Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Week Four - The Appropriate Response


Have you ever over-reacted to a situation? You know, when you got angry too quickly or spoke too harshly, or let fear and frustration take over. 

I heard the funniest story this past weekend about a family member who totally freaked out when stopped by the cops. Instead of remaining calm, she tore into a rant, threatened them with bodily harm, and turned into a screaming banshee. We all laughed as she admitted her behavior was so awful and embarrassing, she was sure the video of her response would wind up in a police training seminar.

Then, there are times when overwhelming feelings of sadness and despair color our every response. We see no light, no hope, no faith, just doom and gloom. I must admit watching the news evokes these responses from my soul. I have chosen to limit watching the news and turned myself to prayer instead.

I used to tell my teenagers, “Your reaction is your choice.” I was trying to remind them of their responsibility for their actions and help them learn to calculate the outcome. Today, I find myself repeating those same words to my heart. What is the appropriate response to the upheaval, the anger, the hate, and the fear in our world today? My reaction is my choice.

Chris Tiegreen put it succinctly, “Faith is the appropriate response. As critical as things appear, God is still on the throne, Jesus is still Lord over all, and your situation is much larger to you than it is to Him.”

I had to agree. Our situation seems so large, but it is minuscule when compared to the whole of creation, the vastness of space, and the utter endlessness of God Himself.

Billy Graham said, “Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us.” I find that so true. When I notice anxious thoughts and emotions, I can most usually trace them back to a lack of faith in God, a fear, or a belief in hopelessness. Thankfully, God’s Spirit is always there to help me come back to reason, to rest in faith, and to carry on.

If our reaction is our choice, what choice are we making? What is the appropriate response today? Let me share with you a few scriptures from the Psalms that aid our responses.

Psalm 57:7 “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.”

Psalm 56:3 “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”

Psalm 60:11, 12 “Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.”

Psalm 61:2, 3 “When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.”

Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.”

Psalm 27:13, 14 “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

You see, our response is calculated by God’s word, measured by our faith, and rewarded according to our obedience. Faith is the appropriate response.

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