Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV) “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
In my quiet time this morning, God gently reminded me that HE IS BIGGER than any problem I have or will ever have. As I sat and thought about my own little world, I thought about all the problems that are “bigger than me.” My thoughts somehow landed on the conflict and turmoil that is going on in our nation – the demonstrations and protests over everything imaginable, the fires on the West coast, the hurricanes in the Gulf and on the East coast, the blatant and very public disrespect of our National leaders… it’s just all so overwhelming to me. I can’t even watch the news.
I thought back to September 11, 2001 when the United States faced a devastating blow. I’m sure all Americans remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news about the Twin Towers in New York. I know I sure do. I was a software applications instructor at the time and was just getting ready to go into a class.
“Did you hear? A jet just flew into the World Trade Center.”
“What?” No I hadn’t heard. I had been busy getting ready to teach.
In the next few seconds all of our office phones began to ring. You see, I live and work in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. This area is home to the world’s largest Naval Station and is home-port to the Navy’s Atlantic fleet. On a daily basis we had men and women of our armed forces in our classrooms learning to use various software programs. It seemed none of our military students were going to be able to make it to class that day. My boss rolled a TV into the center of our office and we watched the devastating events for what seemed like hours.
But you know, as devastating and as out of control as the world seems…GOD is BIGGER than all of it. His plan for all of us is unfolding. We may not see Him at work, but that doesn’t mean God is not working.
Each day God:
I pray you find encouragement today in whatever it is you’re facing. Always remember… GOD IS BIGGER!
Isaiah 41:13 (NCV) I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, and I tell you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I will help you.’
Isn’t it wonderful how God uses the unexpected to speak into our lives? It was the morning of my son’s last day of Kindergarten. As I made drove to the school, I talking to a friend and listened as she vented about the frustrations surrounding her responsibilities and how much time they consumed. For the past several months, she had been working upwards of 60 hours. All the work had left her exhausted, frustrated, and in desperate need of an assistant. Above anything else she told me, she was i n desperate need to get back to the normalcy of her morning quiet time with God. As I drove in silence listening to her talk, I could totally relate to every word she said. At the time, I too had allowed my morning quiet time to slip because of overwhelming circumstances. It seemed that the more hectic everything had gotten, the further away I had gotten from my quiet time with God. My morning routine hit a road block and instead of getting up early to spending precious moments with God, I hit the alarm clock and rolled back over for a few more minutes of sleep.
During our conversation, our venting led us to the conclusion that we both felt like poor examples. Our daily routine had gotten exhausting and we were too tired to get up early and start our day with God. As a result, our attitudes and moods changed. We saw things differently. We agreed that we needed to get back to where we once were in our relationships with Christ…but how? With that, we hung up the phone feeling a little better that we were able to vent and confirmed the fact that we were not alone. Praise God for the friends he places in our lives. But how do you get back to where you need to be when you’re doing the best you can in what seems to be overwhelming circumstances?
We will get to that in a minute. But I want to share something else first. As I said earlier, that morning I was headed to my end of year party. He was moving out of kindergarten into the first grade. As part of his class’s end of the year celebration, parents were able to join their children for a pizza and ice cream party. After the party, I followed my son to his classroom to collect his belongings and take him home for the day. Just as we were leaving, his teacher handed him a sand bucket full of “goodies”. Little did I know how God would use one of the gifts in the bucket as a gentle reminder of my value in his eyes.
On the drive home, my son was sifting through the bucket’s content. He pulled out a little party favor bag with a home-made tag attached. At a stop light, I began to read the tag and quickly realized this wasn’t any old party bag, it was a “First Grade Survival Kit” and each gift inside had a very special meaning. What a thoughtful gift. I began to read the list of gifts and their meaning out loud to my son but didn’t get very far. The words of the first line rendered me speechless so much that my eyes welled up with tears and I was instantly overcome with emotion. Of course this didn’t go over very well with my son. He wanted to know what it said, but I couldn’t speak.
There, in black and white text on orange laminated construction paper stood the gentle reminder I needed “I was special to God.” Thoughts invaded “No my matter what the circumstance… I mattered.” God had sent his Son to die for me because he loved me so very, very much (John 3:16). Why couldn’t I have remembered that all this time?”
I quickly thought back to the conversation I had with my friend a few hours earlier. We had made the mistake of taking our eyes off of Christ. That was our problem. We allowed current circumstances to shift our focus. We had tried to carry our burdens ourselves and not taken them to Him. Flooded by emotion, I reached for my cell phone to call my friend. As the phone rang I thought “this is a bad idea – she’s at work and can’t handle this right now. I’ll share later.” I ended the call.
“M-O-MMMM!” a concerned voice from the backseat “why are you crying and what’s wrong with your friend? Why did the card make you cry?” I had to smile at his words. The card had not made me cry, it was the gentle reminder of the words and how far away I had gotten from the truth of them. I tried my best to explain the reason I was crying to my son. I don’t know if he got it or not…but I sure did.
“Can you read what the card says now please Mommy?” another plea from the backseat. “Gladly” I responded.
A penny to remind you that you are valuable. You were bought with a price!
Moving forward, I will look at pennies in an entirely different way. What was intended to be a reminder for my son is now a reminder for me. I am continually amazed by God and the way he reaches out and remind us of his great love.
What do you do when you get overwhelmed? Do you tend to run away or retreat to your to a quiet place and spend time being filled by the God of the Universe?
Here are 5 Quiet time tips to get you started: