Sunday, July 3, 2011

Careful now...

If I'm not careful, I can end up saying some fairly negative things when circumstances unexpectedly go sour on me. It's not even just the big problems that can lead to this, but even the little things that go wrong at the wrong time that can really get me murmuring. Contexts in which I'm particularly vulnerable are when I'm already under pressure, or when many things go wrong in quick succession, or when things break that I don't have the cash or the capability to fix. And the more serious the issue, the more tempted I feel in allowing myself to go down the tubes.

So it strikes me as appropriate that after King Ahaz of Judah had been made aware that Israel and Syria were teaming up to attack him, Isaiah's first words to Ahaz were, "Be careful, be quiet, do not fear..." (Isaiah 7:4). When things go wrong -- even dreadfully wrong -- I truly want those words to immediately run through my mind:  Be careful -- be quiet -- do not fear.

I need to be careful about where I allow my thoughts to wander; about not creating my own little atmosphere of negativity by the thoughts I allow myself to entertain; about where I see God in it all; about not seeing my problems as greater than God.

I need to be quiet lest I speak out of unbelief, and simply discourage myself; lest I give voice to thoughts I'd be wiser to repent of; lest I speak like a fool who refuses to see God in my circumstances; lest I babble on about my fears, thereby increasing them, when I have no need to fear at all!

Isaiah's command to not fear is such a familiar one that we read so often throughout the Bible, but it seems to me that Isaiah's first words, to "Be careful, be quiet" were just as important for someone facing what feels like an overwhelming trial. If we take care regarding how we respond to life's troubles, they will be much less likely to get under our skin and irritate our soul, and we will find ourselves much more often able to face life's difficulties with faith rather than with fear.

© 2011 by Ken Peters


marv said...

thanks, Ken.... this is advice i need to post on my office wall where i can be reminded - "be careful, be quiet, do not fear... "

i rarely have much fear in responding quickly to unexpected challenges, but i do have a significant tendency to be critical of others who might have contributed to getting us in the situation and to run over colleagues in addressing the problems... thanks for very helpful guidance..

Ken said...

No problem Marv. I guess we all have specific areas where we need to be careful & quiet before acting or reacting too quickly. I'm glad that we can share such journeys as we all learn these lessons together! Thanks for commenting.