Over the past few days I have made the statement more than once that it seems like we went to bed and woke up in a world that we do not know how to navigate. It seems that each day that becomes more and more true. I don’t know about you but I have never lived through a pandemic before. So, Yeah things are a bit strange. The year 2020 has been nothing short of strange though…I mean really. It started out with all these great phrases like “twenty twenty vision in twenty twenty”, and all of that eluded to perfect vision and seeing things clearly, then the year really started and around here we had RAIN RAIN AND MORE RAIN…and most places around here are not equipped for that kind of rain, to the point where school was cancelled because of rain. We had a freak snow day that we had ALOT of snow that put a halt to entire morning but by 2:00 it was gone. We have seen tornados and now this a literal pandemic. I don’t know about you but 2020 is three months in and I have been scratching my head some. So tonight after another long and “seemingly” strange day, I was trying to go to sleep and something just kept plaguing me. Twenty Twenty vision was the theme for the year…we all said it don’t pretend like you didn’t at least think about saying it at some point this year or coming into it. Anyway….its been said and I think that some of us have gotten off track with that because well with all that seems so dark and so bad it doesn’t seem like perfect vision, everything seems less than perfect and although I would have to agree with you that things do not appear to be going great for 2020 there are some things I would like to point out…I would like to point out that 20/20 vision is something that YOU have, it is a perspective in which you see out of. This is not something that someone else sees for you, this is something that YOU SEE! Things do not appear to look so great…as a matter of fact that they pretty grim for some. Fear, panic, anxiety and for some real loss as I know that some have lost people in the rain storms, the tornados, and now the pandemic, but that doesn’t have to change where our perspective or our vision comes from. Its okay right now to doubt that I know what I am talking about (for the record there is another point coming that points out that we should be making friends not enemies right now). It truly is like there is a darkness, a cloud, a shadow, a fog…and we are somewhat fumbling in the unknown, but there is one thing that I am absolutely sure of…and that is…That I serve a God that is all light…there is no darkness in Him, none whatsoever. That tells me something, that tells me that I have a choice, I have a choice to see the world as dark, cold, shadow’ish, and under a thick fog or I can see from the perspective of hope, light, love, connection, and truth. So you see this 20/20 vision thing can still be a reality, we just need to look at it from a different angle. I absolutely hate it for anyone that has lost someone at any point in their life, but what I hate more is when people have lost people and still refuse or can not see the light. When they live in an eternal state of darkness because of their loss. I hate when people live in eternal state of darkness based on their circumstances. Right now circumstances say we should be scared, they say we should panic, things are closing, futures look uncertain-those are very real things going on. So, let me ask this, Where is your hope?, Where is your trust?, Where is your faith?. Those are real questions, If your hope has been placed in people, places, or things- you probably feel very nervous and maybe even let down, same with trust and same with faith. Anything built on shifty sands of this earth will be washed away my friend, and when storms come (and they will come) you will be shaken to your core. So what is left when you are shaken to your core? What shakes out? What comes out is What you really have faith, hope, and trust in! Don’t believe me? Do you feel let down? Do you feel anxious? Do you feel nervous? Are you angry at someone because they failed you? Let me tell you, those are not God given things! God did not give you a spirit of fear-not even a little! “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” (Matthew 8:26 NLT) Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat, with some of the synonyms being anxiety, unrest, timidity, and doubt. Those are ALL emotions/thoughts that scripture can rain down on and be brought captive. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made in perfect love” 1 John 4:18, So PERFECT LOVE drives out fear its like fear is darkness and love is light, love pushes it out (How you ask…Glad you ask….) God is love, God loves you- God is Good and you can and should trust Him. He is perfect love and His love in you and for you drives out the fear. Just bear with me on this–“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control 2 Timothy 1:7 God in His love for you gave you not a spirit of timidity or cowardice-He has given you a spirit of power, love (there is that love again-that love that drives out fear), calm, well balanced mind, self discipline and self-control! Those sound completely opposite of fear! “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31, How amazing is that?! If you hope in the Lord will renew their strength- The NLT says it this way “but those who trust in the Lord will find new strength”, I think this is quite interesting, I will say this either way “will renew their strength or “find new strength”, it doesn’t say that “he will renew or give them new” it says “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” or “those who trust in the Lord will find new strength”, it puts some responsibility on me, I trust, I hope and I will find new or I will be renewed. Just one chapter over Isaiah 41:10, He says “Don’t be afraid , for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” Again, Do not be afraid, Do Not be discouraged! He tells me what to do or what not to do BEFORE He tells me what is going to happen! Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding ill guard our hearts and your minds in Chris Jesus.” AGAIN, He tells me what to do and what not to do first, then He tells me what will happen. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gently and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30, If I will go to Him! If I will take His yoke and learn from Him.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since members of one body you were called to peace. AND BE THANKFUL. Colossians 3:15
Now my the Lord of peace Himself give you a peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken Psalm 55:22
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast ALL your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:6-8, Darling don’t you know that the enemy is constantly looking for somewhere to attack your faith. He is just waiting for you to doubt God’s love, kindness, or goodness and then he pounces like the hunter that has stalked his prey and awaited just the right moment for them to take the bait. Be alert be of sober mind- don’t let your mind get clouded with doubts, fears, or anxieties. God cares for you!
