Like many others, I have a bad sense of direction. Before the days of GPS—when we used printed Mapquest directions or a folded map—I made quite a few wrong turns and detours. A number of trips took longer than I wanted, frustrating anyone in the care and embarrassing me. My wife still gets the privilege (she might use a different word) of helping me on trips as “the navigator,” a duty that falls on whoever rides shotgun on road-trips. GPS has made life a little easier, but why can’t they give me directions earlier so I’m not swerving at the last-minute? GPS or Google Maps also doesn’t always have all the information (at least not right away), such as a road closure, traffic jam, or a closed business.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” (Ps. 46:1-3)
Anxiety is overwhelming. It can affect our bodies. It wreaks havoc on our emotions. And it consumes our thoughts. They race like a runaway train or get caught in a vicious cycle of spinning round-and-round with “what if…”, “if only…”, or many other possibilities. Anxiety awakens us in the dark hours of the night. It can rob us of a day’s joy and suck the life right out of us.
(This devotion is day twenty-two of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)
Read Psalm 118
As a kid, one of my favorite things about holidays was how our family would gather and share stories. I would sit back and listen to them spin tales. A new one might be sprinkled in on occasion, but usually they rehashed the same old stories, but we would laugh as we relived the memories. As an adult, it’s still one of the best things when our family gets together. My sister is a good storyteller. She gets very animated and exaggerates stories a little more every year. But somehow, I never get tired of these stories we tell again and again, usually at one of my parent’s expense.
What is the proper response to seeing God? When we consider His glory, holiness, righteousness, faithfulness, power, knowledge, patience, and grace, what’s the right way to react? To add another factor, when we take this vision of God, and put next to it a realistic vision of who we are, then what’s a fitting response? What do sinful, limited, selfish, weak, broken, flawed, and impure creatures like us do before the infinite and almighty God?
Seeing God’s holiness and glory, and recognizing our sinfulness and frailty, is why people in the Bible commonly respond in humility and brokenness.
Here are two worksheets to guide you through a study of God’s Word. These don’t rely on the inductive method but provide questions for reflection on God through Psalm 103 and Psalm 104.
Yesterday, Part 1 introduced the temptation for many dads to cross the line from being firm to being harsh. As dads, this is an easy slope to slide down. But it’s not where we want to be. We want to love our kids well and reflect what God the Father looks like, and so we must intentionally be on guard. Here are two additional cautions building on the first.
I didn’t grow up camping, but as a husband and father, I want to be a family that camps. I love being outdoors and see so many benefits to it. With the ever-present draw of screens and technology, I’m trying to cultivate a stronger joy in nature. In my head, camping with our daughter will lead to memories she will long enjoy. Maybe it will even start a family tradition she can pass on to her kids.
“The iron bolt which so mysteriously fastens the door of hope and holds our spirits in gloomy prison, needs a heavenly hand to push it back.” Charles Spurgeon
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1)
The Problem: Life is Hard
Despite the way our culture values “authenticity,” most of us rarely feel comfortable enough to speak honestly and personally about the wounds and pains we carry, the weariness and weakness we feel, the dark thoughts we wrestle with, or the disappointment or frustration with life experienced. While it might be okay to admit generalities like “my life is a mess” or “I’m struggling along,” to say how and why we are fragile or broken, to confess our sins, or to share our burdens seems a bit too far. It can be an awkward moment of transparency in a world of surface-level dialogue.