"Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him." -- Proverbs 30:5
Every now and then life becomes overwhelming. As we search for answers to all the nagging questions of life, we are quick to read the latest self-help books, tune into talk shows for counsel from our favorite pop psychologists, or talk our issue to death with friends who have their own problems. While we may garner a little sympathy from our friends and find the methods described in self-help books intriguing, we soon discover that the wisdom of these sources amounts to nothing more than chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:17). Despite all our effort, we find ourselves still plagued by unanswered questions and unsolved dilemmas.
There are nights when I lay my head on the pillow and the troubling thoughts of the day assault me relentlessly. I have learned that the best thing I can do in those moments is run to the one source of truth I have, God's Word. As I pour out my heart to the God who is my refuge (Psalm 62:8) and pray his Word over my situation, his peace begins to flood my troubled mind and I am able to finally sleep. By praying his Word, I am intentionally focusing on him. His Word tells us, "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you" (Isaiah 26:3). Sometimes, though, we need a reminder of why we can trust in God and take him at his word. We are told in Isaiah 55:11 that God's word will not return to him empty but will accomplish the purpose for which he sent it. God cannot lie. He will do what he says he will do, and that is the one sure thing we can count on.
For over an hour last night I poured out my heart to God. Because I spend time in his Word daily, that sweet hour of prayer became an intimate conversation full of blessed assurances from the Lord. When doubt grips us and the questions keep coming like a freight train on steroids, we dare not trust the barometers of human affirmation, our bank balance, or our own flawed emotions to provide the answers or guidance we seek. Rather we need to take hold of God's Word and see what he has to say about us and our circumstances.
God's Word assures us of his salvation (John 3:16), his lavish love for us (1 John 3:1, 16), and his promise to work all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28), even if we don't know for sure what our calling is. In time, as we cultivate our relationship with him, he will reveal and confirm our calling.
Jesus does not condemn us for our lack of faith or our weakness (Romans 8:1). He was tempted in every way as we are, yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He, better than any earthly friend or counselor, can sympathize with our weakness because he not only was fully God, he was also fully man, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). The Bible tells us "Jesus wept" (John 11:35) with his friends. Don't you find that a great comfort when your tears flow endlessly? He is full of compassion and mercy (James 5:11), especially for those who have persevered through the difficult seasons and circumstances of life. Oh, how he loves us!
God's Word tells us that "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16) and that if we believe, we will receive whatever we ask for in prayer (Matthew 21:22), as we pray in accordance with God's will. God declares us righteous through our faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22), if we believe and receive the salvation which he accomplished for us on the cross.
Do you believe things can turn around for you? I admit, sometimes I struggle with hopelessness and wonder if things will ever change. When I pick up God's Word, however, and begin to pray it over the circumstances and details of my life, I know without a doubt that God is in complete control, that nothing takes him by surprise, and that he has matters well in hand. If you don't share that confidence today, I pray you will run to God's Word, read it, and let him minister to you. Pour out your heart to him, then open his Word to see what he has to say to you. As you lose yourself in the pages of scripture, you will soon find yourself lost in the very love of the One who gave himself for you!