. . . all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 HCSB
But what if God doesn’t work things out in the way we had hoped for?
Those times are tough! And the fiery darts are merciless. We have a tendency to be mad at God. We question God. We feel God is ignoring us. Sometimes, the way God works things out breaks our hearts. Peace evades us at times like these. We might even feel like giving up on prayer, after all what good has it done in those difficult times. We experience frustration when we open our bible because nothing seems to speak to our need. We cry out to God, “I just don’t understand what you are doing here God. This isn’t what I prayed for at all!”
We take on an ‘it’s all about me’ perspective. All we can think about is our own feelings. How disappointed we are. How hurt we are. It’s at times like these, we must remember the following:
We must trust God.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
6 think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths. Proverbs 3:5-7 NIV
You know, God sees the bigger picture. He’s in charge and we have to submit to that.
We must remember that God desires what is best for us
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, Ephesians 3:20 ESV
Because He sees the bigger picture, God knows what needs to be done, so that the plans He has for us can be fulfilled. Remember, God knows what is best for us. We only think we do! We need to remember His thoughts are not our thoughts.
God will sustain us (especially when things get rough)
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalms 55:22 HCSB
God knows we won’t get any relief if we insist on carrying that burden. He lovingly and patiently waits for us to turn it all over to Him.
God loves us:
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 HCSB
The reason we can calm down and trust God is because His love for us knows no bounds. Will God, who sacrificed His innocent Son for us, ignore us in our time of disappointment and hurt? That doesn’t even make sense. But we are tempted to forget that powerful Truth. The Truth that will set us free from the temptations meant to destroy us.
Does your life seem complicated at times? Do you feel like you just don’t have God’s full attention? You pray for guidance but it seems God remains silent. Does the peace you earnestly seek for continue to elude you? You fast, but the answers and the peace do not come. And while you are still waiting for answers, you get punched in the gut with more problems!
Yet, you have the sense to know that answers won’t come from any other source. Therefore, you know you must persevere. So you keep on asking the LORD. All the while wondering when the relief will come.
In the meantime, fiery darts are messing with your resolve to seek the LORD. They plant doubt and confusing thoughts into your mind. With these fiery dart thoughts, your seeking the LORD grows more complicated. For now you must sort through these dark thoughts to be able to hear from and be guided by God’s Truth thoughts.
What do you do in these valley times?
Might I suggest that you attack the fiery dart thoughts (those thoughts of negativity, hopelessness, discouragement, doubt, fear, impatience, etc) as soon as they enter your mind. Replace them with Truth thoughts such as Isaiah 54:17, Jeremiah 29:11, Hebrews 11:1, John 14:27, James 1:2-4, Philippians 2:13, Isaiah 43:4. Words from God to encourage you, give you hope, and to lift you up.
And we’ve all lived long enough to know that sometimes the answers won’t come quickly (which seems the rule not the exception). At times, we might find that we just have to wait for the answers that seem so long in coming. It is during such times that we must arm ourselves with verses that instruct us as we wait.
It is good for us to remember, that these dark times have a purpose. (Romans 8:28) God will use these times for our benefit and His glory. Therefore, focusing on the following word from God, will keep our heads above water. And though the answers still may not come for awhile, these words will give us the relief we need to keep on keeping on.
Isaiah 48:17, “This is what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go.
Perhaps this whole thing about fiery darts is still sort of foggy–what they are, how to deal with them, etc.?
If that is the case with any of my readers, then please allow me to share a potential calamity that my son and daughter in law recently faced that I hope will clear away some of that fog.
In anticipation of attending an university in the UK next year for his master’s work, my son, daughter in law, and their two small sons (plus all of the paraphernalia that entails) made their way to an airport in Africa to board their plane. My son’s plans were to meet with professors to tie up any loose ends having to do with his registration. They hoped to have some time to look into housing possibilities as well. A few days later we planned to join them and together we would enjoy a vacation that we all had looked forward to and planned on for months.
However, upon arriving at their airline’s check in counter, they were blind sided with the news that their plane had left without them. Apparently, there was some confusion about the departure time. Then to add to the dilemma they faced, they were told their tickets were not refundable($2300)! Oh, and wait, there’s more! The only plane that was scheduled to go to the city where the university is located wouldn’t be leaving for another week. Of course, that would mean we would arrive before them and that would just mess everything up! ! ! ! !
Immediately, my son placed a couple of phone calls–one to me and one to a fellow missionary friend. After my son shared the details of the ordeal with me, I prayed for him, said goodbye and got busy calling all my friends to prayer, urging them to notify their friends to pray. In a matter of minutes, people all over the United States and the world were praying. (My son is a missionary and many of his friends live scattered throughout the globe.)
Now, this is where the fiery dart explanation comes in!
