Sometimes, when my heart pounds fast in troubling situations, I give in to feelings I’m not proud of. Sometimes, before I think to pray, I’ve already stared at that mountain of trouble for way too long. I may even forget to consider what God said in His word before I either act or speak in haste. Other times, I may avoid the situation completely. My shoulders may slump in defeat, or the temperature within my face may rise up my neck, tingle my cheeks, and glisten on my scalp before I remember to take a deep breath and pray. It’s sad because I know better.
John 18:3-9 says, “So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth, “ they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
“I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go. This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
We may feel betrayed, surrounded and defeated in our trouble, but the good news–our “I AM,” isn’t willing to lose any one of us. I’m amazed God still remains willing to reaffirm who He is to people like me. By His grace, we may witness this fact by reading His word every single day and still thank God while He may be found. Instead of forcing us, God waits for us to come, ask, then receive what only He can give. While not an even exchange in the least, God trades our need for His victory because He loves us! Once again in His grace, God remains able and willing to make every one of our troubles fall back in defeat by declaring over every one–“I AM.”
Where does my confidence come from that He will do this? From Biblical accounts and from what I’ve noticed Him defeat through answered prayer in my own life and the lives of others. I’ve witnessed–
- The humbling and silencing of bullies young and old.
- The healing of illnesses large and small.
- The yearly provision of monies for a large missionary family.
- A man pay off an acquaintance’s large debt without asking.
- Those plagued by dark thoughts and behaviors become free.
- Addictions overcome and families restored.
Even if it takes a lifetime of waiting, as we pray, I know He will speak “I AM,” over our need. His answers may not look like what we hope for, or fit our timeline, but God will speak. What a great exercise and test of our faith to pray and witness the darkness fall as God wills! Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” Do you want God to commend you for your faith? I know I’ve stated this verse before and it bears repeating in this blog also. We may have assurance–God wants us to grow in our faith, God will answer our prayers, and God never changes. God loves His children and God will continue to show us how much.
However, the opposite remains true also. When we don’t approach Him humbly with our every request, it’s like we are disconnected. We lose valuable time in the race marked out for us. Disconnection from God and others leads us off track to nowhere pleasant. Pride, fear, blame, anger, disunity, blindness, and confusion are a few destinations waiting for us. He wants us to stay in the race! Listen, I know this isn’t easy to hear or apply. We are all responsible to either seek God in prayer first or avoid Him, bearing the bitter consequences. Let’s never forget–God hasn’t changed, He has a plan for us, and He still takes our relationship with Him and others seriously.
If you’re staring up at your mountain now or bowed low in the waiting, He wants to speak over your life today. Ask Him and leave your needs at His feet in faith. He will speak, “I AM,” over them! Just remember dear one, take notice when your mountain of trouble does fall before your very eyes and don’t forget to thank God when He answers your prayers.
What do you do when trouble greets you?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”