It’s bright and sunny outside today. Beautiful blue sky, barely a cloud, perfect for playing, going for walks, drying washing. No doubt if you’re reading this, you’re old enough to know that not every day is like that. Some days, it rains. Some days, it storms. Some days it’s freezing and other days you burn just walking outside.
And then, there are those days that are just overcast. My least favourite. I love the sun. I love the rain. Like most Aussies, I love a good storm. But overcast days? It’s like they can’t quite commit. Not clear, not hot, not rainy, just annoyingly muggy and indecisive.
And, among other things, terrible for washing.
They’re the days when I hang washing and then spend the whole day second-guessing myself, checking the radar to make sure the dark clouds above my house aren’t about to bucket down rain and forcing myself to trust it despite how dark the clouds are. (Another story in itself!) Balancing the likelihood of rain with the likelihood of the washing drying if I bring it inside.
But the other day, as I was once again going back and forth between the clouds and the radar, I suddenly realised how ridiculous I was being. There I was watching the darkening clouds and stressing over whether to get the washing off or leave it and risk the rain – something I seem to do all too often – and it hit me.
The washing was already dry.
It didn’t matter whether it rained or not while I was out because the washing was already dry. It didn’t need to be out on the line. I could bring it in then.
I do that a lot with hearing God too. I stress over whether he wants me to do something or not, or whether I’ve heard his voice clearly or it’s just my own thoughts, only to come back to the fact that I’ve missed the point. He’s already made it clear. For example...
Should I encourage that person?
Encourage one another and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)
How am I going to sleep tonight, knowing my child’s not well/I have that big exam tomorrow/I’m don’t know how I’m going to fit everything in/my friend is heartbroken…?
If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? … Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (Matthew 6:30-33 TM)
Do I have to forgive that person? They hurt me and I didn’t do anything wrong! I’m in the right here…
Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)
Can I really trust God? Does he realise life is spinning out of control? Does he even care?
But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! (Isaiah 43:1-3 TM)
But even if I did go talk to that person, what would I say? Why would they listen to me? Not that I hate myself or anything but I'm just me. It's not like I'm a pastor or someone in authority or anything.
Each person is given something to do that shows who God is... (1 Corinthians 12:5 TM)
But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength, so that through me the Message might be proclaimed... (2 Timothy 4:17 NIV)
There are so many more instances. Things I pray for and stress over when God’s already answered – thousands of years before I was even born. He’s always going to choose to love someone over shunning them, to forgive rather than hold on to bitterness. He’ll always ask for faith over knowledge and for us to trust because he knows what he’s doing.
The Bible is full of answers. Sure, the specifics of our day to day change but God’s character never will and neither will his promises. Don’t make the mistake I make all too often and get so caught up in the questions and worries that you miss the fact that he’s already answered.