Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
A sailor who has sailed the ocean blue develops sea legs along the way. As the boat moves atop the ocean waves, the gentle swaying which once thrust the greenhorn around now is absorbed. They can effortlessly walk across the deck amidst the crashing waves and rising surf unaffected. When a storm arises, they remain confident as they navigate their duties because they have confidence that the captive will warn them should a rogue wave threaten their work. He is the eyes and ears perched high above their tasks. He is watching over them. They trust the captain so that even in the midst of a raging storm they can still fill the belly of the ship with that bounty they are after. Trust is the key to a successfully run ship in this scenario. However, if the captain does not pay attention or a man is whisked into the sea – all confidence is lost. This is a problem for now nothing will get done. The men will watch over their shoulders rather than working as a team. Arguments will rise up as those who trust will clash with the lack of confidence of others. It is important that we trust our captain, our Savior and our Lord. If not, we will not make it back to shore prosperous but shipwrecked and defeated.
Psalm 107:26-31 (NLT) Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
“What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!” I love this verse and all its implications. Are you in a storm? Is the wind pushing you around? Is the rain pelting your face? Do you need some relief? Are you looking for a way out? The ship was tossed to the heavens. It plunged down to the depths of the sea. The sailors cringed filled with terror. They were tossed back and forth. They cried out to the Lord. They did not delineate the problem or propose a solution to satisfy their need. They didn’t tell God how to calm the wind, stop the rain or even tame the storm as is human nature. They were beyond pride with hearts that were humbled. Their prayer, “Lord, help!” The sentence did not end there as a loving God who hears the cries of His Children immediately responded, “And He saved them from their distress.” It goes on to say that He calmed the storm to a whisper. It doesn’t say it ended or died down, but God muted it. He stilled the waves though there was still a current keeping the ship on course for the harbor. Harbor means home. It is where we excite the vessel carrying us to live in the place of permanency to which we are called. God is taking you somewhere today. Have the seas gotten just a bit too rough? If so, have you called out to the Lord? What was your request? Was it a plea or petition? Did you just say, “Help”?
Our prayers are based on expectation. Words forming our request made know to God. We are told clearly not to worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Sometimes, I think it is in our prayers to God that our all too human heart is revealed to us if we would take the time to listen to our words. Do we pray for resolution of our trial, trouble, heartache and pain or do we ask God to release the Holy Spirit so His Will can be done. Do we ask the Lord for His Will or remind Him of our own desires. See I think that sometimes our struggles last until we give out rather than the storm ending so that the Lord can give us more than we can think or ask. He has a better way and higher plan that is often overlooked and unwanted in the midst of human desire for comfort and convenience. When the only thing we can say is “Lord, help!” It is the most powerful prayer of all as we release all of our expectation to accept His Plan and Purpose for our life.
To simply state our need and move into thankfulness touches the heart of God. Total trust in the Lord allows us to give Him our heart’s desire and expect Him to do what He promised. It allows us to live in complete and total peace that God is able and will do exactly what He has planned to do according to His Promises. How do we get to a place of “Lord, help”? We must come to the end of ourselves. The sailors in Psalm 107 were called so by profession. This was not their first voyage. It was not the only storm that they had experienced. However, this one took them past their experience and beyond their comfort zone. Voided of self-confidence and lacking in trust for the natural captain, they cried out to the Lord. He immediately responded. God responds to our weakness because our weakness makes room for His Strength and Power to take over.
Psalm 37:5-7 (NLT) Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
To paraphrase these verses into my life goals goes something like this – Commit EVERYTHING to the Lord. Trust God. Totally rely on His Help. Believe He is doing just that. Be still in His Presence until His Word comes to pass. Wait for Him to act in all areas of my life. I am committed to finding and living in total Peace with God. It takes effort. It is a commitment. It gets uncomfortable. However, once I experience the stillness of living in the Peace of God as it carries me through life – I can’t go back. There is a place of peace reserved for those who choose godliness and holiness as a lifestyle that allows them to step over circumstances, ignore inconveniences, settling in to wait on the Lord. Content just to be present until He comes. This is who I desire to be. “Lord, help me.”
