Deal with God First – Ann Spangler, Christianity.com Blogs

Deal with God First – Ann Spangler, Christianity.com Blogs

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It is so easy to forget how God has already helped you by focusing on the difficulties you are facing. Take the current pandemic. I am sometimes tempted to believe that circumstances are too unsolvable for God to deal with. Instead of calming my fears and giving myself some control by being better informed, the more news I consume, the less peace I seem to have. I can forget that God is still faithful and that the future is still good. When I put myself and my problems at the center of the universe, I forget who the real hero of the story is. Maybe you do that too.

Relentless stress like the one most of us are experiencing now can either push you to or away from God. Saint Paul advised early Christians to do something simple to experience more peace in their lives. "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right," he advised, "whatever is pure, whatever is beautiful, whatever is admirable – if something is excellent and commendable – think Such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of Peace will be with you. "(Philippians 4: 8-9)

I forget Paul's advice too often. Instead, I'm fixated on what is threatening, what is difficult, what is miserable, what annoys me – when something is broken or bad – I think about such things. No wonder that the god of peace seems to be far away in such times. Instead of being distracted by our difficulties, we need to focus on God and what He has already promised.

When Moses sent twelve men to explore the land of Canaan, only two came back with a positive report. All twelve had seen exactly the same thing, but they came back with completely different interpretations. Joshua and Caleb could hardly wait for Moses to lead people to a land where milk and honey flowed. Yes, the Canaanites were powerful and their cities were large and well fortified, but these two men were confident that God would put their enemies in their hands. In contrast, the other ten scouts were fixated on the obstacles and described the residents of Canaan as giants compared to whom they were just locusts. According to them, the Israelites would be devoured if they tried to enter this country.

What would you have done in such a situation? I could have listened to the ten "sensible" men whose observations seemed to offer a large dose of common sense. After all, these Canaanites were great guys. Their cities looked impregnable. But this apparently reasonable attitude was completely wrong because these ten men couldn't incorporate God into their narrative and doubted that he could keep his promise.

We all face many difficulties in our lives. At such times, we cannot afford to entertain peace-destroying thoughts and beliefs that take our eyes off Jesus. If we exercise our imagination negatively, it will inevitably steal our peace and make us anxious, frustrated, and depressed. If we develop a pattern of negative thinking, we also risk becoming "practical atheists", people who call themselves Christians even though they think and act like atheists.

Instead of forgetting, we need to remember who God is and what He has already done for us, and believe that He knows everything we go through, everything we face. We have to remember how great God is, how capable and controlled He is. When we do that, we can relax and entrust all the big and small things to his loving care.

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