With rapid succession, thoughts of panic, fear, and worry, bombarded my mind. (If they were doing that to me, imagine what they could have been doing to my son & daughter in law). Just imagine how all of our plans would have been derailed if we gave into such negative thinking or yep, you’ve got it,fiery darts!
Now, I preach (might as well admit it) that the most efficient way to extinguish fiery darts are to:
1)recognize the fiery darts
2)reject the fiery darts
3)replace the fiery darts (with Truth thoughts)
Therefore, here are some of the Truth thoughts God brought to my mind:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28, NIV (If we were willing to cooperate with God in this, He would work all this out for our good)
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (After taking this turn of events to the LORD, we needed to thank Him for how He was going to work things out and accept His peace.)
You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you. Isaiah 26:33 (We needed to trust (focus on)God so that we wouldn’t freak out and be at peace)
We knew it was God’s way to take all the scatter pieces of our plan and put them back together again! His plans are always to benefit us. (Jeremiah 29:11) That was our confidence because that is God’s character!
A few hours later, after purchasing a one way ticket to another country, where they would transfer planes, they would arrive at a city in the UK 4 1/2 hours from their original destination. There they would rent a car and drive to the city where the university is located. Several hours late, but arriving nevertheless. And, I might add, with a sound mind!
And concerning that non-refundable ticket?
Waiting on God with thoughts of trust (not fiery darts)
Problems! We all encounter them.
We can face them as individuals or as a group. Sometimes they loom so large we fear we will be overwhelmed by them. Then again, our perspective regarding how we approach problems can be so skewed by fiery dart thinking (negative thinking, remember) that we choose a downward path, oblivous to the upward path already laid out by God for our good.
Here’s God’s plan!
Problems are meant to work out for our benefit!
Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
We are meant to rise above our problems; not sink under the weight of them!
Romans 8:37, No, in all these things (problems) we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Problems are designed to supply what might be lacking in our spiritual makeup
James 1:2-3, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverence. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anthing.
There’s more but this is enough to make my point!
Typically, problems create more problems. Listen to anyone or group absorbed in a problem and what do you hear? One negative statement after another. It’s seems those involved have an opinion on what caused the problem and will rehearse their negative opinion with anyone who will listen.
I have seen the progression fiery dart thinking sets in motion. When problems occur the temptation we succumb to is to set our eyes upon the problem and think of nothing else. The darkness produced by such negativity grows with the intention to completly obliterate the Light of God’s solutions.
I know what that is like. I have been there. It’s a no win situation. Not until, that is, you turn your gaze and ear to Jesus and begin following His instructions.
It’s likely He will open your eyes to the fact that while He has good plans for you, Satan does not.
John 10:10, A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.
He might even ask us this question: Whose plan are you cooperating with?
If we are maintaining a negative perspective regarding the problems with which we are faced, the answer to this question is obvious.
However, I do not believe that we intentionally choose to cooperate more with Satan’s plan than we do God’s. I do believe that we have been deceived with fiery dart thoughts that have blinded us to God’s plan. Which is why I write this post–to reveal Satan’s plan.
Start speaking Truth to the problem–using the verses like the ones I have offered in this post. When a thought forms in your mind regarding the problem, ask yourself this question:
Is it a fiery dart thought or a Truth thought?
Only proceed if your words will speak Truth. Then set back and watch the glory of God at work in your obedience and pour out more blessings that you can imagine. Malachi 3:10 backs this up.
I am just a worrier. It’s the way I was made. I can’t help it!
The next time you make that statement or hear someone else make that statement, I hope you will refer to my blog posts. You see, worry is a major fiery dart! Worry will create all sorts of turmoil within your mind. That turmoil will make you vulnerable and a prime target for fiery darts that will undermine your trust and faith in God.
If you ever have any thoughts like the ones I opened with in this post, then plant your feet firmly in God’s Word and
1 – Recognize those thoughts for the fiery darts that they are
2 – Reject them outright for dear readers they are nothing but lies
3 – Replace them with Truth thoughts (go to your computer and type in the phrase “verses about worry” for there you will find a bunch of them. God has a lot to say about worrying) but I highly recommend,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:67 (NIV)
Now that you have had the opportunity to read my last two posts illustrating, through personal testimony, why I see God as my logistics coordinator, I hope I have given you food for thought that will deflect all those fiery darts that tempt you to worry. He will prove to you, as He does for me over and over again, that He can be trusted to work all things out for my good (ooh, sounds like Romans 8:28 doesn’t it!) That, my dear readers is a liberated way to live!
Now for Part Two
(You are simply not going to believe this!)
It was early Sunday morning and I had stolen away to spend some alone time down by the quiet bubbling creek that runs through the middle of the camp. The quietness was suddenly broken by the familiar ring of a Skype call from my son. I had been in communication with him several times during my stay at the camp.
