Focusing on God in Difficult Times

There are moments when a person thinks that he/she has been given more than possible to handle. The proverbial half empty bottle is depleted; stress levels rise to an overwhelming height. External triggers such as physical attacks or verbal insults may set off this cascade, yet it can also be triggered by internal events such as memories, worry, or negative self-talk. Whatever the cause, the response swarms through the body like a wasp trying to get out of its nest. He/she may have the inclination to run when this occurs, either figuratively or literally.

Running from a problem leaves the focus on the problem. There is no future goal, only the problem from the past. A good analogy would be an athlete who is running blindfolded.  All he/she knows is where he/she came from; there is no goal in sight.  However, running to God leaves the focus on God. The runner cannot focus on problems when focusing on God. Momentum is still involved; its utilization is different. Instead of a negative momentum, it is a positive one. When we seek God in our distress the dark loses its power over us.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” (Is. 40:29-31, NIV).  This beautiful promise in Isaiah was written to a group of people who lived a long time ago, but I believe it is still applicable to us today. It does not mean that we will not face distressing events or hardships, but the problem-solving method is plainly in sight—to “hope in the Lord”.

As Jesus was speaking with His disciples before He was arrested, the scriptures reveal that He was preparing them for His departure by giving them encouragement and a glimpse of future events. A divine pep talk, if you will allow me to use such verbiage. John records this in chapter sixteen verse thirty-three “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).

Jesus overcame the world in a way that only He could-by being the perfect sacrifice. But during His time on Earth, He was consistently running to God, giving examples of how to renew human strength. I believe that His encouragement to “take heart” speaks to the reassurance that when we focus on God we can run to His peace. We can be confident that with His strength, although we may get bruised in this life, God ultimately wins this battle.

Next time you are in an overwhelming situation, I invite you to check your momentum. Lift your eyes up to the One who created heaven and earth, and you. Imagine that you are receiving His pep talk… and run to God.

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