Just a brief post today as we head into a holiday weekend…
Where do you go and who do you turn to in the midst of challenges and trials? Who gets the first phone call when things aren’t going the way you want them to? If there’s something strange, in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? (I just showed my age – Google it if you don’t know what song I just referenced).
The last few weeks, I found myself struggling through several personal and professional issues. In the middle of changing roles at Watermark and many good job transitions on our staff, I realized how much I don’t like change. This coming from the guy who just switched cars from a 2000 Green Nissan Pathfinder to a 2000 Champagne-colored Nissan Pathfinder. #Iamonewildandcrazyguy
Sometimes my thoughts wander and I spin all kinds of scenarios around in my head. I take my frustrations and questions to others – to my wife, to friends and to my community group. There is definitely nothing wrong with sharing problems with others; after all, God gives us community to help us process life’s ups and downs. Community and friendships are a large part of God’s plan for our holiness and growth. We have the gift of marriage and community to help us become like Jesus.
The problem, however, is that I often take my problems first to my wife or friends, but I miss inviting God into the problem or question. I mess up the invites or I confuse the order.
In the book of Hosea, the prophet Hosea writes to God’s people in Israel in the midst of moral decay, right before the Israeli kingdom fell to Assyria. The book of Hosea shows the depth of God’s love for his people, a love that tolerates no rivals (ESV Journaling Bible, Book Introductions).
In chapter 7, God rebukes Israel for not turning to Himself in the midst of trials. Hosea writes:
All their kings have fallen, and none of them calls upon me….The pride of Israel testifies to his face; yet they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him, for all this. 7:7b, 10
In the midst of challenges, “They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds” (Hosea 7:13a). “They return, but not upward” (Hosea 7:16a).
In other words, in the midst of crisis, God’s people wail upon their beds and refuse to talk to or return to the Lord.
I do the same thing. I turn to my wife, I run to community, I whine, complain and gripe. And in the process, I often neglect my first love. I forget to come first to God. I seek everything but God. And while the counsel I receive is from God’s people and I do invite others in, I often miss the first step of running to the Lord first and foremost.
The challenge from this post is a simple one that I do believe can change your perspective on counsel and community. The next time you find yourself in the midst of a minor crisis or a major trial, turn to the Lord first and foremost, then turn to your spouse, your community, your parents, or whoever else plays the role of friend and comfort in your life.
The Lord has searched you and knows you, he knows when you rise and when you sit and He discerns our thoughts from afar (Psalm 139:1-2). Why would we not turn to Him, first and foremost.
Who you gonna call?
In the midst of challenges and trials, who do you turn to? If you have close friends/family around you, thank Him for this provision. If you don’t, then how can you find some trustworthy people to help you through trials.
What can you do to help remind you where to turn in the midst of trials, crises, or burdens?