For this Monday’s Marinate we start with a song rather than our Scripture. Let’s listen to David Crowder as he sings, How He Loves.
Recently, I packed my spiritual bags and travelled with God on a journey toward grace. The seas of life had become turbulent and He desired to bring me to safe port. God doesn’t run us amuck like the Titanic. He loves us. He won’t let us drown.
We went on a cruise through Scripture. The first port we pulled into was this.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.—1 Peter 5:7-9 NIV
I was brought to this Scripture after a concerning conversation I had with Andrew. My insides were wrenched and the enemy wanted to consume me with worry. Not on my watch. I’m on guard.
Thankfully, God has trained me to be His warrior. I’m not saying I’m never duped by the devil. What I am saying is, this is a road I’ve travelled before and there is no way I plan to allow the enemy to pull me down a path that leads to nowhere.
Someone needs to hear this today. Don’t let the devil pull you down a path that leads to nowhere. At the first moment you feel worry, run straight into the arms of Jesus.
Proximity struck me as I read Scripture. When we isolate verse seven, it says, Cast all your anxiety on him (Jesus) because he cares for you.
Butted up against this verse we move to a command: be self-controlled and alert. Why? Because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (see verse 8). One of the ways the devil sets out to devour us is overwhelming us with anxiety.
At the onset of anxiety, what should we do? We need to be on guard: self controlled and alert. Our spiritual eyes need to be wide open. The devil’s looking. We need to be looking too. Anxiety equals the enemy—every time.
As our Scripture says in verse 9, we are to resist him (the devil), standing firm in the faith. One of the ways we resist the devil is to do what God commands us in verse 7: cast all your anxiety on him.
I celebrate the growth I see. I celebrate what God has done in me.
The anxiety I felt was momentary. Previously, it would have been monumental.
I trust if I cast this situation on our big God, He will take care of it because He cares for us (see verse 7). Trust Him with whatever is on your heart. He is trustworthy.
There is comfort when we realize we are not alone in our sufferings. There’s significance knowing our brothers, other believers, throughout the world undergo the same sufferings (see verse 9). Brothers and sisters we undergo the same sufferings, thus why I share my story with you.
Consider this: the enemy wouldn’t need to mess with us if we were already in a pit of sin. When we walk with God, the enemy will try to make us stumble. Not to worry. God is there every time with His grace.
The next leg of our trip through Scripture leads us to the safe port of Peter’s words,
I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.—1 Peter 5:12b
Earlier, our Scripture said we should stand fast in our faith. Now, we are directed to stand fast in God’s grace.
I don’t have to solve this problem. You don’t have to solve all the world’s problems either. This particular problem is beyond me. It’s beyond my ability to solve.
However, our problems are not beyond God’s ability to solve. We need to stand fast in His grace. We need to stand in the ocean of His grace.
The picture used for this post is an image God prompted me to draw during my quiet time. (My creative aptitude does not include artistic ability.)
The stick person is me, but it can very well be you too— surrounded by God’s grace. The waters were choppy, but God’s grace encircled me in His protective embrace.
I hadn’t noticed a detail until today when I cropped the photo. Look at my head. It’s not circular. It’s a heart. I didn’t do that on purpose.
As David Crowder says, “He loves us.” God’s grace says, “I love you.”
God revealed the magnitude of His grace in the tempest the enemy tried to stir up. Any microburst the enemy tries to muster is no match for the ocean of God’s grace.
The third leg of our journey, God pulled into port for a whirlwind tour which started with,
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.—Proverbs 16:9
Most of the time my worry is not for myself, it is for others. As worried as I might become in my flesh, God says, “No, No, No, my dear. I’ll determine Andrew’s steps.”
There’s such comfort in that thought. We need to cling to that promise when we’re worried about those we care for.
God directed me to pray this prayer.
God, THANK YOU that You determine Andrew’s steps. Lead him on the path of righteousness as Psalm 23 states: for Your namesake. Lord, Andrew calls himself a Christian. He possesses Your namesake… for Your namesake, Lord. I thank You, Lord, You are his guide and You will guide Andrew on the paths of righteousness. As such, I will not fear evil (see Psalm 23:4). For You are with me and You are with Andrew. In the Mighty name of Jesus, Amen!
Let’s not fear evil. I now know when the storms come I don’t need to fear. God already knows my heart, my hurts, and my concerns. The faster I can release them to God, the faster I can move forward with Him, as we move closer to the destination He has set. He’ll lead and guide us.
One of my favorite lyrics in David Crowder’s song is this,
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
Look at the surface of the earth. There are approximately 140 million square miles of ocean.* God’s grace is larger and deeper than that. Whenever anxiety threatens to overtake you, sink into the ocean of God’s grace.
QUESTIONS / APPLICATIONS:
Recall a time God’s grace surrounded you like an ocean. Note the circumstances here.
What are you anxious about today?
Craft a prayer casting all your anxiety upon Christ. Sink into the ocean of His grace.
*Area of Earth’s Oceans. http://hypertextbook.com/facts/1997/EricCheng.shtml, accessed 11-09-2013.
Bold added to Scripture to emphasize discussion topic.
The name Andrew is an alias to protect actual identities.