A one-sentence response to a jacked-up world

We live in a world that’s a bit … well … jacked up. Perhaps you’ve noticed. The recent massacre in Las Vegas just adds to the evidence. There are many things we can and should do in response to the evil in our world, but the results are out of our control. It’s frustrating and, at times, depressing. Rather than letting it get you down, however, you might try repeating the words of Habakkuk.

You remember Habakkuk, right? He’s one of those Old Testament guys who knew all too much about God’s displeasure with a jacked-up world. Habakkuk 3 records a song by the prophet, and near the end he lists all sorts of legitimate reasons for being worried about the condition of the world. Then, he provides something we need just as much today as he did thousands of years ago: perspective.

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,” he says, “I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:18)

No matter what was going on or would happen, Habakkuk was choosing to rejoice and be joyful – not in the circumstances, but in the Lord who was his savior. The world was out of Habakkuk’s control, but not God’s. Jesus told us something similar in John 16:33 – “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

That doesn’t mean we don’t actively fight against evil. It means we fight with a God-focused perspective on the outcome. It hit me recently that my first response to our jacked-up world should be to have the wisdom-soaked attitude of Habakkuk. Think about whatever irritates you about this world – large things or small – and give it a try …

A madman has fired bullets into a crowd?

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Hurricanes are bashing Texas, Florida and the Caribbean islands …

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Earthquakes are crippling regions of Mexico …

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

North Korea is going nuclear …

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Your favorite team lost again …

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

You can’t figure out this feud between President Trump and the NFL …

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

You have troubles at work …

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

You have troubles at home …

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Crime … abortion … racism … politics … protests …

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

No matter what might cause you to worry, hand-wring or feel tempted to rant on social media or in person with your friends, there’s something powerful about saying that verse out loud. It’s re-orienting. Calming. Reassuring. Refreshing. It’s a reminder that despite your weakness, nothing is ever out of God’s control. And that’s a great perspective.

7 Trust Biscuits to Feed the Soul

My work tends to go through cycles. That’s the life of an entrepreneur, especially an independent contractor. So, for the most part, I don’t worry and I don’t get stressed out by the ebb and flow. For the most part.

In reality, my worry/stress levels are just like my business: They run in cycles.

Earlier this summer, I wrapped up some projects and my client work slowed a bit. I counted it as a blessing. It allowed me to catch up in some other areas where I had fallen behind. As the summer moved on, however, I began to foresee a time in the not too distant future when our trickling cash flow would leave our revenue pond nearly empty.

I didn’t panic, but my prayers for “new work” took on a greater intensity. And at times I allowed worry and stress to creep into my life.

When I’m in that situation, every opportunity looks good, and it’s crazy hard for me to say “no” to any work that comes my way. And new opportunities came my way. God, as always, provides. In an ironic twist – because we all know God loves ironic twists – one of the new projects involves helping people deal with stress. For the record, I’m the student not the teacher.

Anyway, you might think that new opportunities lowered my stress and worry level. Instead, here’s what happened next: I was thankful for the new work, of course, but I now had multiple projects with multiple deadlines and multiple people to please. I went from worried we wouldn’t survive to worried I couldn’t deliver. How sad is that?

What I needed, I realized, was some nourishment in my soul. I needed what I call trust biscuits. God’s word is full of them – wonderful nuggets that remind us that He’s real, that He cares about us, that there’s more to life than, well, life.

Here are seven you can chew on over the next week:

  1. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:19
  2. “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” – Psalm 9:10
  3. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” – Psalm 20:7
  4. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
  5. “Those who trust in their riches will fail, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” – Proverbs 11:28
  6. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13
  7. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” — Philippians 4:12

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