Coughing and Sneezing...
Remember when it was okay to sneeze or cough? I was in a store the other day and I sneezed in my arm and I got looks. Not just any looks, but the kind of looks that said I was "contagious" or "dying". It was very disturbing to me. Yes, when you could cough and sneeze in public, those were the good ole' days.
Gone are the days of "normal". Will things ever be normal again? i don't really think so. We crossed a threshold and I don't think we will ever go back. Is that a bad thing? I think in some ways it is and some ways it is not.
Yes, I do not like Zoom meetings. I have discovered that I do like seeing people face-to-face. I know that I took this for granted previously. There are things that have inconvenienced me, but I have truly enjoyed my time with my family. Yes, we have gotten on each other's last nerve, but over all we have had family dinner time meals together and I would not trade that time for anything. Time is definitely a commodity and should be cherished with those you love.
So how about you? What has this time of no coughing and sneezing taught you? Are you freaking out? Have you stopped to think about anything? Maybe just maybe it has caused you to stop and do some introspection of your life. Like what you see? Not?
Yes, we are definitely a people of hurts, habits and hang-ups. Some would tell you to not be a messy person, but in reality those people are probably the messiest. There are some who would tell you not to freak out? Those are the ones who are buying and stockpiling toilet paper. If we all stop and think for a minute, there is not a single one of us who are not messy and who have freaked out.
Do you think God gets angry when you freak out? I don't think so. Instead of of a slap on the wrist, I believe it's a big hug. I have seen my boys freak out at an event that happened around them and instead of me getting angry I reached out my arms and held onto them. God does the same thing.
Psalm 61:1-4 says, "O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth,
I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!"
"I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed." A freak out moment. So should Christ followers have freak out moments? Yes, but if only if you realize that Christ is all sufficient and He will take care of you. So freaking out is okay? Only if...
1. You visit your freak out moment and not dwell in it. A freak out moment is a stop moment in your life and not a permanent address. Psalm 61:3 says, "for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me." Your address should not be 909 Freak Out Lane. Maybe the enemy has convinced you that things are never going to change and you are dwelling at your new address. Maybe you have moved in to overwhelmed and panic. God wants us to be concerned about things in life, but He does not want us to be worried and overwhelmed.
Jesus said, "Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one."
I visited freak out lane today, but I am not living there. I am not getting my mail at that address.
2. You visit your freak out moment and step up and not step down. If you have a moment and you freak out don't give up on Psalm 61:1-4 and don't give up on God. Don't miss the promise: "From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me."
In the moment of freak out I want it to be a step up and not a step down. I want to remember the promises of God and that He will not leave me in my freak out moment. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. The Rock is not a place, but it is a person. When the hardship comes, when the addiction is strong, when the freak out is full blown lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. Freak out is okay if it helps you take a step up and not step down.
Matthew 14:27-33 says, "But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!" Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed."
Our freak out moment can cause us to reach out to Jesus and be pulled up to Him or it can paralyze us and cause us to sink. Every freak out moment is an opportunity. It's an opportunity for us to run to the Rock that is higher than us so that He can lead us up.
3. You visit your freak out moment and realize that Christ is able. Christ is able! A "perfect storm" a pandemic can be a gift from God. Looking past all the questions you may have think about this. The perfect storm shakes us up and refines us. It helps us see who we are and who we don't need to be. It moves us from comfortable to realize that we are not in control. I am not as strong as I thought I was. I cannot manage the issues of this world. I need Christ to be able in my life.
Philippians 4:13 says, "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." A lot of times we forget that part of the verse. We say we can do everything and leave Him out. However, freak out happens and it brings us back to the awaken that Christ is able. We can take the pressure off of ourselves because God is not looking for super heroes. Psalm 103:13-14 says, "The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust." He knows what we are made of.
However, He is not looking for spiritual wimps either. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7b-9, "This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed."
God is not telling us to never freak out or not to be be human. But He is telling us that we are a container of the power of the Holy Spirit. We are human and we are frail, but He is strong. In the freak out you may be pressed and persecuted but you will never be crushed, never left in despair and never abandoned or fully destroyed by God.
This is a promise to us! Are you in freak out? Are you at the end of your rope? Are you hanging by a thread? God does not say hold on tighter, but He says, "Let go." I do not mean give up, but I do mean to let go of the idea that you have to hold your freak out all together and remember that Christ is able. He is able to catch you when you let go. Free fall into the arms and grace of God. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Honestly, this will help you realize that you never had the rope in the first place. God had you all the time in your freak out. the enemy wants you to think there is a rope, but if you know Christ then He has had you close to Him the whole time, even in freak out.
If you are in freak out take a 20 inch journey and ask God for His help because He is able. Take the 20 inch journey and let God know you are in freak out and can't hold it all together but acknowledge that He can. Christ is able. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
Louie Giglio said, "Nothing happens on Earth that doesn’t pass through the filter of God’s sovereign plans and His desire to give us the very best, which is Himself.”