Heart Lifters Series: Waiting for God When We’re Weary

Suggested Reading: Psalm 3

As I talk to people over the phone and online, while respecting the boundaries of social distancing, I’ve been noticing a tone of weariness seeping into our conversations.

We’ve been isolating ourselves for about three weeks. Since I battle chronic pain and fatigue daily, I’m used to being on lockdown with my sidekick and service dog, Callie. We’ve enjoyed having my husband home with us and are used to working side by side, so we’ve been productive . . . when our sweet fur-baby isn’t antsy and needing extra attention.

But as the world continues to fight COVID-19, this season of separation feels different.

Today, my friend, Patti, and her beautiful family dropped off a homecooked meal for us to enjoy. Even though hugging hurts me physically, my heart longed to give her a big ol’ hug and tell her how much I appreciate her generous love for God and others.

Not being able to hug someone because we want to keep each other safe from a virus that’s causing death across the world is not the same as not hugging to avoid muscle spasms.

I stood on my porch. They stood in my driveway. We expressed love for one another with smiles and encouraging words, promising to continue praying for each other.

God’s love reached across the safe-distance between us and stretched across town as they drove home and I closed the door behind me.

I went back to working on my computer and gave in to the tears.

I miss my friend, but I want to keep her safe as I keep my family safe.

Love for one another, not fear of catching COVID-19, is keeping us apart.

Still, many of us are weary.

Some of us are tired of feeling alone, anxious, or afraid.

Some of us are sick of being cooped up, overwhelmed by facts, and worried about how long this pandemic is going to last.

This weariness is absolutely normal.

When we face real danger and countless unknowns, waiting for answers and relief feels impossible to bear.

How can we feel safe and secure when the wait feels endless?

David penned Psalm 3 when his son, Absalom, decided to kill him. Running for his life, David longed for a sense of security and peace. Fleeing a deadly enemy, the psalmist lived in a state of paranoia. I can imagine David living on alert, looking over his shoulder, anxious and afraid.

How many of us can relate to feelings of anxiety, fear, and even a bit of paranoia as we scrub our hands and wipe down surfaces we never thought would be considered dangerous?

How many of us can understand how David felt when he couldn’t sleep, when he feared stepping out in public, when he longed for an assurance of safety?

Being isolated as we submit to the #COVID-19 safety measures while the world continues facing natural disasters, economic uncertainty, and relational turmoil, can wear us out physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually.

How can we experience peace when the world feels so unpeaceful?

As David faced a determined foe in Absalom, he became overcome with increasing enemies. Some people criticized his decision to trust God as his helper (Psalm 3:1-2, CSB).

Instead of cringing into defeat, David turned his cries toward the only one he believed capable of rescuing him.

“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory and the one who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the LORD and he answers me from his holy mountain.” (vv. 3-4, CSB)

David’s plea is an intimate prayer directly from his mouth to God’s heart.

The psalmist’s displays a confident tone in his word choices, as he writes:

“I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the LORD sustains me.” Psalm 3:5 (CSB, emphasis mine)

David didn’t lose sleep while under relentless attack because he knew from past experiences that God would remain his constant support in all circumstances.

With thousands of adversaries coming at him from all sides, David refused to succumb to his fears (v. 6). Scripture doesn’t say David never feared. He wouldn’t be asking for rescue if he wasn’t afraid of his enemies (v. 7).

Acknowledging the danger, taking precautions, and proclaiming dependence on God showed David’s wisdom and faith.

Though the coronavirus seems to be flanking us, infecting hundreds of thousands of people, we do not have to bow down in defeat. By admitting our true feelings and our struggles, we’re not showing a lack of faith.

We can place our anxious thoughts before God with confidence in His mercy.

The Lord Almighty has proven his faithfulness in the past and will not falter in this present darkness.

God is our Shield, our Refuge, our Protector. He provides today, just as He’s provided in the days we’ve long forgotten.

Wielding the Sword of Truth (God’s Word) we can pause for prayer throughout the day with heart-deep assurance in our trustworthy Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Waiting for God when we’re weary isn’t easy, but it’s also not impossible when we’re reliant on His strength instead of our own.

God of Comfort, thank You for affirming You are able and available to be our ever-present help in trouble. Please help us name our fears, our worries, and our struggles, so that we will no longer be fighting an invisible enemy. Help us combat our uncertainty with Your sure hope and sufficient grace.

Please show us who we can encourage today as we remain physically separated because of our love and concern for one another. Save our world from this spreading virus, Lord. Rescue us by the life-giving power of Your Holy Spirit. Empower us to rise up in courage, as You help us discover creative and tangible ways to lovingly serve You and others as we unite to fight the coronavirus by staying physically separate but intimately connected. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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What real dangers, fears, worries, or uncertainties are heavy on your heart today?

What does it mean to you when you remember God is your shield, your protector, your sustainer who lifts up your head toward His enduring hope? 

How can pausing for prayer throughout the day help us focus on His ability to be our ever-present help no matter how much trouble surrounds us? 

I look forward to hearing from you in the comment section below.

You can also join me for Pause for Prayer with Xochitl Dixon videos on Facebook.

 

I will record the daily videos and save them on Facebook so you can join me at your convenience. I’ll read through a portion of Scripture, offer heart-lifter moment, and end in prayer. I’ll be sharing from Psalm 3 today. To join me for today’s heart-lifting Pause for Prayer video, please click here.

 


For more encouragement and prayers to help you trust God when you’re weary in the wait, check out Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, available for purchase from Amazon, Our Daily Bread Publishers, Barnes and Noble, and ChristianBook.

