A lot has happened in the world since my last post. I guess I can sum up how these weeks have passed best by saying, no, I truly have not been afraid. But my heart, my thoughts, my spirit have been deeply troubled and agitated. I have so much to be thankful for, and yet, that in itself has troubled me!
Have you ever wondered if God was blessing you too much? I guess that is how I have felt. Yes, I’ve had a few struggles with health issues – but nothing new or out of the ordinary. Yes, I miss seeing people, and truly miss being with my brothers and sisters in Jesus, singing songs together, praying together, and learning from God’s word, together – but I’ve also enjoyed unique and precious times sharing with friends via Zoom video calls, phone calls, and more. I’ve enjoyed precious alone times with the Lord, and even gotten back to playing the piano and singing more – something I’ve not done regularly for years! (Yes, my friends, years… but that is another story.)
Maybe there is good reason to feel troubled
And yet, my heart is troubled. How can it not be? So many around me are suffering terribly. The situation in Haifa may be OK, but there are areas in Israel where many people have gotten sick, and died. People talk about percentages, as though each life is a statistic that really doesn’t matter unless the number is exceedingly high. That disturbs me terribly. The total confusion of leaders and nations, with no clear, uniform, recommended course of action disturbs me deeply. I know our God is NOT a God of confusion, because it is written,
“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”1 Corinthians 14:33
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.James 3:16
So if God is not the author of confusion, who is? The enemy of our souls and the sin we battle every day. The more I look at the confusion around me, the more troubled I have become.
And then something happens to disturb my own little comfortable world, anything I was thankful for flounders in a descending darkness. Until I talk with a couple friends and realize, I’m not the only one who is troubled.
How can I not be troubled?
Into this morass of feeling, living words on a page of my devotional leap out and embrace my heart.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”John 14:27
The words of Jesus startle me and hold me in His gentle grip. I’d always noticed the admonition to not be fearful – but I realize, when was the last time I thought about seeking to not be troubled? And the more I meditated on these verses, the more I realized, that what is going on around me is a burden from the Lord for prayer, intercession, and ministry – but not for being troubled!
But I could only consider how not to be troubled when I realized that everything going on around me, and these heavy and troubling feelings are far more real than I understand. They are part of the spirit that is tormenting this world right now, with fear and confusion leaving people deeply, horribly troubled. Nothing that I am feeling comes close to what they are feeling. I realized that nothing can touch me, without first touching and going through my Lord.
And that means, these troubling feelings that He is allowing to reach me, are for a purpose.
Troubles that lead to prayer and service
Over the past few weeks I’ve had many opportunities to ponder these words of Jesus and the realization, that whatever I am feeling is nothing compared to those who do not have a living relationship with Jesus. They have no hope for eternal life and they have no assurance that God really is in control.
And so I have done the only thing that I could do. I have prayed. I have poured out my heart to God for the nations, for my nation, and for the salvation of many peoples. I have asked Him to destroy the destroyer, and for God to be glorified among the nations. I have prayed Psalms, and brought news articles before Him. But I’ve also had precious time singing His praises, thanking my God for His love, for His salvation, for His certain victory, and rejoiced that no matter what we see around us, HIS victory is assured.
I’ve sought to encourage and give to others, and by God’s grace, completed a 30-day prayer project that has been translated into Hebrew, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic! (A gallery of the English prayers is displayed at the end of this post or can be viewed here.)
Suddenly, as I see what God has enabled me to do, I realize that I must NOT let my heart be troubled. This world is HIS to deal with. All I can do is be faithful to what He asks of me to do in the here and now, and leave the rest to Him.
This isn’t about me – its about what He can do through you
So before I go any further, I want you to understand why I’m sharing these things with you. I could be wrong, but I think maybe you too are struggling with feeling “troubled.”Maybe you think its your fault. I just want to assure you, its not. All of us are struggling with these troubling feelings of uncertainty. But if you belong to Jesus, what you are feeling is only what He is allowing to touch you. Let these troubling feelings give you a heart of compassion for your friends and neighbors who don’t know Jesus. Let these feelings drive you to the Lord, to pray, to intercede, and to seek His answers for ourselves, our nation, the nations, and the many who desperately need Him. Let these feelings drive you to worship. You don’t need to have perfect pitch, or even an instrument. But praising Him at this time is a bold declaration to the spiritual powers out there that they have not succeeded – that God remains on His throne, and you will remain His no matter what happens.
And perhaps, like me, you will find that your heart is no longer troubled, but filled with the joy of the Lord – your strength!
Pandemic Prayers for Ourselves and the Nations
A month of prayers for encouragement and intercession