Looking up

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?”  Psalm 43:5a.

downtown trees by me

Has your heart ever been downcast?  I bet it has.  Mine too, sister.  I relate to the Psalm writer….

Many things can make my heart sad and downcast.  Situations in my own personal life.  The hurts and concerns of those I care about.  The things I see in the world around me.  Health things.  Broken heart things.  Financial things.  Relational things.  Sigh…

Difficult life situations can exhaust and drain us, both emotionally and spiritually.  Some of you are running on empty.  Some are longing for Home.  Some are reeling from personal trials.  Some are scared and confused, wondering what’s next.  Your soul is downcast and disturbed. 

I’m right there with you.

Whether we are wrestling with world events or personal events, our response can be the same.  What do we do when we don’t know what to do?  When life is complicated, it’s best to keep things simple.  Just do the next right thing.  Simply put, we can pray, and we can praise.

Our first line of defense should always be a default to prayer.  Prayer isn’t “the least we can do”.  It is the MOST important place to start!  When we pray, we are acknowledging our inability to change the situations ourselves.  We are crying out to God for His guidance and compassion.  We are humbly asking for His mercy and grace.  We are casting our burdens at His feet because they are too heavy for us to carry alone.  We are desperately seeking peace and answers. 

This week, I was praying earnestly for a dear friend.  This friend has an adult daughter with some significant health issues.  Health issues that need intervention, and answers.  And the answers don’t seem to come easily.  As I prayed and listened for God’s voice in what seemed like answerless spaces of prayer, I heard it clearly.  “When you don’t get the big answers you want right away, look for My hand in the small things while you wait.”

You see, sometimes, big answers take big amounts of time.  But small things?  Those happen every day.  Let’s think for a minute about the small things we can rejoice in.

A job and income-provision.

Healthy and loving relationships-connection.

God’s word at our fingertips in a variety of ways-abundance.

Overall good health-blessed.

Loved by family, friends, and Jesus himself-care.

Assured of eternal life with Him when I have accepted His finished work on the cross-joy.

Those small things can easily be taken for granted.  We’re so used to having them, that we forget that they too are provision from the Lord.  That He is continually caring for and blessing us in these ways.

Me–just me

Our second default should go to praise.  It may seem challenging to praise God when things are difficult.  If I’m honest, sometimes it is difficult for me too.  However, being able to thank God and praise Him for who He is and all He has done, allows my focus to shift from the struggle to the Savior.  In the midst of our trials, we sometimes forget that the end of the story is already written.  We can forget that God wins.  This means that we win too. 

Try praising Him by remembering these scriptures from Psalm 34:

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry”. Ps. 34:15

“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. Ps. 34:18

“The righteous may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all”. Ps. 34:19

“The Lord will rescue His servants; no one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned”. Ps. 34:22

When my heart is downcast, and my emotions are wrung out, I can feel like I am losing the battle inside.  I feel like the process of turning my sorrow to joy is too big of a challenge.  God knows this too, and He gracefully places multiple scripture passages in His word for us to remember what is so easily forgotten. 

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Romans 8:37 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  These are powerful scriptures!  He has overcome the world!  We are more than conquerors through Him!

When I read such powerful statements in the bible, they begin to chip away at my downcast and disturbed heart.  When I let the truth of His word seep into the worried recesses of my soul, I find not only comfort, but the strength to carry on.  The hope to wait on Him and trust His plan.  When I look for (and see) the small things provided by His hand while I wait for the big answers that my heart truly seeks, I get a glimpse into the heart of God.  I feel His heart toward mine. 

He desires to bring me peace with His presence.  He is more than able to turn my worries into memories.  He can turn my spiritual weaknesses into victories of faith!

2 Corinthians 12:9. “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

When God says, “My grace is sufficient”. He means it.  It’s more than just a nice saying.  It is truth.  His power is made perfect in weakness, our weakness.  God is not surprised by the events in our lives that are seemingly pulling us under.  He stands at the ready, life vest in hand.  Because His grace is sufficient, we are right where we need to be.  Dependent on Him.

“You turn mourning to dancing. 

You give beauty for ashes. 

You turn seas into highways. 

You’re the only One who can!”  (Song-Graves Into Gardens-Elevate Worship)

Lord, somedays it’s so easy to sing your praise and to worship you.  I am thankful for those days.  But other days….other days, not so much.  Lord, forgive me.  You haven’t changed.  You are ALWAYS worthy of praise.  But Lord, my flesh is weak within me.  Sometimes my soul is downcast.  On those days, during those times, hep me to praise you anyway.  Remind me to look for your hand in the small things while I wait for the bigger answers my heart seeks.  Amen.

Photo credit-Nicole Nealy



A way through

I have a desire to make some changes in my life. I have been thinking about them, getting council for them, praying, talking, and searching out ways to make them happen. This has been going on for a few months. And nothing has changed. Not any of the things that I want to see changed anyway. Mostly I am waiting and trusting God for the change. Sometimes it feels like nothing is going to change, that there is no way things can be different. In some ways, I feel trapped.

