Friday, December 6, 2002
My childhood church has shown their love for our family in some very special ways, including sending a work crew to help make some repairs on our house - totally unsolicited. Joe was one of those "angels" that God sent. The first challenge for Joe came long before he got to our house. In fact, it was on the drive out from Chicago. He was sleeping behind the driver's seat in the truck while someone else was driving, and suddenly he was hit with one of his recurring asthma attacks. Now, usually, he's able to get through that real quickly, but this one got a little scary for a while because he had trouble using his inhaler which he carries all the time. Here's what Joe told me. He said, "When you panic, you can't breathe, and I panicked. And you have to breathe to use the inhaler! The only way I can get what will stabilize me is to relax!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Panic Mistakes."
Panic really can shut you down, close you off, and keep you from the very thing you need in order to make it. In fact, when you panic, you can make some mega-mistakes. Like the people described in our word for today from the Word of God from Isaiah 50 beginning in verse 10.
"Let him who walks in the dark and has no light..." (Now, that's the kind of situation where you get scared and desperate for a way out.) "...Let him who walks in the dark and has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God." When it's dark and you're starting to panic, grab your Father's hand, trust in Him, and relax. You'll be able to breathe again. Okay, that sounds great, but a lot of times when it's dark, that's not how we handle it.
God goes on. "But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches..." (This is us when we can't wait for God's answer.) He says, "...go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you will receive from My hand: You will lie down in torment."
God says, "If you panic and you start figuring out your own answer instead of waiting for My answer, it's just going to lead to misery." I'm pretty sure you have, as I do, plenty of living proof in your life of that happening. God seems to be taking too long. You're sure something has to be done. Your fear, your anxiety, your impatience takes over, and you start trying to make it happen yourself. The result? A bigger mess - an answer that really just creates greater problems. And like my friend who can't draw on the relief of his inhaler while he's panicked, you miss the power and love of God that you need so desperately in moments like those. It's like God says, "If you can't trust Me and wait for My answer, you're on your own."
Maybe there are things right now that are causing you a lot of pressure or stress, a lot of uncertainty, maybe even a lot of pain. Maybe there's a need or situation that is growing increasingly desperate and you don't know what to do. That's the time for a person to "trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God." Your Heavenly Father is totally in control, totally committed to you, actively working out His perfect plan for you, and doing everything right on time - no matter how it feels or looks.
Just because it's dark, don't start lighting your own fires and getting your own torches. You'll mess up what God wants to do. This is a time to relax spiritually, not to panic. As you surrender yourself and that situation, each new day God pours His peace and His power and His grace all over you. If you panic, you'll miss His spiritual oxygen that gives life when it's hard to breathe.