The Bible contains a lot of guidance for how to spend our time and energy: We’re to love and help others,1 share the good news of God’s love,2 and apply ourselves in our work,3 to name a few. But the Bible also teaches that sometimes it is best to stay put and let God work on our behalf.
“I’m going fishing,” Simon Peter told his fellow disciples.4
“We are going with you also,” they replied.
Question: I've been looking for a new job, but so far without success. If I have prayed and am doing my part, why isn't God helping me?
Answer: The way God works in our lives and the way He chooses to do things is often past our comprehension. It’s mysterious, it’s humbling, and it usually takes faith and patience. His purposes and timetable are often different from ours.
Of all the word pictures Jesus painted, I can't think of another that engenders the peace of spirit that comes from feeling secure in God's loving care more than this: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. If God so clothes the grass of the field, will He not much more clothe you?”1 Can you see those lilies now? Tall and straight, perfectly formed and laced with dew, each a polite distance from the next, they sway as one to the sweet strains of songbirds and a gentle breeze as it sweeps through an open meadow awash with morning sun. At least that’s how I would have had them grow, if God had asked me.
The other evening my wife and I watched the sunset from our terrace, and we stayed until stars came out. As usual, the evening star was the first to appear. An hour or so later it was still the brightest light in the sky on this moonless night, its steady gleam easily outshining the twinkling competition.
The evening star had an unfair advantage, of course, since it is actually the planet Venus, masquerading as a star. Like the Moon, it emits no light but merely reflects light from the Sun.
If you're like most people today, you're used to moving fast and expecting quick results. The problem with that—or at least part of the problem—is that what was enough yesterday seldom seems to be enough today, and escalating personal expectations carry over to what you expect from other people and from life in general.
You struggle to keep pace with the world, but at the same time you can’t help that some things simply take time. Most problems at work or with your health or relationships can’t be solved with the click of a mouse or the push of a button.
I can give you peace that defies understanding,1 that calms storms, and that overcomes stress and worry. The storms may come and the waves may rise, you may be buffeted and besieged on all sides, but you will not sink, because I am the Master of the sea and everything is within My control.
I will continue to be with you always—through hills, across rivers, over mountains, through plains and meadows, through rain, sun, and wind, through heat and through cold. Through it all, I will love you, hold you, and help you. And you will learn and grow and experience new things, profound things, transformative things. You will come to know Me in a truly deep and personal way, and you will come to know and appreciate the gifts that I have for you—how bountiful, how perfect, and enduring they are.
Steve was a cheerful little boy with big brown eyes, curly blond hair, and a dimple that appeared on his right cheek every time he smiled. He had dreamy eyes, and often sat by the window to gaze at the rain, the clouds, or the birds.
“He has been kissed by an angel,” the Japanese midwife had told me with a smile when she first placed the small warm bundle in my arms, pointing out a snow-white streak of hair at the back of his head. “He has a special calling in life.” Over the years, her words often came back to me and I wondered what they meant.
One of the greatest healing factors is faith, knowing that God loves us and is going to take care of us no matter what happens. Faith eliminates fear and tension, which are two of the greatest causes of disease and ill health. Those and other negative mental states such as worry, hatred, and bitterness can contribute to various psychological and nervous disorders, as well as physiological conditions such as heart trouble, arthritis, and stomach ulcers.
There is an adage, "Good is the enemy of best" The point is that settling for something that is merely good may mean that something better is never attained. It seems to be a cultural imperative these days that we never settle for less than what we believe will prove to be the absolute best for us. But I'm coming to a different conclusion.
In my personal quest for the best possible outcome in each and every situation, I’m seeing that I have sometimes passed up some good possibilities; because I was worried that just around that next corner could be what I really, really, really wanted, I failed to take advantage of the opportunity at hand. In such cases, it seems to me that “best” is really the enemy of “good.” Going for the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow caused me to miss the beauty of the rainbow. I would probably be happier if I embraced the journey, rather than always being fixated on reaching my next goal.
You are special. You’re not just one in a crowd—you’re special to Me! I know your every thought. I know you personally, and I am speaking to you personally now. Ask Me to speak to you whenever you want, when you’re up or when you’re down, or even when you just want some good company. I’m happy to speak to you on any subject, whenever you need it.
My friend Michael has a favorite saying for when God does something inexplicable in answer to prayer: It’s not odd, it’s God.
For some months, Michael and a few others of us have been working on a major new endeavor. One of the first things Michael and another partner did was map out the entire project. The plan looked terrific on paper—so simple, so straightforward, so sure. We soon found out, however, that God had a somewhat different plan and timetable. And part of His plan seems to be to teach us to depend more on Him as our all-wise CEO.