A new year is dawning and it feels like every year over Christmas and New Year brings more and more problems. Between the natural disasters (Tsunami / storms / floods), plane crashes, terrorist attacks and threats of terror we also have a president making silly remarks like ‘if the white man in the form of Jan van Riebeeck did not arrive on our shores in 1652 there would have been much less trouble in our country’.
All of this creates an uncertainty in one’s heart and I often catch myself worrying about the future (again!) and especially the year ahead. Our family usually enjoys our annual December vacation down in the Cape. I use the time to spend not only quality time with Anita, our children and grandchildren but also time with the Lord. Every December God reminds me to banish fear from my heart and that I have to guard my thoughts!
It’s 02:30 in the morning and I am tossing and turning in my bed. I am thinking of the multitude of projects, challenges and problems in front of me. I decide to get up and seek God’s face. How I need a Map and a Guide!!! Actually, I want to get out from under this unbearable pressure. I feel like giving up, after all I can’t go on like this forever! Why not quit now while the going’s good? Should I not listen to the multitude of voices asking “When are you going to take it easy?”
I start praying … Lord, please help me! Help me to persevere. Help me to keep my eyes on You! Lord please help me with wisdom, insight and understanding… and one by one I start laying my problems at His feet. God likes us to be honest, so I just poured out my heart.
I love to always have a ‘Plan B’.
What if it rains? Then we’ll go into the hall.
What if the car breaks down? Then we’ll call AVIS.
What if the door is locked? Then we’ll go around the back.
What if the machine breaks down? Then we’ll use the spare in the cupboard.
What if the country ‘breaks down’? Then we’ll immigrate to …
What if my company fails? Then we’ll execute Plan B.
I have come to realize the importance of listening. Many people hear, very few listen. Jesus says in Luke 8:18 “So take care how you listen…”
It made me think about how I listen. I mostly listen with a ‘worldly ear’, taking part in all the negative discussions about a host of subjects including the political situation of the day; the economy; crime; ISIS and how the Muslims are going to take over the world and how unjust the world has become. All these negative discussions surround us without anybody giving any constructive input. I realized that joining the world in its negativity and criticism is not a good place to be as this is the breeding ground for worry and fear. Fear about the future, fear for one’s safety… all in direct contrast with what Jesus said in Matt. 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
There are times that I wish I can do more to get people, including myself, to trust God more. Psalms 48:14(b) says that God will be our guide until we die. I therefore have a guide…why don’t I ask Him for help? Direction? Guidance? Why do I continue to struggle with decisions and situations and not pray more? Seek more? Trust more? Live more? Worry less? When all I have to do is seek, and I will find. (Matt 7:7)
How I need both guidance and a guide – a map that gives me landmarks and directions and a constant companion who has an intimate knowledge of the way and who will be sure I interpret the map correctly. The more I spend quality time with the Lord and read His word, the more I realise that the Bible is such a map and God the constant companion and guide. Why do I then not lean more upon the Map and the Guide? Let me share with you and example of what happened this past week.