Just wanted to remind you that when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were delivered, the fire never went out. The victory isn’t the circumstance changed; it’s walking with Jesus and trusting Him in the circumstance. It was IN THE FIRE that they were unbound and unharmed.
When my oldest was going to get his driver’s license, I thought to myself, “How does anyone let their teenage just walk out the door and drive away?” When he got his license, I hurried him out the door so he’d be on time and then forgot he was out.
What happened? God gave me the peace that surpasses understanding when I needed it. Why didn’t I have it before at the times those thoughts would invade? I didn’t need it then. I was safe at home. He was safe at home. There was nothing needing peace about.
Worrying about something that isn’t going on doesn’t need special peace. It needs trusting God. It needs taking our thoughts captive. It needs thinking on good things, what is excellent, worthy of praise, pure, true…It wasn’t true that he was in any trouble at the moment. He was sitting down in his computer chair.
We’re given the commands: “Don’t be anxious about anything…Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Now, I do believe that command was spoken softly, not in any harsh way, like how Jesus spoke to Martha when she was “troubled by so many things.” There’s just one thing that matters.
We just need to keep our eyes on Jesus. That’s the only way we should be working on being “present,” looking to Him and following Him as He leads us through our day, the way He kept His eyes on His Father and did what He saw the Father doing.
The prayer for the times of troubling are to give our cares to the Lord with thanksgiving. “Thank you, Lord, that you are in control and have good plans and watching over us and always caring for us. Thank you that we can always trust those things are true.” And when we’re just worrying ourselves when nothing is going on, our prayer can be something like Psalm 25:17, “The troubles of my heart are enlarged; deliver me out of all my distresses.”
Turning to Him is the answer each way. Looking to Him for deliverance and salvation is the answer each way. Thinking about Him because He is good is the answer each way.
When we say come to God just as you are, that you are welcome and accepted just as you are, that doesn’t mean all we have, are, do, identify, etc. are welcome and accepted in God’s presence. It’s that we, ourselves, are.
“Come just as you are” means you don’t have to change to be welcomed and accepted. No amount of self-help betterment is going to make you more accepted and welcome. It would leave you in the SAME state.
Come just as you are, accepted just as you are, welcomed just as you are, means birthday-suit you. You come to God with nothing to offer. You strip away anything you might think you have to offer. Good works? Filthy rags. You strip away your identities, diagnoses, money, degrees, relationships, plans for the future, all that happened in the past. It’s all left at the foot of the cross.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked shall I return.” (Job 1:21) When we’re born again, we’re naked. We have no identity or relationship other than our new life in Christ. Then we let Him build our new life from there.
When we say that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives, it’s not that goodness and mercy tail along, as if they are chasing us and never catch up. We live a life of God’s goodness and mercy all the time.
When it says it follows us, it means that we can look back, and what we see behind us is a trail of goodness and mercy. Every moment that could have been a memory of suffering is now a memory of God’s goodness and mercy. Everything that could be a memory of trial and struggle is now a memory of God’s goodness and mercy.
Our lives should be a story of God’s goodness and mercy because every moment of suffering, of trial, of tribulation is an opportunity for a miracle, an opportunity for deliverance, an opportunity for God’s goodness and mercy to shine brighter than the world around you.