On Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I recently chatted with friend and author, Anne Peterson. If you missed that episode, you can listen in here (How To Find Hope in the Midst of Grief – Episode 70.) Anne knows pain and loss. She experienced miscarriage, her sister being the victim of domestic violence and murder, the loss of two brothers within a short period of time, and the death of her 14-month old granddaughter to Trisomy 18 yet she still maintains her hope. Anne and I could have chatted for days. So I asked Anne to share more with you here about leaning into God when the world around you is shaky.
Read to the end for a two book giveaway!
Leaning Into God When the World Around You is Shaky
By Anne Peterson
Pandemic. Whoever thought we would all witness a pandemic here in our country? I can tell you I was caught off guard. And yet, with each passing day, as fears and the numbers of those infected rose, so did our fears. Things we took for granted became our concerns. Would we be able to shop for needed items? Could we keep our loved ones safe? Would it still be here tomorrow? How about next week?
We were told in scripture by Jesus himself that we would have trials in this world, but he also said we could be of good cheer because he had overcome the world (John 16:33).
None of us are really surprised when we go through various trials. We were told they would be a part of life. But this one, which is affecting not only our country but the world, is more than anyone could have expected. The truth is, we may have been surprised by what has been happening, but God was not surprised. In order to trust God, we have to remember who He is.
God is sovereign
We’re told that by Christ, all things were created in heaven and on earth. They were created through Him and for Him. And it is Christ that holds all things together (Colossians 1:16-17).
We’re reminded that we are but clay and God is the creator, and He alone has the right to do His will in the way He chooses (Isaiah 45:7-9).
Being sovereign means He is in control, and for the one who is a Christ follower, this gives us a sense of peace when things seem chaotic. Knowing that God who knows when even a sparrow falls, cares about the likes of you and me (Matthew 10:29).
We are told God is in control, but at times we choose to lean on our own understanding instead of leaning on Him, as we were instructed (Proverbs 3:5-6).
God cares about what we care about
I remember when I babysat my two grandson’s years ago. Charlie was about 3 and he had misplaced his McQueen car. And for those of you who have sons or grandsons, you know how valuable toy cars are. Charlie had looked just about everywhere to no avail.
Finally, he came to me dishearten and said, “Gwamma, I lost my McQueen car and I don’t think I’ll ever find it again.”
“Did you pray about it, Charlie?” I asked.
And so we stopped and prayed.
A while later, I found his beloved car and approached him with a smile on my face.
“Guess why Grandma is smiling, Charlie?”
“Because you love us?” he asked.
“Well, I do love you, but that’s not why I’m smiling.”
“Because you’re happy?” he tried again.
Just then Jude, his older brother, saw what I was holding behind my back, and whispered to Charlie.
“You found McQueen!!” Charlie said with joy.
“God answered our prayers, Charlie,” I reminded him.
“First, my McQueen was “losted,” and now it’s found,” he said with the widest grin imaginable.
I knew prayer was the answer because God has continually shown me that He cares about what we care about. Even little toy cars.
God is pleased with our faith
From the time we first learn about God, we learn how important faith is. Scripture tells us without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). In order for us to lean on God we need to put our trust in Him, no matter how things may look. Faith is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Leaning into God means we trust who God is—truths we learn in scripture about His character. We don’t think like God because our thoughts are finite while God’s thoughts are infinite. Our thoughts are not like God’s thoughts, and neither are our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
While we don’t think like our heavenly Father, sometimes we try to figure out what He’s doing, which is fruitless. For God’s judgments are unsearchable and His ways are past finding out (Romans 11:33).
God loves us
One of the first things we learn about God is how loving He is. God loves us so much He gave us His own precious Son (John 3:16). In fact, no one has ever given us so great a gift as Jesus (Romans 8:32). And yet, the God of the universe did just that (1 John 4: 9-10).
God provides for us
Paul reminds us that God will provide everything we need (Philippians 4:19). One of God’s names is Jehovah Jireh, which means the Lord will provide, not the Lord might provide.
Even David knew this as a young boy facing the giant Goliath. David bravely faced the giant, not in his own strength, but with the confidence that the same God who helped him fight a lion and a bear would also help him face the Philistine (1Samuel 17:37).
Once a little girl stood up to recite the 23rd Psalm. She stood and said, “The Lord is my shepherd, and that’s all I want.”
God comforts us
God is the God of all comfort. And He comforts us so we can pass that comfort onto others when they are hurting (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). I’m sure you have felt God’s comfort. I have when I’ve lost many loved ones. When my heart broke into a hundred pieces, God was there to comfort me. As I stood on my granddaughter’s grave, I felt loss, but I also felt God’s comfort. I know that one day I will see my little granddaughter, Livie, again in heaven. And then, she will be completely healed of Trisomy 18. God comforts us like no one else can.
God will never leave us
One of the most wonderful promises God makes to us is that He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5).
When Jesus was on the cross, bearing our sins, Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). God turned away from his Son when Jesus bore our sins. But God gives us the wonderful promise that He will never forsake us. It’s a promise that brings great comfort when things around us are shaky.
God gives us rest
God will give us sweet sleep (Proverbs 3:24). We can ask God for that wonderful sleep when our minds won’t turn off because of worry. Sleep that will rest both our minds and our bodies. I like to think of the story of Jesus who slept in the boat as a storm began (Mark 4:38-40). We have the same Father that Jesus has. And if He could sleep with the storm going on all around Him, so can we.
God gives us peace
No matter what is going on around us, God can give us peace when we quiet ourselves and remember who God is (Isaiah 26:3).
To know God is God, we need to be still (Psalm 46:10). And though the world around us is spinning, God can enable us to just focus on Him. God would never ask us to do something he didn’t empower us to do.
God gives us hope
God tells us, after we have suffered a while, that He will restore us and make us strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
We can renew our strength when our hope is in God (Isaiah 40:31). We don’t have to trust in anyone else but in God.
Jeremiah 29:11 assures us that God has plans for us. Plans to prosper us and not harm us. Plans that will give us a hope and a future.
God is called the God of hope in Romans 15:13. And Paul asks that God will fill us with joy and peace as we trust in God, so that our hope will overflow. Can you get that picture in your mind? Here we are in trying times, but we have this overflowing of hope that will be visible to others. Others who may not know Him.
Romans 8:28 is a promise that God will work all things together for good. All things. Even that impossible thing you’re facing right now.
A Prayer for today: Trusting in God When the World is Shaky
Father, God, we need you. You are our rock. Our deliverer. Lord, give us wisdom as we are here today in this world. Help us to remember we are not alone. Help us as we learn how to lean on you instead of leaning on our own understanding. Give us compassion for others. Lord. Protect us. Guide us. Direct us. And have mercy on our country and the world. Father, we love you. And we pray all this in the name of your precious and Holy Son. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
How do you lean into God when the world around you is shaky? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
About Anne Peterson
Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God’s Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published books entitled He Whispers: Poetic Talks With God. Sign up for Anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab.
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview How To Find Hope in the Midst of Grief – Episode 70, Anne Peterson is giving away two free copies of her book, Always There: Finding God’s Comfort Through Loss.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you’ve learned about trusting God when the world is shaking around you and you will be entered into the contest. Two winners will be chosen for the book.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, August 24, 2020, here on this post. Continental United States only.
(If there are affiliate links in this post, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you)).