So by now you have to be thinking “Heather why in the world are you reminding me of all the scripture memory verses I learned in Sunday school all those years ago…we all know these scriptures. We know he told us not to worry that He takes care of the birds, that He will do much more for us. I hear your question…I have a couple of them for you…
Did you learn them? Did they penetrate your heart? Were they just something you learned to get another gold star on the board, or have they become life to you? Beloved, if they didn’t become life to you, they better! Times of uncertainty, times that we have never seem are a good indicator of what our vision looks like, what we really believe…this is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. This is where you “count It all joy” this is where you “find whatever circumstance you are in to be content”. This is where you choose love, kindness, and peace over whatever feeling or emotion the world or the enemy is trying to entice you with. This is the moment where you find out where your house is truly built and my dear, I hope you find that it is built on The one true ROCK! BUT, if it is not I have the best news ever! It still can be! You have that opportunity…You remember that God I was talking about, when I said He is good and He is love. He is, And if you have built your house on the shifty sands of this earth, you can still turn to Him and place all your trust in HIM, and have the peace that surpasses ALL understanding. Now, what I want to tell you is this, just because you turn and build that house on that solid foundation right now it does not mean that everything is going to be butterflies and rainbows outside the four walls of your home, what it does mean is what is on the outside can not touch what is on the inside! It means that in the midst of the chaos, darkness, and shadows on the outside that you are calm and you have peace on the inside, you have a kingdom reality of peace living on the inside of you AND with that you will have the opportunity to go outside your four walls and start flipping chaos right-side up. You will carry peace and joy and you will be able to distribute to every person you come in contact with and as you do that you will be able to change your world and start effectively brining Kingdom changes and a Kingdom reality to your community. You have to start with your vision with your perspective! It has to begin in YOU, and then flow from you! You can have JOY, You Can have Peace and You can give those things away once you have them, once you get them from your loving good father! I can not control what tomorrow will bring and neither can you but what you can control is You and how you respond to what is going on around you. If you are a Christian and you have done more than just memorize those scriptures to get your gold star then you carry something great, something that changes your internal reality and once you realize that then you can change other peoples internal reality and thereby changing your world. You can find joy in the ashes, He says he will give you beauty for ashes, SURE but what if you are waiting around for Him to do something He has already done and you are just not looking at it. What if you are still sitting in the ashes praying for change and He is saying “I am here and you have not been forsaken, what are you waiting for! I have given you everything you are just not taking hold of it as a citizen of heaven”
What if what you are looking for is already inside you and you just can’t look past your current circumstance to see the beauty, see the joy, see the peace, see the love, see the goodness of God in it. Please understand, I have seen my share of unanswered petitions, death that I couldn’t explain, and pain that at the moment seemed unimaginable…what I learned in that was that beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning is sometimes less of an earthquake of God and more of a perspective shift of Heather. It is more of this world isn’t about me, I have been given so much by my God, so much love, so much peace, so much kindness, its there for the taking. He is good and He is in control, He is truth and He never fails. Even when life look like it is failing, He isn’t! He never fails and I will with every fiber of my being and every single breath in my trust His unfailing love…and in that it frees me up to live a life that is unto Him, for Him…outside of me and for others. My perspective on 20/20 vision becomes less about things looking perfect the way my fleshly, earthly eyes would see it and more about Heaven perspective and Gods unfailing love and goodness and choosing to see Him in everything. Choosing Him, allowing Him to choose me and in that live in a way that give me a chance to give to others ALL that He has given to me and that brings immense Joy, especially in times that people are trying to navigate uncharted waters, on a boat they’ve never been on, in the fog at midnight! I have something to offer, something eternal, something real, something tangible, something UNFAILING! Someone UNFAILING! So all is not lost for our amazing catchphrase of 2020, we can still have 20/20 we just need to choose differently. We need to see God, we need to see people, we need to find the beauty of the moment. We need to be a people of God, a people that know God and will trust Him, and show others the breath of fresh air that is trusting ourselves to a trustworthy God.
Why are you afraid? You have so little faith- Matthew 8:26
Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith- Mark 4:40
“Don’t be afraid. Just have Faith” Mark 5:36
Faith-Complete trust or confidence in someone or something Synonyms: hope, expectation, confidence, trust, belief….
Don’t be anxious, just have expectation. You have expected things to come, You have waited on an event, or a package, or a holiday you expected that it would come! You believed it! Believe your God! Have Faith…Have MORE faith in your God than you do that chair you are about to sit in it was made by a man in a factory, a man that could forget a screw, your God knows every hair on your head, have more faith in God than the coke machine you put your money in and then put your hand at the dispenser, it was made by a man in a factory who could have mis-programmed it, but Your God knows your name, have more faith in your God than you do the electric sliding door at Walmart that you NEVER put your hand out in front or beside you to catch it you expect it to open and shut correctly and it was made by a man in a factory and it could wear out over time and simply fail, but YOUR GOD KNEW YOU BEFORE YOU WERE FORMED IN YOUR MOTHERS WOMB!
Don’t doubt Him, Don’t doubt His timing Beloved…He is perfect!
SO….I ask again Why are you afraid?