging God in all our ways can be found in the life of Joshua. Joshua had an impossible task to do; he had to fight against the unconquerable city of Jericho. What did he do? He prayed to God and God directed him. Then after Jericho was successfully conquered, the next city on the list was the small, insignificant city of Ai. Joshua sent out some spies like he had done with Jericho, but he didn't pray about it. The spies returned saying that it would be an easy battle, a sure win. "We don't all need to go up to attack Ai," they instructed him, "2 or 3,000 men is plenty." God however, was angry at the Israelites for taking accursed artefacts from Jericho, but Joshua didn't check with God before going up to battle. The end result was that Ai beat back the Israelites killing 36 of them and the Israelites hearts melted like water. (Joshua 7)
So what can we learn from this? That even when there are small decisions to be made, ones where the answers seem so obvious, a sure thing, where others counsel us to go ahead; we always need to check with God first.
Finally, in Sunday school this past week we studied that God is all powerful. The question is, do we really believe it? Genesis 18:14a says, Is any thing too hard for the LORD? Jeremiah 10:12 tells us It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. And in Matthew 19:26 Jesus says, ..with God all things are possible.
So to whom else can we go with our problems, our concerns, our cares, but to the Creator of heaven and earth, who loves us like a father, who gives us peace and rest who promises to direct us in all our ways and for whom nothing is impossible?