|Douglas Frank Photograph|
Is you mind flooded with fog or overflowing with thoughts? Sometimes my mind gets stuck in thought of things I just can’t figure out. I think that this is common to man. What do you do or where do you go for help when your mind and life gets overloaded perhaps like in the Photo above? In James 1:2-8 we read of trials or temptations of many kinds that we all face. I recognize that the current Texas disaster is overwhelming for many. Yet James admonition is that trials can develop perseverance in us, making us more mature and complete. We are admonished to even receive these troubles with “joy.” Now there is a key to dealing with them that makes no sense from a worldly basis. The writer is not talking happiness here, but an inner assurance that God is in it with us. Of course if you don’t have God in you, this will be a much harder trial or temptation.
Another verse in 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that trials and temptations come to all of us and that God won’t give you more than you can handle in His faithfulness. This means that with God’s advice or power it won’t be more than you can handle, but without it, you are on your own. Then I think your mind will look like the foggy and flooded scene above. There are lots of obstructions, rocks and submerged logs to trip on, not to mention falling into the stream that seems to be increasing in flow downstream.
So, are you getting perturbed or anxious yet? I am. So where do I go? Well, James 1:5-8 says, If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” Another translation calls this person wavering and unsettled. The Message calls you “adrift,” like a lifeboat in the sea tossed by the winds. Have you ever experienced this kind of situation? Of course you have, we all do, and South Texas is in it big time now. The key is where we go with it.
Wind-whipped worry only worsens the wreck, like the Apostle Paul in the graphic Acts 27 shipwreck. A violent storm arose with a wind of hurricane force like “Harvey” has hit Texas. Crewmembers are floating on boards or swimming for their lives to get to shore. But none were lost because Paul had sought the Lord: “And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me” (Acts 27:22-25).
Do you seek God before and in the trial? His wisdom is the response we need above the Red Cross.
I responded to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans 12 years ago, but cannot this time. Our Presbyterian Disaster Relief Team stayed in our local church in Slidell. All the trees were down and with it the electricity. Homes were flooded. By the time we arrived most had been searched with telltale orange spray paint symbols on front doors identifying if there were dead or missing. It was very eerie to see numbers in the 9th Ward and St. Barnard District where high loss of life occurred. We were there to help provide supplies, hope and to begin the demolition phase. There were people just walking the streets without shelter food or water. The floods had taken away homes and livelihoods. Some however, were full of praise for having survived. Their resilience was empowering to our own team members. Focusing on God’s goodness and provision in the storm is a mindset that is not easy to achieve in disaster. I am praying for the Harvey survivors and for the storm to relent.
So what is your disaster today? Are you just wallowing in pity? Are you just floating around in a flood? Are you seeking help from the Lord to help respond effectively? I don’t know your situation, but God does and He cares.