Monday, 2 November 2015

Encouragement in times of panic...

Psalm 43:5
Why am I discouraged?
Why am I restless?
I trust you, Lord!
And I will praise you again

because you help me,
and you are my God.

Reading a Bible plan by Louie Giglio, based on his new book Comeback.

There was a time he was overwhelmed. Waking up, as I have done, in the middle of the night with what sounded like a panic attack.

Sometimes, when this happens, I manage by just breathing; Bob's prayer:
"A Prayer: Gather my scattered thoughts, Lord

God, today my thoughts are scattered like scraps of paper across a parking lot, like leaves blown down the street on a windy day in autumn.

Help me now to release those fragments. There will be other times for brain-storming. Let this be a time for brain-calming.

I breath in -- and out -- slowly.

And again.

I relax my shoulders.

I begin to gather my thoughts around Jesus Christ my Savior. There is no other thought or task more important than Him. No other person or appointment rivals my Lord.

You wait to meet with Me in this hour. You know me, love me, and now You have words to give to me. Through the written Word, the Spirit of God will refocus my priorities.

You will give guidance for the major tasks of this day. You will assure me that my acceptance is based on grace not works.

I am not responsible to save the world or any part of it. But can simply hear my Master's voice and obey as a willing child.

I rest in You. You have charge of my life. You have control of my day.

I am eager to hear Your voice, and take Your hand now, and share what is on my heart."

Sometimes, though breathing and praying, I am still absolutely, completely, overwhelmed... by just everything. The past, the present, the future...

So Louie's words spoke to me:
"all I could think to say (was) God, please, please help.

There was no bolt of lightning. No fast fix. No immediate cure. But the smallest snippet of a Bible verse floated through my head from Job 35:10, about how God gives us songs in the night. I said, God I don’t know what else to do. But if you’ll give me a song tonight, then I’ll praise you.

The little song wasn’t a promise that God would heal me then and there. Yet God was still a healer, and I believed in him and in his purposes. That was enough for the moment—and it was the beginning of how God created a comeback in my life."

Louie says: "If you’re in a dark place like I was, know that you’re not crazy and you’re not alone. Maybe you have a struggle similar to mine. Maybe you have conflict with your friends, coworkers, or relatives. Maybe you’re battling to overcome an addiction. Whatever the cause, life hasn’t turned out for you the way you hoped. The good news is that Jesus can meet you there and offer you a comeback. He can redeem even the worst circumstances for his glory and your best. And he offers this comeback to you right now."

So Louie starts by looking at Moses. A familiar story.  Yet "at a time when many would be thinking about their last chapters on this earth, God spoke to Moses out of a burning bush and called him to a position of leadership. “I know it looks like life has passed you by,” God said, “but I’m going to use you..."

I love it. At a time when I am thinking about retirement and feeling that in some ways life HAS 'passed me by', these words are hugely encouraging. Moses had a speech impediment and, to quote Louie, 'lousy self-confidence'. 

And yet, and yet - in spite of it all, he obeyed God, with resultant blessing.  "...the entire story of humanity is a story of people who have stumbled and fallen, yet somehow in this ocean of God’s grace and mercy, he provides a comeback for anyone who puts their faith and hope in Jesus. In the end, we find that no matter what we might be walking through, we can still have confidence that Jesus is the God of the comeback and that our story is not over as long as Jesus is in it.

Everybody needs a comeback, and everybody is offered a comeback. No matter what our obstacles are, no matter what mistakes we’ve made, no matter if we’re in a season of wandering or darkness, God’s purpose and plan will still prevail."

Hope indeed. And where to start? Here is a good place...Psalm 95...
"Sing joyful songs to the LORD! Praise the mighty rock where we are safe. Come to worship him."

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