Earlier this week I had an unexpected bad thing happen to me and within the next day or two an expected good thing didn't happen. Both situations were tough and stressful in their own ways, and I had lots of choices to make.
The bad thing (serious car trouble on the highway) could have been REALLY bad (breaking down on the highway with 6 people in the van in 100+ degree heat), fairly quickly resolved itself into being just pretty bad (mostly financially since we made it to the Bass Pro parking lot...if your car is going to break down on a hot day with kids in the car, that is a pretty good place to be.) I will not deny that it was stressful, but after taking a deep breath (or 10) and praying a good bit (silently, while keeping an eye on the kids in the store), I chose to trust God to work it out (while doing my part by making phone calls, etc.) To make a long story short, I anticipated around $1000 in repairs (yes, it was that bad), later was happy to receive the estimate of "only" $500, and finally was ecstatic to get the final bill of $85. Yes, you read that right! It was awesome and amazing! God is so faithful!
The van situation was quickly resolved. The other situation is ongoing. I am not going to go into details here, but a good thing that I expected to happen didn't happen. It was a huge disappointment. I had the opportunity for discouragement, anger, mistrust, etc. I had lots of choices to make. Where do I place my hope? my trust? my focus?
Aha! My help comes from God. Not from people (who God can use, but they are not my source.) If God doesn't use the method I thought He would use I still can choose to trust Him. So much of this is a choice. What do I think about? What is my focus? Where are my priorities? Do I really love people or do I covet things? God made heaven and earth (v. 2 above); He never takes a break (v. 3 & 4); He is who I choose to look to. Because of choosing to look to God and trust Him, I can see the bigger picture, maybe not the whole picture, but enough of it to realize that my disappointment is nothing compared to what other people are going through, enough to give me empathy rather than anger, and confidence rather than shattered hope.
Psalm 121 (KJV)
1I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
I will leave you with the first nine verses of Ps. 37. If you get a chance, read it in its entirety. Meditate on it. Choose who you will trust. If you feel like you just can't make this choice, or you feel like you have no choice, ask for God's strength and His grace. It is only by His grace that I have been able to make these choices.
1Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
3Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
9For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.