But this conversation wasn’t to be about “Hey momma, how are things going at camp?”
No, this time there was trouble!
Fighting had broken out a little too close for comfort where my son and his family and team lived. They were in lock down and on standby waiting for the call that would determine their exit strategy.
(Okay readers, at this point I’m pretty sure you can imagine the fiery darts aimed in my direction!)
Immediately, I ran to the cabin to share this alarming news with my friends and to contact my husband. He cancelled his sermon, and led our congregation in a time of prayer for our son and the situation there.
That evening my friends and I were attending camp church, where the congregation was challenged to pray about the urgent situation concerning my son. Then during the course of the pastor’s sermon, he mentioned that my son’s boss would be on campus on Wednesday.
(Stop, did I hear what I just thought I heard?)
Yes, I had heard right. But you must understand this. My son’s boss lives in Africa! I live an 8 hour drive from the camp I was visiting. This was the very first ladies retreat I had ever attended at this camp. My son’s boss doesn’t come to America that often! Therefore, consider the logistics God had to coordinate to bring the two of us together at the precise time and location that He did.
Yes, there were some tense moments. Yet, just as the fiery darts of fear were in position to reek havoc in my mind and heart, God began glorifying Himself as my Logistics Coordinator!
(Update: the situation calmed down and while my son and his team and their families have to have armed guards with them wherever they go, they did not have to leave! They are continuing to minister and making Christ known to the blessed ones they have been called to serve. Praise God!)
Awhile back, two of my friends and I took a road trip to attend a ladies’ retreat in the mountains; about an 8 hour drive from our homes. (Of course, that’s just the drive time; we stopped at Cracker Barrel going and coming. The two in one experience–eating and shopping, you know. Well then, let’s say 8+ hours.) We learned a lot about each other, made a heap of memories, and discovered a rather unique character trait possessed by God. It has taken numerous experiences for God to teach me that He can work things out without me fretting and worrying over how He’s going to do it. So while I have been blessed by this trait of God’s, it wasn’t until this trip that I found a name for it. And here it is:
A logistics coordinator, by definition, is someone who plans, implements, and coordinates the details for someone else. After reading the illustration below, followed by the 2nd illustration in my next blog post, I hope it will become clear to you that acknowledging God’s ability to work things out for our good (Romans 8:28), is a powerful weapon in defeating worry. So, let’s begin!
Illustration No. 1
My friends and I were driving to a quaint little restaurant in the mountains for lunch. We had driven to this little lakeside restaurant the day before but had arrived too late to eat. This time we left early enough to arrive in time for lunch and to enjoy a spectacular view in the process. But while time was on our side as we made our way towards the restaurant on that picture perfect spring day, my gas gauge was not! I notified my friends that we were getting rather low on gas and it might be a good idea to pray. None of us could remember exactly how much further the restaurant was or even IF we had enough gas to get us there. So, we prayed for a gas station!
Now, here’s where the connection to Worry comes into play. Under the circumstances, I am sure you can understand why we were sorely tempted to fret and worry. You name the fiery darts that would be apparent on such an occasion and believe me Satan shot them at us. And as I watched that gas gauge move closer and closer to the empty mark, and no gas station or restaurant yet appeared on the near horizon, I felt it was necessary that I come up with a plan just in case God’s plan was NOT to get us to a gas station in time. I knew that my friends at the camp would come to our rescue, if needed. But then we were in the mountains and cell reception was ‘iffy’ at best. (Okay, sometimes you can over think a situation!)
I resisted the fiery darts with all the strength I could muster from my lessons on how to fight (and win) against such negative thinking. I called on the 3 R’s of fighting fiery darts: 1)recognize the fiery darts 2) resist the fiery darts 3) replace the fiery darts (you remember, with truth thoughts.
It was an effort on my part but by the grace of God, I maintained a controlled calm. My friends were doing the same, but I knew it was a struggle. The reason I knew that was because of all the wise cracks they were making. When you are faced with a dilemma such as ours, sometimes laughter is a beneficial distraction.
And as so often happens, a few minutes after the ‘need to fill the gas tank asap’ light came on (causing the oxygen level to be seriously depleted as we all gasped for air) there appeared the gas pumps (not station, just a couple of dated pumps outside a run down little mom and pop type grocery). And next door to them was the restaurant; still open! We were rescued!
Wow, I came away from that adventure convinced I had the best logistics coordinator in the universe (and of course, I did. We all do, actually). There is one more experience that I want to share with you that will illustrate the benefit of seeing God as our very own and personal Logistics Coordinator! However, this is enough for now, so I will wait till next post and bring all this to a conclusion then.
The lies of fiery darts are attempting to place you in bondage.