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You can love your neighbors by purchasing extra copies to share as gifts.

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Walking with Confident Faith in the Midst of Crisis

 

Suggested Reading: Psalm 77

Bombarded by daily news updates about the devastating spread of COVID-19, it’s difficult for many to avoid the temptation of succumbing to fear, worry, anger, and even panic.

When real, yet invisible, danger invades our communities and affects our day-to-day living, how can children of God live with confident faith?

The Bible offers much wisdom to help us combat the seemingly uncontrollable worries and fears plaguing our world as we face the devastating global impact of COVID-19.

But as I prayed for the hurting and for my loved ones that were miles away from me, I needed to process my emotions with God. So, I turned to the book of Psalms and let the Lord lead me through a cleansing time of teary praise and prayer.

When I got to Psalm 77, I had to chuckle. Much like me, the writer obviously believed in processing raw emotions with God.

He begins with an honest lament revealing his confidence in God’s ability to hear his prayers.

“I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.” (v. 1)

Then, admitting his weakness with a heart-wrenching feeling of rejection, the psalmist declares:

“I sought the Lord in my day of trouble. My hands were continually lifted up all night long; I refused to be comforted. I think of God; I groan; I meditate; my spirit becomes weak.” (v. 2-3)

As a praying man, the psalmist admits that he struggles with doubt.

He knows God is able and willing to hear his prayers. He knows God is mighty and merciful enough to care about his small voice. Still, his situation wore him out. Waiting for God to answer him, to move in his situation, to deliver him from his struggle . . . simply weakened his spirit.

I can’t even count how often I’ve desperately asked God to revitalize my spirit, to refresh my weary soul, and to be my strength because I had no strength of my own to offer.

The psalmist doesn’t hide his inner turmoil. Instead, he confesses the uncertainty that trickles into the quiet moments when he’s all alone with his thoughts.

He writes: “You have kept me from closing my eyes; I am troubled and cannot speak. I consider days of old, years long past. At night I remember my music; I meditate in my heart, and my spirit ponders.” (vv. 4-6)

Not many of us can say we’ve never laid wide awake in a dark room, longing for peace and sleep as worries kept us awake.

While it’s easy to let our anxious thoughts snuff our peace and steal our much-needed rest, the psalmist offers a better way to combat those sleepless nights.

Instead of counting his very real concerns and fears, he intentionally remembers “days of old, years long past,” the testimonies of God’s goodness that have built his foundation of faith.

When I read that the psalmist remembers his music, I immediately connected with him.

God often uses worship and praise music to calm my spirit, to guide my thoughts to His love and truth, to help me shift my focus from my “self” to my Savior.

In verses 7-10, the psalmist demonstrates how processing, much like a dance, requires an ebbing and flowing of emotions. We can’t immediately stop worrying about something that has kept us awake at night or caused us to doubt our faithful Father.

But like the psalmist, we can allow ourselves to process and trust God to lead us to peace that strengthens our resolve.

The psalmist writes: “I will remember the LORD’s works; yes, I will remember your ancient wonders. I will reflect on all you have done and meditate on your actions.” (vv. 11-12)

From pondering and making a commitment to himself, the psalmist dives into an intimate prayer directed toward God. This bold act of prayer affirms how the Lord invites us to approach Him intimately. As we pour our hearts out to the Lord, the Holy Spirit helps us remember who we’re worshipping and depending on no matter what our current situation.

The psalmist sings: “God, your way is holy. What god is great like God? You are the God who works wonders; you revealed your strength among the peoples. With power you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.” (vv.13-15)

Hallelujah!

After reflecting on his problems and remembering how God worked in the past, the psalmist proclaims his faith with courageous confidence.

Turning his eyes to God’s past faithfulness empowered him to trust God would remain true to His Word and His character.

Looking past his current circumstances and jumbled feelings, the psalmist glanced at God’s vast creation and remembered God’s unlimited power over the universe and everyone He created (vv. 16-20).

As the psalmist reminds us how the Lord used Moses and Aaron to lead his people “like a flock,” we too can exhale a prayer of praise.

The Lord is our Good Shepherd. He provides today, just as He has provided in the past. He is working today, just as He has worked since the beginning of time.

Though we’re facing a pandemic and dealing with emotions that may feel overwhelming, we can count on God to remain with us.

Our loving Father can handle our emotional laments as we come to him in honesty. He can handle our uncertainties as we process and learn to navigate through this difficult season.

God will not leave us. God will not let us down. He never has before. And He won’t start disappointing us now.

We can rely on Him to continue proving Himself faithful and good, just as He’s done in the past.

As we turn to God, talking to Him and trusting Him with our most vulnerable thoughts and emotions, we can walk with confident faith in the midst of crisis.

Mighty and Merciful Creator and Sustainer of all, thanks for assuring us that You are with us as we walk through this season of uncertainty. Thanks for affirming that You are still in control, still working for our good, still providing and protecting and proving Yourself faithful. Please give us opportunities to reflect on the ways You’ve worked in the past as we rely on You to carry us through this present moment. May Your name be glorified and Your power magnified in and through our lives as we place our hope in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you would like to join me for daily prayer and encouragement, please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook where I’ll be sharing Pause for Prayer posts.

I will return to sharing weekly encouragement on my blog, as well. I would love to hear your praises and prayer requests in the comments section under each blog post and in the comment sections under my social media posts.

If you’re looking for deeper studies and prayers as we wait for God to work in and through this difficult season, you can order your copies of Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Our Daily Bread Publishers, and ChristianBook. And you can love your neighbor by ordering extra copies to share as gifts.

I look forward to growing with you and praying with you.

 

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