Focus

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Calling 911 and telling the operator our propane tank was leaking put a lot of things into perspective. But first, let me explain something.

The coronavirus is a thief and has been trying to steal my focus. (Is it trying to steal yours? Your peace?)

I was finally going to my first writer’s conference in Georgia at the end of March. I’d been hoping and praying about conferences for years, knowing it’s the best way to meet an agent.

Of course, roadblocks popped up in front of me concerning this conference, so I prayed about each one. And I watched as God made a way for me, removing each roadblock. (Conference cost, plane ticket cost, traveling alone, hotel cost, and our daughter’s school schedule – God provided through some lovely individuals who blessed me beyond words.)

But then came the coronavirus. (You know, the one we keep seeing pictures of, those little blobs floating around wearing spikes – a synonym for corona, by the way, and according to my medical dictionary, is “crown”). And so the conference was canceled.

I’m being honest here. I fell apart. I sobbed and questioned why God would move all of the other roadblocks and yet allow this one to stay. I wondered if I should still go to Georgia; if I might bump into the agent I was hoping to meet. When I asked God, I heard in my spirit:

Don’t look for the agent, look for Me.

So when this virus began stealing everyone’s focus, I fought to look for God. (Not an easy task when the focus of the world all around seems to be on this virus!) I looked for God and saw Him in some pretty amazing ways. (Just look at the surge of scripture on social media!) But I had no idea I would see Him the way I did yesterday:

I realized I’d left our mudroom light on while backing out of the garage, so my daughter got out of the car to turn it off. That’s when we smelled it. I didn’t know what it was, but when she said it smelled like eggs, I knew I needed to check our propane tank.

Our propane tank was hissing and the smell was strong. I rushed back to the car, called 911, and drove to the end of our driveway.

Silence. I watched our house in the rearview mirror as we sat in the car and waited for the fire department.  And I cried out to God to protect everyone and our home, my voice breaking, the words falling short.

But I was looking for Him. In that moment of complete helplessness, I looked for God in that moment and cried out to Him.

And He showed up.

He came with the roaring siren of a fire truck and four firemen to turn off the tank and inspect our home. God protected everyone involved, and He kept our home safe. And when I walked side by side with those firemen back into the house, I knew God was already inside and everything was going to be okay.

When things leave us holding our breath, anticipating tragedy, look for God, my friends, and cry out to Him. Don’t allow those microscopic blobs wearing their tiny crowns to steal your focus or your peace.

Fix your eyes on the King of Kings who wears many crowns and has you in the palm of His hand.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV.)

“His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.” (Revelation 19:12a NIV.)

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28 NIV.)

“That’s right. Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’” (Isaiah 41:13 MSG.)

(Photo from pexels.com.)

When You’re Faced With an Overwhelming Obstacle

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Are you facing an overwhelming obstacle and you’re at your wits end? Maybe debt is circling around you and you can’t see a way out; all you see is how it’s about to cave in and crush you. Or maybe you’ve got a health issue the doctors can’t solve, and you’re so tired of being sick and tired.

Whatever your obstacle is, no matter how hard you try to fix it or figure it out, you can’t. You just can’t.

You’re stuck.

It’s an uncomfortable place to be, isn’t it? Feeling helpless. Feeling as if you have no control in the matter. It’s as if you’re waiting for a strong wind to knock you over. At least then, you begin to think, I can get a break.

But what if I told you this is a good place to be?

That’s right. When you are completely helpless and you’re facing a situation that you simply can’t fix, there is only one thing to do.

Cry out to God. Cry out in your faith.

Think about it. If you just escaped a terrible situation and there were some awfully cruel people chasing you to bring you back and suddenly you found yourself stuck as they closed in behind you and before you, lots and lots of water, what would you do?

Another scenario to think about:

What if you were facing an enormous, monstrous man dressed in armor (armor that probably weighs more than you!) who wants to squash you, your family and friends, and your way of life? What would you do?

Would you, like Moses and David, cry out to God and declare your faith in Him? Would you brace yourself for God to move on your behalf?

Would you stand back in awe as water lifted from its place and formed walls on both sides of you, the ground becoming dry so you and everyone with you could walk safely across?

Would you run to the battle line, reaching for a stone and knowing in your heart and in your gut that God Almighty would never let you down? Would you remember how He helped you in the past?

What obstacle are you facing? What is impossible for you today?

Cry out to God in your faith and brace yourself for the impossible to take place.

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14 NIV.)

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” (Exodus 14:21-22 NIV.)

“And David said, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’” (1 Samuel 17:37a ESV.)

“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.’” (1 Samuel 17:45 NIV.)

“And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:47 NLT.)

“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.” (1 Samuel 17 48-49 NIV.)

“For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37 NLT.)