October 12, 2020

Think it Through

 Devotion for the Week...

The Backyardigans is one of my favourite kids shows (and I've watched A LOT of kids shows over the years, lol). In The Backyardigans five kids (a moose, a penguin, a hippo, a kangaroo and Uniqua, who is a made up animal) share a backyard and each episode is the story of one of their imaginary adventures. They're great fun and, as a bonus, they feature catchy music 😊 During the course of the adventure, they sometimes encounter trouble that makes Pablo, the penguin, start to panic and he runs around in circles babbling about the problem while the others repeat his name, trying to get his attention. When he finally hears them, they point out the reality of the situation and deal with whatever is going on.

Pablo's moment of panic and the others calming him down was exactly what came to mind a few days ago when I read the story of Samson's parents in Judges 13. One day Manoah's wife (poor woman doesn't even get a name) got a visit from the angel of the Lord, who gave her this message: "Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. So be careful; you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines" (vv.3-5). She ran to tell Manoah about the 'man of God', and Manoah prayed that he would come back to give them more instructions about raising this child. The angel appeared again. They spoke with him, then offered a sacrifice to the Lord. "And as Manoah and his wife watched, the Lord did an amazing thing. As the flames from the altar shot up toward the sky, the angel of the Lord ascended in the fire. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell with their faces to the ground. The angel did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Manoah finally realized it was the angel of the Lord, and he said to his wife, “We will certainly die, for we have seen God!" (vv. 19-22).

I can almost see Manoah running in circles, flapping his arms in panic, Pablo style. I can also see his wife standing there calmly, watching him and saying, "Manoah...Manoah...MANOAH!" When she finally gets him to calm down enough to listen, she says, "If the Lord were going to kill us, he wouldn’t have accepted our burnt offering and grain offering. He wouldn’t have appeared to us and told us this wonderful thing and done these miracles" (v. 23). It's like she's saying, 'Think it through, Manoah. Let's look at the facts here."

In those moments when we're prone to panic, it's helpful to take a step back and look at the facts. Maybe the problem isn't quite as dire as we originally thought. Or, while there may be a big problem to deal with, we may also have more resources to help us tackle it than we realized. 

Whatever situations we face (and 2020 has certainly presented more than a few difficult ones), there are a few facts that we can use to calm the panic.

"For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

"And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them" (Romans 8:28).

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

We're not alone, no matter what we go through | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Windows

As Jesus said in that last verse, we will have trouble in this world. That's just a part of life and there's no way to avoid it. Running in circles in panic doesn't help, though. It can be hard to think problems through, whether we've been broadsided by a diagnosis or a global pandemic or whatever the case may be, but looking at the facts just might reveal the way to deal with it all. If nothing else, it will remind us that we're not alone, no matter what we go through. "God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you" (Hebrews 13:6).

1 comment:

  1. Last summer, I was tentatively diagnosed with something nasty - prime situation to panic and freak out! Instead, I felt flooded with peace - and 8 weeks later got my biopsy results and found out that the "nasty" diagnosis was really just an unpleasant one. Plus I had a summer boating experience that again was totally freak-out worthy - until God reminded me that He's "bigger than the boogie man" (Thanks Veggie Tales!)

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