In my devotional this morning, I was intrigued as I read about the things of this world that can serve to pull and distract us from the path that God has set before each one of His children. That got me to thinking about the many things that distract us in this life – and how those distractions may very well be the work of the enemy, to undermine what God may be calling us to be – and to do in this life – and in the many difficult circumstances in which we can often find ourselves.
In our work as a counseling ministry, we often encounter people who are struggling to listen and hear God speaking to them, providing the guidance, love and peace they need to move through the unhappiness and struggles that were never part of His plan for them. I often find myself counseling a client to, as we are told in Psalm 46:10-11,
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
What I mean when I offer that godly wisdom to a client, is that the human inclination is to listen to anything other than what God is speaking to our hearts. When we are struggling with fear and uncertainty, we may we setting ourselves up for more of the same and a cycle of unhappiness and confusion, as we are respond to the wrong voice! Proverbs 1:5-7 tells us, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
It is human nature to attempt to make sense of our circumstances. It’s a symptom of the adage, “I can deal with reality. I just need to know what reality is.” We all struggle for understanding. We crave clarity in our situations. But here’s the thing; when we don’t know what reality is, we tend to make things up – to “fill in the blanks” with our own, limited understanding. Putting the pieces of our lives together without the loving guidance of God in our lives – pulled together out of our own brokenness and darkness often dead-ends in a place that can leave a person feeling hopeless – and even desperate. This is absolutely NOT what God wants for any of us! God wants us to know Him and to know freedom from the kind of hopelessness and desperation that the distractions of the world may offer us.
It all sounds so simple – and indeed, it is – But it is NOT easy! It requires focus and a firm resolve to make the Lord our trusted and sovereign King. It requires a willingness to surrender all our cares to He Who loves us – Who alone, is able to give us peace in the freedom of His love and delight in us.
Proverbs 3:5–8 offers a formula for respite in the storms of life,
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.”
Our freedom and independence lies in an acknowledgement of the dependence we have on our Savior and Lord. In Him we can know true freedom, as we let go of the things that pull and distract us from Him and His perfect plan for us.
In our humanity and in the concept of “The land of the free and the home of the brave,” this mandate to surrender to another is the “not easy” part of God’s call to us. Yet, as He promises, once we take that first step to humbly submit, we will truly – and forever – experience the joy of what it means to live free!
As we celebrate the freedom God has given us in our great nation, I pray you will answer God’s call to true freedom in His love and provision to us all. . . I pray that you will find peace in your circumstances, as you yield and surrender your life and your struggles to His will. Let Freedom Ring! . . .
And have a happy and peace-filled Fourth of July!