But Hope in God’s Truth will release you from its bondage,
But you must acknowledge that God is Truth!
How can a country know Truth when they have rejected the source of Truth–God? Of course, you can’t know Truth apart from God. (John 18:37) But apparently there are many (too many) who believe that it can be done and down through the ages they have attempted to do so. The results of their efforts have given birth to a definition based on lies. For those who have rejected God’s Truth, darkness has become a way of life for them. They have become so accustomed to the dark that they see the darkness as light and the light as darkness. Ooh, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? (Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness,…) And the resulting man’s truth has created a climate of fear and bondage throughout our land.
we are willing to acknowledge God as the source of Truth, then and only then will the Light of Truth shine down upon us, exposing the fiery darts that we have allowed to plunge us into darkness. When we acknowledge the Light of Truth, then Hope, and Faith will return and we will be released from the bondage of the lies and the fear they produce.
Take heart Christians,
in the following verse:
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
I write this post because America is in serious trouble. And because so many of our leaders are blinded to the Truth, we must be careful not to be caught up in their deception. We must not allow the lies of their truth to destroy our Hope. Instead we must dig deep into God’s Word and arm ourselves with God’s Truth. And in obeying that Truth, we will discover that God is in control and man is not. (Daniel 4:35 and Isaiah 14:27) We will discover there is nothing to fear.(Isaiah 41:10) We will discover He has good plans that we can place solid hope in now and for our future (Jeremiah 29:11). We will discover that no matter what may come our way God will cause it all to work out together for our good. (Roman 8:28) I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point!
So, Keep the Faith.
And remember, that other’s lack of faith in God and their disobedience to Him, in NO way diminishes God’s Truth.
Until next post,
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. – Rom. 8:28
A Present Background!
My daughter and her husband are on a cruise celebrating their 10th year anniversary and my husband and I have the privilege to travel to their home so that we could take care of their 3 children, (8 yr. old girl, 7 yr old boy, 3 year old girl). I use the word privilege deliberately because to my husband and I anytime God makes it possible for us to spend time with our grandchildren we consider that a profound privilege.
A Little Past Background!
Years ago, when I struggled with God in releasing my children to Him, my mind was bombarded with a fearsome fiery dart. “If you release your children to God, He might call them to live far, far away from you!” At the time I couldn’t bear that thought. Yet, deep within my soul, I knew it was something I had to do. I couldn’t run from it and I couldn’t hide from it. I couldn’t live in denial and ignoring this calling from God, would in no way dismiss my obligation to obey God.
So, by the grace of God, (and I mean ONLY by the grace of God) I lifted my children up to Him with a trembling heart and promised that I would teach my children to obey and serve God–being comforted by the thought that:
The safest place on earth, is in the center of God’s will.
I did ask God for a favor, however. I asked Him that if His plans for any of my children involved planting their lives in a place far away from me, that God would make it possible for me to travel to where ever they were to spend time with them. I didn’t demand this or make this conditional. For I confessed to God that I would do this hard thing, no matter what! But I would be more than grateful if I could live in the hope that He would make this possible. And as you might expect, that is exactly what God has done.
My daughter lives in Florida, so the fact that God provided us the means to purchase airline tickets to go and be with them is just proof positive that He continues to be tender to my request of all those years ago. God is indeed faithful.
Now, back to the present!
My husband drove our daughter & son-in-law to the port about an hour’s drive from their house to board their cruise ship and in getting there, our daughter discovered she did not have her driver’s license. (Panic time!) Which obviously meant that with no picture id she would not be allowed to board the ship!
I got a phone call from them asking me to check the printer to see if her license was still there. Sure enough, there it was, along with two insurance cards. There was nothing to do but to contact my husband and tell him he would have to turn right around and go back to where he had been. Ugh! (Problem was, he wasn’t answering his phone so the temptation to freak out was intensifying.) But everyone held on to their trust that God would work this out and resisted the fiery darts that were attempting to undermine our trust.
Finally, my husband answered his phone and it was decided that when he got back to the house, the kids and I (along with the 3 important cards) would jump in the car with him and we would all return to the port-of-call so we could hand over the forgotten cards.
So how did this all work out for the good?
We had talked about the children being able to see their parents off at the ship, but decided that wasn’t practical. (Not enough room in the car) Yet, because of the present dilemma, the kids were able to see the cruise ship their parents would be on (note the picture above).
Another tidbit of interest is that had not my daughter and son-in-law left as early as they did, we wouldn’t have been able to get the driver’s license to them in time and the trip would have been spoiled.
As I prayed with my grandchildren that night, I thanked God for the opportunity we all had to witness how God took something that was not so good and turn it into good for all. (Just like He said in Romans 8:28)
Isn’t it awesome to be a Christian!