Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 94:19,22 – In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. But the Lord has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge. (NKJV)
Dust, dust, and more dust! This was on day one of an eight-day renovation project. I was surrounded by plaster dust, pieces of drywall that had been cut to fit the size of the ceiling, and bits of cardboard that had peeled from the drywall. I stood immobilized. A contractor working on my bathroom must have seen the look of despondency and confusion on my face as I stood with a broom and dustpan in hand, ineffectively moving from one spot to another to gather bits of debris. "Oh dear," he said, patting me on the back, "Just think about how nice it will look when it is done."
Concentrate on when it's done, I thought. Sure, if I survive this, that will be great. At that moment, I felt so completely overwhelmed that I wanted nothing more than to sit down and cry — except that there was no spot available where I could do that without being covered in plaster dust! That was when the drywall contractor zoomed past me and said, "Oh, this is nothing. It will get much worse!" Lovely, I thought. I hope I survive this week. I sat on my pity pot for a little while, then I gave my head a shake and told myself, Smarten up. No one is sick. No one has died. This is just a mess. Just pick a spot and start sweeping.
Of course, that day, I hadn't made my devotional time a priority. Nevertheless, I got through that day, and the next day, thankfully, was a bit better. I began day two with a search for Bible verses containing the word "anxious". I found:
Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (NKJV)
Then, I pulled up our Daily Devotional that was so helpful. I wrote to the author, "I think you must have crawled into my head!!! This devotional is exactly what I needed today." I think that my attitude and the reminder that God is in control had a lot to do with my perception that the mess wasn't as bad.
As I continued my devotional time, I came upon this:
Isaiah 65:1a,2a – I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, "Here I am, here I am." I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people. (NKJV)
Yikes! I thought. Okay, I hear You, Lord.
Well, the saga of my renovations continues. They, and the mess, will continue for some weeks yet to come. My "one-week" bathroom reno has now entered week four, and there are numerous other renovations still in progress and other components not yet begun. Each time, another mess is created, I really try to turn to Scripture and prayer to help get me through the turmoil.
Situations that create "messes" in our lives will continue to make us feel stressed, for we don't like our orderly little world to be upset either physically or figuratively. In situations like this, remember that the more that we focus on our issues, the bigger that these issues become and the less that we see of God and His plan for us. No matter how well we prepare and plan, reality unfolds very differently. This is a good reminder that God is the One in control. We can control very little that occurs in our lives, but we can control our reactions. So, here's my choice: do I want to worry through this alone or reach out to God for strength? Even when we are not listening, God calls us to lay our burdens at His feet. Remember that He with us always and that He will provide for all our needs.
Prayer: Dear Lord, in all the physical and psychological renovations of our lives, we thank You for standing beside us and giving us strength, even when we do not call to You. Thank You for Your patience when we get upset over things that, in the long run, will be inconsequential. Grant us humility when we think that our plans have gone awry. Amen.