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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.

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About the author:

Orlanda Drebit <>
Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks, Orlanda, for the encouraging word.

    So true !! Thank you for putting it in a devotional. Especially meaningful as the pressure to fill our days with Christmas busyness and forget the reason for the season.

    I am going through a very stressful time so this devotional was right on target for me.

    Dear Orlanda,
    I hope you have used, and will use, a dust-mask over your nose and mouth to keep your respiratory system clear of the particles in the air.
    May God help you to cope.

    Thank you for your devotional today! My business and income is suffering at the moment and I am finding myself personally and financially stressed. Your words and the words of Matthew 6:34 certainly were what I needed to read this morning.
    God Bless!

    Dear Orlanda
    Hopefully your renovations are finally completed. It is true what you say about focus. If we focus on our present situation and dwell on it, it will eventually overtake and try to destroy us, if we don’t trust God. Thank you for the reminder.

    Dear Orlanda,
    I feel for you and know exactly what you are going through! We renovated an old farmhouse starting in the third floor and working down. I ate plaster dust for 4 years, carried groceries to the third floor and laundry down to the first floor through a doorway with a pipe in the middle of it!
    You can at least drive to the ocean to reflect on God’s glories.

    Thank you, Orlanda, for sharing your experience of coping wit renovations. I, too, have a hard time with a ‘messy, dusty house’! Sometimes I wonder if God feels the same way when he looks at me.
    Think how lovely your place will be when the contractors are done, as I think of how much nicer I will be when God is finished working on me.
    Keep the faith!

    I thought, eight days? Is that all? Try six years!
    Then, when it’s finished, move to another house and start again!
    Yes, it’s the story of my life, Orlanda! We do all the work ourselves. And it always takes longer and costs more than we expected!
    You’re probably asking why? I ask myself that all the time!
    I feel for you, I really do. My prayers are with you.
    And you will love it when it’s done!

    Dear Orlanda,
    Thank you for your devotional. I particularly related to your comment “God is the One in control”.
    Some months ago, I was distressed concerning the unfair treatment of a missionary that I was unable to correct. My son said to me “Dad, settle down. God is in control and He knows what He is doing.”
    This past March my son lost his wife. This was just months after we buried his mother. His Mother’s death was expected but his wife’s passing was a real test of our faith.
    It was my turn to say to my son – “God is in control and He knows what He is doing.” We are both grateful that God is faithful amidst all of life’s perplexing occurrences.
    Thanks again,
    (Ontario, Canada)

    My dear, you hit the nail on the head! I have been going through the same thing here. We started in May, and we have still not finished. We live in a house that is well over a150 yrs old and there is sooo much to do. I am a bit of a neat freak so it has been very difficult. BUT God IS in control. and it will get done, eventually. (we are doing most of it on our own so I guess I must live with a longer time line.)
    In the meantime God is also working his renos in me. Also not easy, but so worth the wait!! I learned yesterday that God enjoys watching us in our everyday life…doing everyday things. I have always felt guilty for not spending all my time in prayer and worship. Life gets in the way… but realizing that He delights in me living, well that just sort of blew me away, relieved me of so much stress… liberated me! I can enjoy my meal, my sleep, my sitting down and knitting. Wow!
    Step by step, God is working in me, I am not so uptight about the mess any more, I’m not rushing around trying to clean up before someone comes in. It’s good, and God is very good.
    Thank you for your encouragement!

    Hi Orlanda, I went through this same thing this summer as I was preparing for more people to join my household. I finally was able to get one of the bedrooms upstairs mudded and painted… oh my what a dusty mess… and then worked on a bathroom where the renovation just went on and on and on!!!!! But, indeed, it is finished now and well worth it. I hope you too are now enjoying your completed renovations. Good word.

    Your devotional today is so appropriate for me. I live with my daughter and her husband and he hosts a bible study. Since the spring the family room has been under renovation and we finally put the house back in order. But DUST!, My job today is to ready the house! Reading today has already lessened my anxiety at being ready. How often these devotionals open our hearts and minds to God’s presence and His control. Thank you.

    Keep up this wonderful ministry – the Lord knows exactly what he needs you to do and appears you are doing it. I and am so thankful for your inspiration and friendship.

    Thank you so much!
    Somehow, I missed reading this devotion until today and NOW is the time when I really needed it. December seems to be the most stressful month of the year and your devotional is a wonderful reminder to pause and WAIT for the LORD to supply our needs.
    May the LORD bless you – – – and please keep writing.

    “Smarten up. No one is sick. No one has died. This is just a mess. Just pick a spot and start sweeping.”
    You have no idea how helpful this line has been — and I have told several others the same. About that time, the passenger door of our vehicle was left open for a long time during a rain. My wife was distressed because it was probably her fault. My response was, “No-one is sick. No-one has died. It’s just water!” A trip into the city the next day gave us an opportunity to turn up concentrated heat that dried it all up.

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