Photo by J. Towner

Our community has experienced wildfires in the past but these are unprecedented times resulting in an unparalleled fire.

We are surrounded by fires on three sides, roads are closed, towns burnt to the ground, and people have lost everything – loved ones, pets, homes, possessions.

People evacuated to safety in the middle of the night with just the clothes on their backs, barefooted, disoriented, and scared. They are trying to make sense of all that is happening, formulate their next step plans, but really how does one do that when your world has been completely turned inside out and then torched.

And even with the best efforts of the firefighters, no end is in sight. The flames continue to lap up the majestic landscape leaving only chard destruction behind.

U. N. P. R. E. C. E. D. E. N. T. E. D. times.

COVID-19, racial unrest, political turmoil, and now – now my sanctuary, the little piece of the world I call home, is engulfed in flames.

I was talking with a friend this week. She is having difficulty wrapping her head around all that is going on. She voiced fear, shared that uncertainty had thrown her off-kilter, confessed that anxiety is settling in, and stated an overwhelming desire to “do something.”

Make unjust things just.

Heal the brokenness of those around her.

End the suffering.

It is frustrating when we can’t just snap our fingers and make all of this go away. But the reality is that these events are fundamentally out of our control, such a difficult concept to accept.

My friend and I share many similarities. But when life gets complicated, when circumstances are about to overcome us, our differences surface.

She is a strong, well-educated, confident woman. And when she begins to feel that need to “do something,” she launches into strategy mode. Researching, contemplating, working to conjure up a plan to mediate the situation. Please don’t get me wrong, doing your research and making plans are not wrong. But in some cases the situation can’t be resolved, peace can’t be found through human efforts.

When life is out of control, you need more than your strategies to address the problem.

I’ve watched this dear woman’s behavior, each time producing more and more anxiety. Each time resulting in an emotional meltdown. Each time leaving family and friends to pick up the pieces. There has to be another way, a better way to face the uncertain.

I am a strong-willed woman, well educated, and confident. Like my friend, I move to “fix-it” mode when faced with life’s difficulties. Unfortunately, I can’t wrestle with a wildfire. But I certainly should be able to solve the homeless problem in our community. I should be able to bring justice to those that have been violated. I should be able to bring peace to women that succumb to the behaviors of their pasts. I should be able to do these things!

And then…

God whispers,

It’s not your job.

When my life is burning around me, leaving my dreams and desires in a pile of ash, when my human efforts result in only frustration and a growing sense of despair, once my “fixing” has failed, I turn to God.

God doesn’t promise to eliminate the challenges but He does faithfully reassure us that He will never leave, never forsake, never fail.

Deuteronomy 31:6 reminds us,

Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.

The Message (MSG)

When life burns and spins out of control, my dear friend relies on her abilities, and if, when, they fail she searches for things to make the hurt go away. To make the situation right.

After my attempts to fix fail, I do the only thing that brings real resolution. I lean into God, the Creator of the universe, the One that lived and died to reconcile my sin for eternity, the focus of my faith. And I am slowly understanding that all I can do, all He wants me to do, is trust Him.

BeLOVED, life is hard and complicated and I can guarantee you that it will not be fair or easy. But I stand confident that I can’t, you can’t, do it alone. Consider, turning your uncertainty, your pain over to the only One that promises to turn it into fullness. – Jesus.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

 Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)


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