“Now what?”

Now what?  We’ve studied God’s faithfulness.  We’ve talked about how He sees us when we hurt.  We’ve learned that we often labor in tears, with the promise that God will make our efforts fruitful in His time.  We’ve seen that difficult days do not mean that God has forsaken us.  We have hope that it will be worth it all when Jesus comes and finds us busy doing the Father’s will at His appearing.  So, what is the next step in recovering from a major, so called, “set-back.”

Psalms 37 gives us some great advice about right living in a world gone wrong.  When evil seems to be everywhere, and evil people seem to be prospering…God says to “trust in the Lord, and do good.” (v. 3)  Further, He says to “delight yourself in the Lord,” which means to imitate Him. (v. 4)  He says to “commit your way” to Him, “rest in the Lord,” and to “wait patiently for Him.” (vv. 5-7)

I see these as mostly all action verbs.  There’s no retreating from the battle.  There’s no sign of giving up.  There’s no notion of defeat in God’s instructions to us.  Let’s take those instruction one at a time:

First of all, He wants us to do good.  There is still a lot of work to be done for the kingdom.  Despite the presence of our enemies, our Good Shepherd prepares a table before us to nourish us so that we can continue doing good.  The second part of this sentence commands us to “live in the land.”  We are not to run; not to quit; not to despair; not to stop living…but to live to do good.

Next, we who are Christians are to “trust.”  That is to place your faith in the Lord,   Faith is something you cannot always see.  God wants us to walk by faith, not by sight.  One way to do this on a day-to-day basis is to pray.  Prayer is putting your faith into action.  Bowing your head and folding your hands to an invisible God demonstrates that you are placing your trust in a Father who sees in secret.

Thirdly, we are to “delight” in our God.  This literally means start doing what He does, think like He thinks, and say the words that He would say.  Start imitating the Lord.  Take joy in doing the kinds of things that He would do Himself.

Number Four on our “now what?” list is to commit your way unto Him.  I think that’s similar to “never giving up.”  Remember when Peter walked on the water?  He started to sink when he took His eyes off Jesus.  He started to waiver in his thinking.  Jesus asked him, “Why do you doubt?”  So, we need to keep our commitments to the Lord.  Paul asked the Galatian church, “who tricked you?  You are children of God’s promise…are you now willing to give it all up?”  (Galatians Three – my paraphrase)

Number five…”Rest.”  You actually have to work at preserving God’s intended rest for you.  The world has a way of getting too busy and too exhausting for even the toughest of individuals.  Resting in the Lord means choosing not to worry, but instead to cast your burden upon Him.  Set aside time every week to worship Jesus.  This is the meaning behind the Sabbath principle.  A church service is the perfect place to get away from the world’s incessant call, and just give your worries to Jesus.

Lastly, number six on our “now what?” list is to wait patiently for Him.  Have you ever gone on a guided tour…of a cave?  It’s dark down there.  You and I wouldn’t know the way.  Notice the tour guide says to “wait” for everyone before we head to another cavern.  That’s so nobody gets lost, and nobody gets hurt.  If we were to rush ahead, we could  step right into a deep crevice or take a wrong turn.  That could mean risking injury or even death.  The answer to surviving this type of situation is “be willing to be led.”  Our heavenly Father knows the way, and He knows the time for everything.

Reread Psalms 37 this week.  There’s instruction for you and me in the Psalm about how we should proceed whenever we might wonder, “now what?”

Pastor Gene

 

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