Your car is broken down and you don’t have the money to get it fixed. The company is laying off workers. Your daughter is pregnant, but she is not married. Your marriage is coming apart. The list could go on and on, but you know the sort of pain I am talking about.
God, did you bring me this far just to destroy me and embarrass me?
The answer is no, He did not. Regardless of what you are facing, God is able to use the ugliness of life as fertile soil for the beautiful roses of His grace.
So, next time your world is coming apart, REST!
R – Remember God is sovereign.
I know you are tempted to say “amen” and go on. But, stay with me for a moment. It is easy to amen to the sovereignty of God when someone else is in trouble, and much harder when my own world is collapsing.
What does it mean that God is sovereign?
It means God controls the circumstances. Remember when the Israelis came out of Egypt? God lead them to the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1-4). He even told them exactly where to camp. God then brought the Egyptian army in behind them. With the Red Sea in front and the greatest army in that day behind them, they were trapped.
They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?…” (Exodus 14:11). Can you feel the stress in their cry? Their circumstances are about to kill them, or at least the stress might give them a heart attack.
Moses’ response is what we really need to pay attention to. “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13) Let me paraphrase that for you, relax and watch what God does.
What are circumstances that are stressing you out?
Remember, God is the God of and over circumstances. So, relax.
E – Exhale
I wanted to say breathe deep but E fit better with the REST acronym, so I went with exhale.
Breathing deep and exhaling slowly has a tremendous calming effect on the body and the soul. It slows the pace and gives you a moment to focus. Take a moment and control your breathing by inhaling slowly through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth. There is nothing especially spiritual about this, but it is effective.
S – Seek – Seek the hand, the presence of God in the circumstances.
God is the God of revelation, He makes Himself known. Sometimes Christians have this idea that we discover God or His will. In Scripture God is not hiding, He is revealing. The whole universe declares His glory (Psalm 19:1).
If Israel had only paused for a moment they would have seen that God was about to glorify His name. “…I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD…” (Exodus 14:4)
Look at the circumstances which are causing you so much stress and ask God to reveal Himself in them.
T – Trust – Trust God
Whatever is going on God is going to use it for your good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
The children of Israel panicked even though they had the promises of God.
They were being led by God’s prophet, the promises to Abraham were part of the national consciousness, and they had all witnessed the miracles of God which plagued the Egyptians.
But, they refused to trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Notice I said refused. They had plenty of evidence of God’s power and of His love, but they made the conscious decision to refuse to see the hand of God in their circumstances instead of the God of the circumstances.
How are you doing in the stress causing situations you are facing? Are you RESTing in God or panicking in your circumstances?
When the stressors are present, REST! Ask God to let you see His hand at work in your circumstances and let Him increase your faith.
Instead of “Oh no! How am I going to fix this?” cry out to God and ask “Oh wow! What are You going to do God? And then REST.