I Kings 19:11-12 (NLT) “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
Just to refresh, Elijah had just execute the false prophets after making fools of them all. Jezebel, the most powerful woman in the land at that time, was furious and threatened to kill the prophet. She must have been very influential and ruthless to send him running into hiding. So the Lord comes looking for His Beloved and finds him hiding in a cave. So the Lord invites Elijah out of hiding to engage in conversation. When Elijah emerges it is in to catastrophic conditions including a windstorm and earthquake with fire, too. After all the elements of nature calmed down, the Lord whispered to Elijah in a still, small voice – “What are you doing here?”
The Lord is well aware of our circumstances. He knows every detail of the situation that sent you into hiding. He has come to call you out. You will have to trust Him to take the first step. Crying out to the Lord doesn’t always stall the storm, calm the sea, or stop the wind in our life, it carries us to a new level in the Lord as we learn to trust Him more. If we could only stop looking at the conditions around us and listen for the still, small voice of God. Trust waits for the danger to pass knowing He is waiting on the other side.
Daniel 10:18-19 (NLT) Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”
To live in peaceful stillness in the Presence of God will always require trust. More trust is needed the higher we go as the ground seems farther and farther away. Stepping out on faith, we are carried to a plain of understanding that is too comprehensive and complex for our finite human mind to unravel so we must trust and believe. However, from time to time, when we look down in our flesh – we are completely terrorized by the details of our life once hidden in our confidence and hope in God. See without total and complete trust we will go no further than our hands can touch and our eyes can see.
Daniel had been praying and fasting for three weeks. He had a disturbing vision that weighed heavy on his heart. The Lord came to Daniel. What was the first thing that the angel told Daniel? He told Daniel that he was precious to God. (Daniel 10:11) You are precious to God. “Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” (Daniel 10:12) I know sometimes we don’t think the Lord hears us but He does. The moment that we humble ourselves and pray – a command is released in Heaven on our behalf. Your wait time is not reflective of His Desire to be with you. He is with you! It is all the other details of your completion and wholeness that are being called to order. The angel goes on to explain the battle engaged in just to get to him through the reigning and ruling spirits of darkness terrorizing the world. (Daniel 10:13-14) In the encounter with God through His Mighty Messenger, Daniel finds that his strength is renewed. God will renew you when you are determined to live in His Presence. If our pursuit of His Will and Way does not end when the answer to our request doesn’t come ten minutes or ten days after we pray, but by believing we choose to live in His Presence and wait until He comes.
Colossians 1:19-23 (NLT) For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
God reconciled everything in our life once Jesus paid the debt for our sin. Now we are free to live in right standing with God and daily in His Presence at the foot of His Throne. Along with the beautiful and wonderful gift of salvation, we are given freedom. We choose the life we live and how we live it. God doesn’t force His Way or Will on us. He just promises is that it will meet and exceed all our human expectations. Whether or not we believe this will impact our willingness to continue pressing when the pressure is overwhelming. It will keep us committed when compromise becomes an easy escape. It is when we continue to believe this truth and choose to stand firmly upon it that we experience God’s Peace and can live in His Stillness no matter what our situation. Our full expectation for this life and forever become firmly affixed to Jesus. It is right here in this place that one can “be still and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10)
I Thessalonians 5:16-24 (NLT) Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
It is our tendency to complicate the Christian walk with unnecessary measures. Things that we choose to do for the Lord that are not His Requirement stemming from a prideful heart that needs to be vilified in the midst of its own flesh’s destruction. Peace is evidence of trust that is not misplaced. When we retrieve our broken trust dealt out in the world taking what is left and laying it all at the Feet of Jesus, he immediately responds. Trust is not what we say but how we live. Our expectation will be in that which we trust. I desire the God of Peace to make me holy in every way. I want my whole spirit and entire body to be kept blameless so that I may stand boldly and confidently before Jesus one day. Only the Lord can create a clean heart in me and renew a steadfast spirit. It happens when I utter just two words, “Lord, help” and place all of my life in His Most Capable Hands. It is not a fancy gesture or overwhelming ceremony just a daily turning over my life to the Lord. It may sound weak and unsensational but really God is after our weakness to empower us with strength so anything else just will not do.
Do you find your circumstances overwhelming today? Is the storm closing in? Just two words will change this journey you are on no matter where you are or what you are doing. The prayer that changes everything? “Lord, help.” He is waiting, watching and yearning for you His Precious One to say those words. In the meantime, we can be joyful. Keep praying. Be thankful in all circumstances. Allow the Holy Spirit to move. Why? Because help is on the way and His Hope will never disappoint.
Romans 15:13 (NLT) I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.