Times are that it seems like life piles up and piles on.
That was true for me last week because, for me, it was “just one of those weeks,” as we are often prone to term it.
One of the things I can tell you about was that Micaiah’s car had a breakdown. It not only required a big chunk of time and attention from me, it was also a rather pricey repair. Another item had to do with Jamin’s car. About time on Saturday evening I was trying to get my attention on preaching the prepared messages on Sunday morning and evening (you preachers probably know what I am talking about), Jamin calls about his car breaking down.
That was the tipping point for me. After hanging up with Jamin, I told Terry sharply, “I’m going to bed!” I flopped down on it, and crawled up under the covers in a heap. At first, I mentally with emotion compared everything to the rigors of the week. Then, I thought about all I had to do about Micaiah’s car. Then, I thought about all that I would probably have to with Jamin’s car. Time and energy. Frustration and anxiety. What to do and what not to do. Other things that needed to be done or attended to. The more I thought, the more worked up I became.
But, then the Lord intervened. He brought up some other details to think about. For some reason, He brought up Eran first of all. He knows Eran is not here with us, but he reminded me that Eran was still alive and living in a far better place — in Heaven, as a matter of fact. That has always been a comforting perspective.
Then, the Lord pointed out that neither Micaiah nor Jamin had been killed in an accident from the cars breaking down. Neither had they been hurt from the cars breaking down. Neither were they left stranded on the highway from the cars breaking down. As a matter of fact, Micaiah had been near enough to a friend who provided immediate help. Jamin had been at his oldest brother’s house. Each of these perspectives was very comforting.
But, then it occurred to me that this is what God does for His people. When life piles up and piles on, He lends comforting perspectives that helps us to envision better-off circumstances. These comforting perspectives get our emotions and minds off of the worse-case concerns for the purpose of looking to Him in faith. When we do that, tensions ease. Proper focus sharpens temporal vision for what is most important for the moment.
The Apostle Paul is a big help concerning the comforting perspectives of God. Paul pointed out that when there are moments of stress and anxiety, thinking on things that are true brings a comforting perspective from the Lord. Thinking on things that are lovely brings a comforting perspective from the Lord. Thinking on things for which we can praise God for brings a comforting perspective from the Lord.
Paul asserted, “… think on these things.” In other words, let your mind dwell on these things. And, if you do, God will give forth His peace. It will be such peace that stabilizes your hearts and minds. When we experience things that are upsetting and stressful, the best thing we can do is to be stable, mentally and emotionally. This, then, becomes the effectual result of the comforting perspectives of God.
Now, we might have to wrestle with it a bit. We are prone to be fixated on troubles and the associated bad thoughts. In my case, I had to put forth effort not to dwell on the concerns. I kept myself returning to the comforting perspectives God was providing me. After a while, I got to thinking about the upcoming messages from the Scripture about which God had prepared in me to deliver.
“Not bad,” I thought about each. Consequently, I was soon trailing off to sleep … which I hope was not the effect on the congregation as a result of my deliveries on Sunday. Oh, no! My sermons are comforting perspectives from the Lord? That may not be a comforting perspective.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.