Scripture gives us accounts of people throughout history that have been trapped.

The Israelite’s, God’s chosen people, were trapped in slavery. They had been for over 400 years. Think about that. Hebrew families had been slaves of the Egyptians for as long as they could remember. In fact, they didn’t know anything different, but their heart knew it was not right. They desperately wanted a way out, but none seemed possible. And none was possible for 400 years. The time was not right. Finally, they were released from slavery and sent on the now famous journey through the wilderness with Moses. Oh the joy and excitement! At least at first. But then they came to the Red Sea. Pharaoh’s army was quickly coming upon them to capture them, and the Red Sea had them trapped with no way through. They were certainly panicked. Wishing they had never left. At least they were alive as slaves, but now they faced a certain violent death of their entire family at the hands of their captors. Just place yourself inside their heads for a second, there by the shore, a million or more people, trapped by the water in front of them, and horses and chariots racing toward them. Fear. Trapped. Hopeless.

But God made a way through for them! You will recall that He sent a strong east wind to blow all night, that cut a path through the sea, and the people were able to cross on dry land! Then God released the waters, and destroyed the enemies of the Israelite’s, and God Himself. Exodus 14.

Then there’s Rahab the prostitute. She was living with her family in Jericho, a city about to be overtaken by the Israelite army. She knew that The Lord had “given the land” to the Israelites. That her city, her family and her life were all about to be taken from her. She was in grave danger. But she had also heard of all the Lord had done for the Israelite’s at the Red Sea, and she knew how He had helped them conquer the two Ammorite kings at the Jordan River. She had real fear! She knew, apart from the Lord, that her family would be massacred when the Israelite army got to Jericho. She was trapped with no way out, and no where to go. Then the spies came to town, and God provided a way for her to help them in Joshua 2. Then a little later in, Joshua 6:17, we see that God did indeed, make a way for her.

And yet, another event of God’s faithfulness is found in Acts 16:16-40. Paul and Silas are in prison, for preaching the Good News about Jesus. Prisons were not nice places in those days. Their feet were shackled to a wall, with no food, water, sunlight or way of escape. A very strong and dedicated jailer kept guard over them. Yet, they trusted God. So much so, that they are found singing praises to Him at midnight! Those imprisoned with them could hear, as could the jailer. Their hope was in God to deliver them, there was no other possible way out. And then it happened! At midnight, God sent such a strong earthquake, that the foundation of the prison was shaken, and the doors to their cell flew open! God made a way for them. (They didn’t run away, they stayed so that God would be praised for His miraculous ways. They did get out of prison though…..go read and see!)

And now there’s me, and probably you too. Waiting for something to change. Is it a job? A marriage? A friendship? A health issue? A move you want to make?

For me, it’s easy to relax through the stories in scripture.

  • mostly because, it’s not me in the story ( I am not personally affected)
  • also because, I know the ending (that story is finished)

It’s not always so easy to relax through the story of my own life, because it is me in this story, and this story is still being written. I do not have the benefit of knowing how it will end. But that, my friend, is faith.

“Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” Hebrew 11:1

So, I wait. I wait for God to make a way through for me. Scripture (and my own life experiences with my faith) show me that, when the time is right, He will indeed make a way for me. His plan, His timing, His purpose. My ways are not His ways. Isaiah 55:8-9.

If you are trusting God for something right now, keep it up. Waiting is not fun, it seems long. But the Lord will make a way, when the time is right. His time. He will not let you down, trust Him. He will make a way through!

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Expectant Hope

It’s the possibility of: 

Something new.   Something better.   

I find the term “Expectant Hope” so exciting

I’m sure that, like me, at sometime, you’ve been in a season of waiting

  • Waiting for direction from the Lord. 
  • Waiting for something to change. 
  • Waiting for rescue.   
  • Just waiting.   

It’s never easy.   I don’t enjoy waiting.   Waiting in line, waiting at a stop light, waiting for Amazon

But in the waiting God is doing something!  He’s changing our heart’s.

He gives us an opportunity to trust Him when all we can do is wait!  In this section of Isaiah, God reminds the Israelite people that He was faithful in the past to destroy Pharaohs armies in the Red Sea. 

He tells them that He’s got even more in store for them.   They need to remember what He has done in the past , to build their faith and prepare them for what He’s about to do in their future! (Isaiah 43:19)

“For I am about to do something new.

    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?”

Isaiah 43:19

Expectant Hope.     

Don’t forget that there is a gap in time.   That’s where the waiting takes place

The Israelite’s had to

  • wait 
  • trust
  • pray
  • be faithful
  • and live their daily lives

but they had to do it with Expectant Hope That’s where we put feet on our faith, it’s in the waiting.

God not only sees the “now” of our lives, but He sees the future too.  He will clear a path for us!  He will make a way through the wilderness. 

He gives purpose to the waiting.  

When we see only one way through our difficulty, God is there, doing a New Thing in the land!  When we least expect it, we’ll see Him move! 

Pray.   Trust.   Wait.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay