“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)
So…what are you going to do now?
The question above is one that so many of us get asked – and probably one we most often ask of ourselves. I know I’ve been pondering this now that I’m home for a bit after spending six months in medical missions with YWAM in New Zealand and Fiji. However, I wonder how often we sincerely ask this other question: “God…what is it You would have me do?” Do we cultivate the discipline to pause and ask our Maker what would He want us to do in every situation like it says in Philippians 4:6?
It’s easy involve God in the big things. For instance, in Fiji the majority of my time was going door-to-door with no doctor and only armed with a small bag of medical supplies. It brought me as close to a panic attack as I’d ever been! Every house I remember praying: “OK Lord, I thought I heard you say go to NZ and do medical and go to Fiji, but now there’s no doctor on my team. Now I think you’ve told me to just sit back and pray so…Lord how would you have me pray? What words do I use?” **
In those settings, you literally can’t rely on anything else. What became the issue for me then was believing that hearing back from God is hard. I was almost afraid to turn to him because of the assumed disappointment that might follow. The “still small voice” is never quite what I think it’s going to be like; I’m still learning to recognize it. But if you believe it’s hard to hear, then practicing to pray in both the big and small times becomes a bit of a chore.
Now that I’m back home, my struggle is in the day-to-day march of my life where I tend to forget to practice turning to God in everything. Have you ever asked God what you should wear for the day? I’ve met people who have been able to have conversations about Jesus and faith just because they asked God that very question that morning! I love this example because so often we go to Him for the big questions when He’s just as happy to deal with the small things as well. And it is easier to practice asking and listening on the small things than the big!
Maybe all this pausing to ask God first comes off as a bit extreme. After all, we have been raised to love our individual freedoms, our right to choice. That’s the beauty of our humble God; his humility has given us the freedom to come to him in all things, big, small, good and bad. It all starts with allowing God to be involved in the intricacies of life. His answer and our obedience are the other parts of the equation. I love the Philippians verses, because it tells us how to go to God, and then gives us the instant gratification of peace.
I leave you with these lyrics from a song that’s been my prayer the past couple of months both in the small and big times:
God I look to you; I won’t be overwhelmed. Give me vision to see things like you do. God I look to you; you’re where my help comes from. Give me wisdom to know just what to do. – “God I Look to You”, Bethel Worship
**By the way, God answered us in miraculous ways in Fiji: One visit, a woman’s knees got healed. Another day we saw a woman’s hip straighten out. The week after, another visit saw scoliosis healed. All of us present can agree that none of the words spoken was our own!