Comfort in the Chaos

I’m going to confess something: I’m a bit of a worrier. I worry about my parents getting older and needing more specialized care, about my brother traveling for his photography business, about the lack of moisture and the consequent fire danger, about answering the phone because my introvert nature makes it a scary proposition, about all sorts of things! And absolutely none of them are actually within my control.

Last fall my mom had complications with a back operation that put her at serious risk and in the hospital and a physical rehab unit for nearly two months. I found myself spending way more time worrying and crying than I did reading the Word and praying. Driving to the hospital one day, I remember God pressing on me that if I have enough time to worry about the situation, then I also have enough time to pray about it. If I can devote time to being concerned, I can devote time to reading His Word.

The Bible never says that we should worry more or stress out or try to do everything on our own. It actually says the exact opposite: Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious about anything, but to pray and give thanks about everything. Worrying will not change anything, but trusting in God can change everything!

And Jesus Himself told us not to worry. His words remind us that since we see God cares for even the birds and the grass, we should know that He will take care of us. And after all, worrying will not add a single hour to your life or make anything better in the long run (Matthew 6:25-34). These reminders, among so many others in the Word, are the only thing that can keep me from spending too much time worrying.

When we worry, it is an attempt to take control over situations that can never be in our control. We turn from faith in God to fear of the unknown. We worship the problem instead of the Problem-Solver.

But every time we pick up the Word or turn to the Lord in prayer, He takes our burdens upon Himself. His words can give us peace in the midst of the chaos, comfort in our trials. What a tremendous blessing He gives us, when we turn to Him!

 

Refined in the Fire

The silversmith  must pay very close attention when he is melting down silver to create his lovely pieces. He can’t simply toss chunks of silver into a bowl and place it in the fire, checking back on it in a few hours to see how it’s melting. No, he must sit right beside the crucible, constantly watching and caring for the silver. Should he look away for even a moment, the silver can scorch. So he sits and he stirs, ever mindful of the moment when the silver is finally ready to be taken from the fire. And how does he know when that moment has arrived? When he can see his reflection mirrored perfectly in the surface of the melted silver.

And so it is in our own lives. God is our silversmith, placing us in the fire to refine us through trials and tests of our faith. But He never leaves us alone in the fire. He doesn’t take a break to grab a snack or watch the Super Bowl or walk the dog. No, He is always right there beside us during those difficult times, caring for us, ensuring we don’t scorch in the flames. And when He can see Himself more clearly reflected in us, that’s when He knows that the refining has been complete and He removes us from the fire.

Know that when times are tough, God is right there beside you, watching you transform — and if you are trusting in Him, you will be refined into something more beautiful than you can even imagine: a reflection of God Himself.

 

  • I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. Zechariah 13:9
  • For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. Psalm 66:10
  • Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?” Jeremiah 9:7
  • Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. Daniel 11:35
  • He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Malachi 3:3

 

Praying that you have a blessed week!

A Perfectly Imperfect Example

In my quiet times recently, I’ve studied Jacob/Israel more deeply than ever before. To me he is a fascinating paradox: an often faithless patriarch of the faith.

I can imagine things weren’t easy for him in his early years, knowing that his father so obviously favored his brother, Esau (Genesis 25:28). Yet it seems he forgot the lessons he learned in that experience and went on to favor his own son, Joseph, above all his other sons (Genesis 37:3). And, of course, we know that Joseph is the one who paid for that favoritism (Genesis 37). Imperfect.

Jacob was forced to flee his home after he deceived his father (with the help of his mother) and stole Esau’s blessing (Genesis 27), yet he literally met God while he was on the run to his uncle’s home (Genesis 28). God spoke to him, blessed him, promised him that his descendants would outnumber the specks of dust on the earth and that the land would belong to Jacob and his descendants forever (Genesis 28:13-15). And what did Jacob do? He acted like a typical human and put conditions on God: IF God would protect and provide for him until he returned to his father’s house, THEN Jacob would consider the Lord his God (Genesis 28:20-21). Imperfect.

Even if we skip his time at his Uncle Laban’s home and all the ways that God provided for him in his twenty years there, we still find Jacob depending more on himself than on God. When he left Laban and wass told that his brother, Esau, was coming to meet him, Jacob again behaved like most people: crying out to God for help, but still thinking up ways he could get himself out of danger. One moment he was praying for God’s help and the next he was scheming up tricks to pacify the anger he assumed was driving Esau toward him (Genesis 32). As Warren Wiersbe put it, “[Jacob] prayed to be delivered from Esau, but he really needed to be delivered from himself.” Imperfect.

Even though Jacob, now Israel, had learned so much about God, had seen God, struggled with God, he still depended on his own means (bribery, lies, etc.), because he spent so much time dwelling on his past transgressions, instead of looking ahead in faith. He was far from a perfect example of faith, yet God used him to teach us at least one very valuable lesson:

When we meet God, when we give our lives to Christ, our sins are washed in His blood, tossed to the ocean floor, never to be brought up again. If you find yourself dwelling on the sins of your past, know that it is not God who is bringing them to your mind. It is the Deceiver, who wants to take your mind off of God. When we dwell in the past, we forget to trust God with our present and our future. Look ahead instead, to all God has waiting for His good and faithful servants.

Must we be perfect? I know God would like us to be, but we are human and odds are we will mess up. We should strive for perfection, but maybe we can find contentment in imperfect perfection, always leaning on God, having faith that He is in control and that He cares for us.