Trusting In the LORD When Things Get Scary

I was reading Isaiah 30 this morning, and a verse stuck out to me. Before this, God is rebuking Judah for trying to seek Egypt for help in the coming attack from the Assyrians instead of seeking help from Him. Verses 15-18 say this:

“For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you were unwilling, (16) and you said, ‘No! We will flee upon horses’; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds’; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. (17) A thousan shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. (18) Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for Him.” (Isaiah 30:15-18)

The people of Judah were being driven by fear. The Lord was waiting to deliver them— all they had to do was trust Him, and they didn’t. They decided to flee on swift horses, and therefore their pursuers were swift. In the heat of battle, the people of Judah made a critical mistake— they didn’t trust in the Lord, the Almighty God who created the universe and everything in it. They gave in to fear, and fled when God was ready and willing to save them. It didn’t end well for them.

We can use the people of Judah as an example. In our lives, we fight plenty of battles. As bombs burst around us, and bursts of gunfire tear through the air, the Lord has one request— to trust Him and His power. In returning and rest shall we be saved, and in quietness and in trust shall be our strength. The Lord is ready and willing to rescue us, to save us from our supernatural Enemy (Satan). Also in my Bible reading today was this verse from Ephesians:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,  against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:12-13)

In our battle with the devil, we can’t find unintelligently. War isn’t won by accident. We must put on the Armor of God (see Ephesians 6:14-17) in order to withstand the attack.

We can’t lose faith in the Lord just because it looks scary; just because it appears that our Adversary has more power. The devil has already been defeated at the Cross, and he only has the amount of power that you allow him to have. When things in this life get scary, and when we can hear the sounds of battle around us, we must trust in Him. On that day, we will be saved in returning and rest, and our strength will be in quietness and trust. God’s got this. Don’t let fear be your defeat in the heat of battle.

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It’s Not About the Destination— It’s About the Journey

Can we apply rules of good storytelling to how we live our lives?

Think about it. You've seen it a thousand times in the movies— somebody's living a boring, normal life until something happens that calls them on a great adventure that changes their lives forever. That's the beginning of most stories we humans have ever told— normalcy, call to adventure, character development. It's a great basis for a story, which is why we use it for every one of 'em we tell. 

Except for our lives. 

The most important story we tell is the story of our lives. Yet, in life, we don't tell the best story we can. We settle for staleness and ignore the story God has called us to. He's got a grand adventure planned for us, but we'd rather just sit around and eat Doritos. 

Where is this all coming from? I read a book recently that changed how I think about life— Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In the book, Miller shares the lessons he learned while turning his life story into a movie. It's a great read, and throughout the book he teaches principles of storytelling and tells us how we can implement them in our life story. After reading the book, I began to think. When was the last time I answered a call to adventure? When was the last time I got out of my comfort zone? I shocked myself when I realized that it had been a very long time. Like seriously, I couldn't remember the last time I'd done it. It startled me. So, I began to think, 'What adventure does God have planned for me? Why am I ignoring the call?" 

Think about Finding Nemo. It's one of my favorite films, but think about how boring the story would have been had Marlin just given up after Nemo was taken. The whole movie is Marlin being forced out of his comfort zone. When he finds Nemo and returns home, he's changed forever. He's no longer constantly in fear and worry, and he no longer wants to hinder Nemo and keep him inside. If he'd never gone out in search of Nemo, he'd never have changed. He'd still be the same character. 

The journey is a time of refining and change. Going on the adventure God has planned for us won't leave us the same once we come out on the other side. If we live without changing or without undergoing character development, we're not living a great story. 

In our lives, we need to get out there and live. We need to continue using our brains and following our morals, yes, but we need to start living great stories. 

Here comes the challenge. I took it upon myself to make a list of fun little adventures I'd like to go on. Not a bucket list. That's too confining. Once this list is complete, I want to start another one. I picked 24 items (you don't have to do that many), including poke a live fish, grow a beard, play bagpipes, learn to juggle, and many more. 

Start an adventure list to start tackling with your loved ones. Make some memories you'll regale others with around the fire twenty years from now. As stated in the movie Up,  "Adventure is out there!" Go find it. Go grow as a character. But still use your brain and your better judgement. God's calling for you probably isn't to die like that hairy El Macho guy from the second Despicable Me movie.