Okay, I think that's it for my Cliche Festival. Here's the Bible version:
"In the world, you will have tribulation"
The economy, unrest in the world, natural disasters... Every page of the newspaper, and every "breaking news" headline seems to herald catastrophe.
Now, tribulation can take many different forms. Sometimes it's big, like Hurricane Irene. Sometimes it's medium, like a car repair you're not sure you can afford. And sometimes it's small, like being out of milk, and still several days to go until you receive your paycheck. Tribulation comes from the Latin word for "oppression," and oppression includes "mental pressure." So anything that causes you anxiety, even being out of milk, can be called "tribulation".
One important way to deal with mental pressure is with perspective, of course. Realizing that unless you're dealing with Hurricane Irene, things could be worse for you. Of course, even if you are dealing with Hurricane Irene, it's likely that things could be worse...
But if you are, I'm praying for you.
But I've come to realize a way I have for dealing with tribulation, particularly of the "anxiety" kind. And my solution is based on awareness of miracles. I know what God can do, so I fully expect Him to do something similar in my life. Here are some examples:
The Feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 15, Mark 6, Luke 9, John 6) ~ You know the story: Jesus multiplied two loaves and five fish to feed 5,000+ people. Like many people these days, my family needs our dollar to go a little farther than it used to. So one of my tricks is to make dinner with a little less in the way of ingredients; say, 3/4 of a pound of ground beef instead of a whole pound. Then I trust that God will stretch it so that we are all well fed. And it works. My growing kids still eat their two helpings, no one feels hungry after dinner, and I've got a little meat for the next meal. Miracle.
Along those same lines, gas prices = $$$, right? Well the miracle I'm looking for here is in 2 Kings 17. Elijah asked a widow for bread, but she told him she had only enough flour and oil to bake one more loaf. But in exchange for sharing it with him, the Lord promised through Elijah that her flour and oil would not run dry. With this miracle in mind, and knowing that He is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides, I pray that the gas in my car, and yes, the milk in our fridge, would last longer than we expect it to. It's not something I can measure, really. I just have faith that He is doing that for us. Miracle.
How about an amazing miracle in Joshua chapter 10? One of my favorites. Joshua and the Israelites were in battle against the Amorites, and winning, but they needed more time to finish the battle. So Joshua prayed, and the sun stood still in the sky, giving them the time they needed. Well, I have the feeling I'm gonna need this one soon. The school year coming up is going to be a busy one. My Awesome Girl is starting high school, and I'm determined to be everything she needs. I want to be sure that her education is my priority. This is not easy as it sounds. She's very self-sufficient and self-motivating, so I tend to trust her to herself, while I do other things. And I have plenty of other things to do... like teaching my Amazing Boy (6th grade), the work I do in my ministry, keeping the house, and oh, maybe things like brushing my teeth.... I don't know what my schedule is going to look like when the school year starts, and I'm worried that some days there won't be enough hours. But I trust that if I'm doing His work ~ as Joshua was ~ He will enable me to achieve all I need to. Even if it means that He causes the universe to work with me. Miracle.
One last example. With all those aforementioned, anxiety-producing economic and weather issues on the horizon, we have good reason to wonder what's ahead. Good reason to wonder, but not to worry. Once upon a time, God's chosen people were slaves in Egypt. God answered their prayers for deliverance, so they packed up their belongings ~ and a few treasures of Egypt ~ and headed out into the desert. Away from Egypt. They headed toward freedom, and a land of their own. But they were also headed straight toward the Red Sea. You see where I'm going with this? I may not know what's ahead, but if I'm going where He's leading, then He's got a plan for any obstacle that awaits me.
In fact, He's got a miracle for anything that's ahead of me. I'm counting on it.
"In this world you will have tribulation;
but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world"