When everything in your world seems to be going cruelly wrong – and there’s no more panic buttons to push – what do you do? That’s a fitting description for many people’s personal world right now. Has life stopped being fun a long time ago, and become a drudgery at best? If so, what do you do in a situation like that? Have you caught yourself wondering where an answer might be found, if one can even be found?
By now, most people have memorized every step that lead them into their regrettable situation by heart. So much so, they can quote the steps that led them there, even in their sleep. But most often, it starts with something like this; you feel backed into a corner with isolation, job loss, and the stress of your children’s schooling; then you toss in some stomach-churning anxiety over reports of the virus spreading, add in a few negative reminders about how bleak the job-market looks for everyone in your profession, and it’s enough to make most people wonder where the eject button is for this particular model year, known as 2020? If that describes some of the things going on in your world right now, I’m not surprised, because it’s basically a rubber-stamp of everyone’s world right now.
But I didn’t invite you to read this blog to depress you further – that’s where the narrative of today starts taking a turn for the better. The road to a better tomorrow is achievable, if you know where to find the roadmap that leads you there, and you follow it without deviation. Are you ready to start? Then let’s go.
The way out of this not-so-neatly packaged calendar year starts by changing your outlook and your inlook. Never heard of an inlook before? lol Well, neither had I until just now. But let’s just say that if an outlook is the way we view our world, then an inlook would be the way we view us. Its the filter we apply to our own life – that determines the attitude we will confront our situations and challenges with every day, and allows circumstances to rule us, or lead us to rise up to rule them. However, you need to remember that pity-party attitudes are easily developed when you’re going through bad stuff like many have faced this year. But submerging yourself in an emotional blanket of pity is not the answer to turning this year around, and pulling a “W” out of the loss column. The only way we accomplish that, is when we cast all our cares, burdens, stressors, and fears on the Lord, instead of trying to carry them ourselves. It’s the only way it will work. Trying to dig our own way out of an otherwise lost cause is hopeless at best.
The perfect example of someone who overcame the kind of year many people are having, is found in a young warrior named David, of Israel. For him and his men, life wasn’t exactly easy, even on a normal day. But one day when they returned home, they discovered their arch-enemy had raided their camp, and kidnapped their wives and children, the normal day seemed like Christmas morning compared to that day. To say things went sideways in a hurry would be an absurd understatement. For David and his men faced the most unthinkable crisis when they arrived home in Ziklag. Everything they held dear was gone – robbed from them by an army of ruthless killers, and these seasoned warriors were pretty convinced they would never see their families again.
David’s men were so enraged, they put the blame on David, as their leader, and openly discussed killing him because of it. That makes David the kind of person we can all relate to this year, because he could identify with what we’ve been going through. That’s an important distinction, because finding someone whose been there before, instead of someone who just tosses meaningless words around without any substance to back them up, is what we need in a potential rescuer. And I firmly believe, that David qualifies as that kind of person on many levels.
So what exactly did David do when his world went sideways, that helped him get it back on track? First and foremost, he turned to the Lord for help. And that’s the step you need to take above all else. If you are a follower of Christ, and I mean, you really know Him and serve Him, then take a minute to encourage yourself in the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord, the same way David did when his world suddenly went sideways. On the other hand, if you have not given your heart and life to Jesus yet, that’s not a difficult obstacle to overcome. It simply requires one more step before you’ve managed to set yourself up for success. But never lose sight of the fact, that it all starts by yielding your life to His Lordship, and admitting you have not been able to guide or direct your own life in the way it needs to go. That step must be followed by asking Him to intervene on your behalf. In other words, if you will cry out these words to Jesus right now, He will become your Lord and Savior from this moment on; “Jesus, save me! Come rescue me from me. Forgive me of my wrongdoings, bad choices, and for ignoring you for too long already. Come into my heart right now, become the Lord of my life – I surrender to you. And from this moment on, teach me to follow your ways, do your will, and no longer seek to do my own. In Jesus’ name.”
Now that we all stand at the same starting point, let’s go to the next step. There were many times when David faced situations just as bad, or even worse than what occurred at Ziklag. But what David did there initiated the process of turning his life’s situation around – even though his troubles continued mounting, and he found himself backed into a corner. His love for God led him to take his troubles to the Lord in prayer. That’s the next step we need to take: After we cast our cares on the Lord, and admit we can’t save ourselves, the next step is to actively pursue the Lord’s help in your bad situation, through wholehearted prayer. The wise will always entreat the Lord, like David did. If we will call on Him, in our times of trouble, He will come to us, and perform greater works through us than we could ever dream possible. In fact, Jesus went so far as to say,”If you can believe, all things are possible (Mark 9:23). Even if you feel like running away right now, thanks to the pressures of the day, instead of running to Jesus, don’t do it. The answer is found in drawing near, not emotionally trying to escape your situation. For you’ve never needed His help worse than you do now.
Here’s how it works: As you spend time in the presence of the Lord, something supernatural is going to start happening in your situation. It can’t help it, because anytime we come into contact with the presence of God, something miraculous happens, because He’s not just another man we are running to – He is the Almighty God who possesses all power in heaven and earth. And anytime we have direct contact with the Source of all power, His power causes something to be sparked within us, and miraculously changes otherwise hopeless situations into days of joy. Remember that – when we cast all our cares on Him, cry out in prayer, fill our heart full of the sustaining Word of God, and get lost in worshiping the Lord – we suddenly find ourselves renewed and strengthened in that secret place where God’s Spirit dwells – just like David did. And don’t be surprised when signs and wonders follow your faith, as well. It’s no wonder the Lord said, “David was a man after His own heart.”
It all starts by admitting we can’t, and proclaiming through faith that only He can. We can become the kind of people that David was, too – if we will learn to hand the Lord the keys to our life, and let Him take control, instead of trying to direct our life any longer. It’s time to get out of the way, and stop blocking Him from acting on our behalf, when trouble comes.
Today can be turned around. It doesn’t have to stay bad forever. But it will only begin to change, when you begin to give it up, and let God be God in you. Today, cast your cares on the Lord, surrender the worst and the best of all to Him, call to Him in faith-filled prayer, stand on His Word, and get lost in His presence, through worship and praise. You’ll be amazed at how God will turn your attitude around, change your outlook, lift your spirit, and yes – even work the miracle you need – when you put Him first, above everything else, and trust Him with your life.
If you would like to read the full story of David’s escape from King Saul, and the miraculous recovery of their families from the Amalekites, read 1 Samuel 27-30. As you do, you will find yourself encouraged in the Lord. And remember – what the Lord did for David, during this season of trouble and distress, God will do for you, because He is no respecter or persons, and He loves us all the same. God bless you in this season, and may you, like David, find your encouragement in the Lord!