Recently, I read the book Discerning the Voice of God, by Priscilla Shirer, about how sometimes you hear something many different ways and then realize that it isn't a coincidence. You are being given direction by a power much greater than yourself!
I'll start with the story of the tree in this picture. When we first got to Hawaii on our family vacation, I saw a few of these trees and thought, "wow, when you don't trim the branches and they wilt, it looks pretty cool." But, in actuality, my son learned from a local guide that those are roots that grow down from the tree branches to become a support for the branches as they grow too heavy to hold themselves up. Fascinating! Roots that grow downward from branches instead of starting in the ground and growing upwards.
Then, today, I got to church after flying home on the red-eye, and the message was about what happens after you pray and "Standing Firm." This service by Pastor Kareem Smith was one of the best I have ever heard. I would strongly encourage you to watch it. OK, back to my point...
Many times in life we pray, and then instead of waiting expectantly (Psalm 130:5), being still (Psalm 46:10), and being firm in our faith, we panic. We pray, but then we take the situation or issue right back and continue to worry. We don't allow God to be the roots under our branches, which are too heavy for us to carry alone. Mostly because we don't truly trust that God knows best and will show us the way.
Pastor Kareem gave the analogy of putting the situation or issue in an envelope and mailing it off to God once you pray. Then stand firm in your faith and praise God for his presence in your life.
Of course I am paraphrasing, but you get the point. When we pray and don't mail it off to God, we end up making hasty decisions out of fear. This often forfeits opportunities for God to be glorified in our circumstance, because we have rushed ahead of God.
We have no power to tackle all of life's circumstances and storms.
When we learn to mail that letter off to God, "be still, stand firm and stand up and praise God," as Pastor Kareem stated, and you will truly understand the peace of God. You will no longer be ruled by fear or doubt. He referenced the scriptures in 2 Chronicles 20:13-19; they are worth a quick read.
For me, the most impactful words from today's message were:
"One who has experienced the divine deliverance of God need not crack under a crisis."
"When God wants to do something delightful, it often springs from something that is difficult."
"When God wants to do something incredible, it often starts with an impossibility."
Back to the tree...once you have prayed, mailed it off to God, trust that HE, and HE alone, will sprout roots from your branches and give you the stability you need to make it through your situation. God is the power.
So...what do you do once you have prayed? Be Still. Stand Firm. Stand Up. Praise. Let God lead the way so that you can glorify Him.
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