Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "There Were Ninety And Nine"1 (Lyrics)
As I sat lazily sipping my morning coffee, a sudden movement outside my large bay window caught my eye. There was a little black squirrel, scampering down the trunk of a large tree and across the patches of grass showing through the melting snow, looking for something to eat. During the long cold snap, all the squirrels had disappeared, but much to my delight, this hardy one had bravely ventured forth. Where did he get all that energy?
The answer was very simple. The squirrel was doing what he was created to do. Suddenly, a verse strangely popped into my mind, followed by a very blunt question: What about me?
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)
Yet, here I sat, day after day, doing nothing. Where were my good works? Having been housebound for a long time due to medical problems, I had been taken in by the subtle whispers of the enemy, who had convinced me that I couldn't do anything of value for the Lord — a "helpless" mind set. It was that "poor me" syndrome that caused me to find excuses for myself not to do anything and to blame everyone else.
For example, I had stopped attending church for fear of driving in bad weather or because of the pain that kept me awake at night, making me too tired to get up for church. No one cared anyhow, I reasoned, or someone would have offered me a ride in the bad weather. I had conveniently ignored the fact that I had never bothered to phone anyone who might have given me a ride to church.
As I pondered this uncomfortable revelation, I had to admit that it wasn't just a physical problem any longer. It had become one of attitude. "I can't" had become my mantra.
God, forgive me! It took a little black squirrel to prod me into removing the convenient, comfortable blindfold from my eyes.
Right then, I decided to put forth the effort to go to church the following day, as long as I slept well and God wakened me by 7:30. He very kindly heard my prayer and wakened me at 6:30.
As I sleepily peered out the window at the sunshine, very clear words of Scripture came to my mind: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). In that moment, the fear that had kept me from even trying turned tail and ran. I was excited at the prospect of returning to church, and I didn't want to be late.
I felt that God must be smiling that morning as I sang His praises in church, and I thanked Him for sending that little black squirrel.
Fear is such a debilitating, useless emotion. Our minds can trick us into believing that God has forgotten us in our times of pain and difficulty. Let us not allow fear to wrap its tentacles around our thinking and hold us until we feel unable to cope with anything. Let us remember those Scriptures that have strengthened us on previous occasions.
Prayer: Dear Lord, how easily we fall prey to the whispers of the enemy. In such times, Lord, open our eyes and remind us that You love us and that You are there for us. Help us to call on You and see how quickly You will answer and deliver us from these traps into which we have fallen. Amen.