Turning to God in the face of Unknowns

The heaviness of unknowns lurk into the next season and it’s weighty. Many of us feel the same weight. As Covid-19 progresses, or stays the same, the unknowns in how to walk it out remains. Some of us are sending our kids to school in fear. Some of us have big life changes looming with fear. All are valid fears. But then I heard of a life near to us that was on the line. The weight of surviving life or death became much more desperate in terms of unknowns. For me, it brought into perspective of how little we know about the trajectory of our lives.

This is what we train for: to have faith despite the unknowns we face on earth. Since earth is temporary to our eternal home in heaven. So, instead of stressing over the unknowns we must think about what we do know. Christ in us for us.

Unbelief into Belief

In Mark chapter nine, a father brings his demon possessed son to Jesus. Asking him, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “if you can?! All things are possible for one who believes.” Then the boy’s father confesses to Jesus that he has some faith but acknowledges that he is spiritually weak. Then he appealed to Jesus to create in him a heart that believes more firmly. He said,Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” And Jesus healed his son who had an unclean spirit (Mark 9:14-29).

Pursuing life faithfully is a mental battle we must prepare for everyday. Scripture is not just a book with cool stories, its a life line of hope. We learn from the boy’s father who knew Jesus was the Messiah but not sure if he could heal his boy. It’s the half truth we have of Jesus. Yes, I know you’re good God – but I don’t trust you. Without scripture we become lost in our knowledge and understanding of God. Thus, the only way to overcome our anxiety is through fellowship with God by prayer and reading His Word.

Fear into Faith

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:6

Every morning I wake up and grab my journal and my Bible. I start my day writing out my prayers, making my requests known to God. I end my prayer with thanksgiving, because I acknowledge and remind myself who it is I am praying to. The Almighty God who was, is, and is to come. The same God who spoke directly to Moses guiding the Israelite’s to the promised land (despite their constant sin and setbacks). The same God who sent Jesus to die for me and bore my sins. I am praying to the God who formed me in my mothers womb. Who knows me better than I know myself. I pray because it turns my fear of unknowns into faith of being known by God.

Unknowns into Known

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

A big part of releasing my anxious thoughts and feelings is through prayer. The peace that comes upon me after I pray is a reassurance that God is with me. He guards my heart and mind like a solider guarding his own territory. As Christians, we can entrust all our unknowns and difficulties to the Lord, who rules over all creation and who is wise and loving in all His ways (Romans 8:31-39). Therefore, having an attitude of prayer and thanksgiving contributes directly to inward peace.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Suffering into Strength

There is no doubt that we will suffer and struggle in our faith because we are up against an enemy that is unseen, but seeks to devour our joy in Christ. Causing a heightened anxiety in us because we are fighting between two voices. A voice elevating our pride to worry and another voice humbling us to submit and pray. We must learn how God speaks to discern what is true.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:6-11

In midst of your unknowns on earth,
recite and believe what you know in Christ!

Repositioned

In a team sport or in the workplace when you get repositioned it can be hard to accept. Especially, if you have been in that position for most of your career. Then all of a sudden with the new team, coach or boss you’ve been called to a new role. “But that’s not me!” “I don’t know how to lead that way!” “I am not comfortable…” However, the authority is not yours to choose.

When you give Jesus the authority over your life you are repositioned “with Christ in God” (Col 3:3).  Scripture says you have become a new creation, “the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Repositioned from death to life, becoming “born again” (John 3:6-7, 1 Peter 1:2-4, Eph 2:5-6).

I had a dream. (MOST dreams are exaggerated pictures of your current reality and emotional state that have hidden symbols/messages meaningful specifically to you. God uses dreams to communicate with us).  In my dream I was passing by a rowing team practicing on the sand.  I approached one rowboat and the coach said to me, “sit up front”, (where the team leader sits).  I looked back and saw all the rowers on the boat and asked the coach, “shouldn’t I be back there rowing with them, I have a strong build”.  The coach replied, “I have bigger girls than you back there, you stay up front”.  So nervously (with excitement) I did so without knowing how.  She explained to me how to direct and lead the boat with my legs crossing over from one to the other.  Then she said, “You’re ready!” And I looked at her and replied, “This is going to be intense”.

