Blown-Out Tires and God’s Great Undisturbedness

flattireMy husband was a hero today. A back tire on our vehicle blew out with a loud bang and a sharp pull to the left that could have sent us all out of control. We could have swerved out into the speeding oncoming traffic or the other way into the concrete barrier. But we didn’t- because Chris stayed calm. He didn’t panic but rather maintained composure, and brought us slowly to a safe stopping place off the main road. From all appearances, He was undisturbed by the sudden crisis. And in this “undisturbedness,” my husband commanded control of the situation and responded with wisdom. He chose peace instead of panic.

I was reminded immediately of God’s great undisturbedness. When we face any sudden crisis, we can either look at the frightening circumstance and panic, or we can look up to our Great King who is seated on His heavenly throne and find peace. When we see Him there, reigning over all, we see His great undisturbedness. As unexpected as the crisis is to us, the One who set time in motion, and is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), has not been caught off guard. And if we will allow Him to, He will command control of the situation and respond with wisdom. And He will help us choose peace instead of panic.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

When did you last have a blown-out tire? When did your world blow apart with unexpected news or injury or illness? What crisis has sent you into panic? Can you look back now and see how God was there- He was with you and He was working good even through the hardest time? Or are you still waiting for Him to make sense of it all?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, and who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. Romans 8:28-29

If we believe that the promises of God are true, then we can be sure that each crisis that comes is ultimately working in us a greater good than we can know in the immediate experience. We can look back upon His faithfulness through past crises, and trust Him to be faithful for this one, and for all the ones that are yet to come. These are all part of His growth plan to conform us to the likeness of His Son. We can look into His great undisturbedness, and find the peace and wisdom and strength needed to wisely navigate through another life storm.

As a kid, my dad taught us the “3 C’s”- He taught us to stay “calm, cool, and collected” in stressful situations. He taught us to not panic (or at least try our hardest not too), because things only get worse when we panic. It helped me not to panic knowing my dad was nearby to help. And now as an adult, it helps me not to panic knowing God is always nearby to help.

God will not temporarily take a break from his throne and let the world spin out of control. Do we believe that He is Lord of all- or do we think things happen that catch Him off guard? Everything that comes to His children has come through the fold of His hands around each of our lives. Nothing slips by Him, but rather in all things God is working for the good of those who love Him.

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us.  Psalm 46:10-11

Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and I am in control. Be still and know that I am undisturbed by what is happening in your life. Be still and know that I am working all for your good and for my glory.

Don’t panic. Stay calm, cool, and collected. Look for my peace to guard your heart and my wisdom to direct your path.

Be still.

And know that I am God.

Hope Surrenders to God’s Ways

BeachWomanWe have seen that hope surrenders to God’s will and God’s Word. Now we will look at how hope surrenders to God’s ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9

I would have chosen an entirely different plan for my life. I think most of us would have.  I had a different career, family structure, and location in mind as I headed into adulthood over twenty years ago. And while there are certainly some things I would have had to go differently, I can fully say that I am glad God worked His way in my life, so different than my own. His ways have been much higher, and much better, than mine ever could have been. I am so thankful His ways have won out.

I see several reasons God’s ways are better than ours:

Our view is limited- His view is limitless. God in His omniscience knows all. He is El Roi, the God who sees, and His lookout is high above the earth. The expression, “You can’t see the forest for the trees,” speaks to our limited view, but God is way above the forest and He sees all.

Our perspective is temporary- His is eternal. The God who set time in motion is outside of time in existence Himself. Therefore, His perspective is from everlasting to everlasting, from generation to generation. His ways move according to an eternal plan, not a temporary one which we create.  He sets time in motion, and wills events to happen that will far outlast this life- all for His glory and our good.

Our purpose is local- His is global. We are prone to self-centered thinking, set on our own situation, wanting the best for us and for those near to us. Yet God’s purpose is to bring the world to know Him. He can orchestrate circumstances in a small village in Africa to coincide with a major city in Asia and a rural community in Montana.

I am the LORD and there is no other, apart from me there is no God, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting, men may know that there is none besides me. I am the LORD and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster, I the LORD do all these things. .. Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the works of my hands?  Isaiah 45:5-7, 11

We are wise to surrender to God’s ways. He is the LORD, and there is no other. He is worthy of our trust and hope. We may look upon our challenges with our children and question His ways, yet He has proven Himself faithful.  We will find lasting peace and increased strength when we accept His ways, and surrender to His working in our lives.

Sometimes it is helpful for my faith when something happens that is totally out of my control. A child runs a fever, my car won’t start, the dishwasher breaks, the school is closed. These are things not in my plan, but clearly in God’s. His ways are not my ways. His ways are better than my ways.

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things- and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.  1 Corinthians 1:27-29

God’s ways are not like ours, and for that we can be glad. His wisdom is not like ours. His work is not like ours. And His worthiness is not like ours. Let us surrender to His ways as they work in our lives- and there let us find our hope.