Dream over.

As we repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).  The Holy Spirit becomes our spiritual guide.  He acts as our coach who directs and counsels us to live like Jesus (John 14:25-26, 15:26); and how did Jesus live? He led.  In my dream I told the coach, “shouldn’t I be back there with the others? I have a strong build!” But the coach said, “I have bigger girls than you back there, you stay up front!” Where I was more comfortable to lead, there was no room, the position was already (perfectly) filled. It was up front where she needed me. When you become a Christian, Jesus doesn’t just reposition you, He calls you to the frontlines – he makes a leader out of you! In my dream, I naturally saw that I was strong enough to help where I knew I could. But when God calls you he sees much greater things in you than you do in yourself (Romans 8:17, 37). Sometimes the call on our lives is greater in HIS eyes than our own. We must seek him in order to supernaturally see it.  Another part of that conversation I had with the coach meant not one role is better than the other. We as Christians are unified in Christ – we are all part of ONE Body but make up many parts (Romans 12:3-8).  Your part in leadership can evolve, change as you grow in Christ. Perhaps, I was once better “rowing with the rest of them” now God is calling me to lead up front.

Where is God calling you to lead? Where have you been stuck feeling too comfortable and God is saying, “hey I already have leaders there, I need you over here…”  Perhaps you have been a Christian your whole life, decades of waking in faith, but are feeling stagnant.  In my dream the coach explains in order to lead the boat I needed to “cross over” with my legs. (Sometimes depicting symbols in dreams, God uses “play on words” to help us discover more of the message.) Where in your life have you felt God asking you to cross over into a new position? Regardless of the position God gives you, it takes training and belief that He can do it through you.   Rowboats obviously race on the water, but in my dream it was on the sand. So the interpretation meant the team was in “dry-land” training. In sports, there are “dry-land” seasons (also known as “pre-seasons”) before the competition season starts.  In these seasons the athletes work on their weaknesses, such as increasing strength, skill or team chemistry, so when competition starts they are at their best.

Just like being a follower of Jesus, we must always be in “dry-land” training or “pre-season”, getting trained up in the Word of God. So when “season” hits – or “life gets in the way” we are ready.

Matthew 7:24-29  (NIV)

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Pursue your leadership daily with Godly training, aka-studying scripture. Being built up with the Word of God, so you may lack nothing and persevere through the intensity of being repositioned to lead as Jesus led (James 1:4).

Weakness In The Way

Understanding how to manage your weaknesses will help you to learn how to manage and elevate your strengths. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses, they come as a unique package, you cannot have one without the other. Which means we must not focus on only one but have an understanding of both.

The interviewer asks, “What are your strength and what are your weaknesses?” Not, “do you have any weaknesses…?” It is already assumed that every person has them. The question is then, how can I help you in achieving your strength’s despite your weaknesses in this job role? It is inevitable that you are going to have weak areas about you that hold you back from being your best. What are they so I can be of best assistance to you?

Imagine for a moment that God is the interviewer, except instead of asking you, “what are your weaknesses?” He tells you what they are.

Not to discourage you but to encourage you that even with your weaknesses He can be of best assistance for and through you. But first you must know what they are.

Benefits of knowing your weakness is so you can avoid the element of surprise when they arise. For example, the element of surprise may come in a form of anxiety, and without knowledge or time to process why that feeling arose it can spiral to a panic attack. The goal is to not let the weaknesses hold you back from moving forward. The goal is to acknowledge their existence to better manage their feelings.

I want to encourage you that you are not defined by your weakness, but by your ability to manage them for strength. Seek God in question: “What are my weaknesses that keep me from elevating my strengths?” “Show me how YOU can assist me in my weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NIV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This is how we manage our weakness; we replace its power with God’s grace through prayer and submission. The focus does not shift on your own power but on the power of the cross. Your weakness is not a set back – it’s a breakthrough; an opportunity to glorify God.