4 Simple Ingredients
A Recipe for Handling Hard Times
We all have challenges and challenging times in our lives. God is there to support us, no matter what. But feeling that support is easier if we're prepared to receive it.
And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah.
This verse is the prophet Isaiah’s advice to Ahaz when he was under attack after the Kingdom of Israel had divided. This mighty prophet laid out this strategy to confront the enemy.
While Isaiah’s strategy isn’t difficult to understand, it can be challenging to execute. Yet, I’ve found it works in my everyday life — when I follow Isaiah’s advice.
The dictionary has this definition of careful:
taking pains in one's work; exact; thorough
Some of us are naturally careful. My wife, Kathleen, is a cautious person. Me, not so much. I am a ‘nothing ventured; nothing gained’ type. Or a ‘fire, aim, ready’ guy. My modus operandi is to be a reactor, which is perhaps why I don’t have the gift of planning.
But to be careful, we must proceed with our eyes wide open, one step at a time. We must be ready to adjust and avoid pitfalls. While this isn’t something that comes to me naturally, it is something I try to discipline myself to do. And you can too.
Quiet is another trait that is not part of my repertoire. I like moving around, and I want to talk. But it’s important that we get rid of the inside and outside clanging cymbals.
We are called to quiet not only our mouth, but our thoughts. Be calm. Sit and wait patiently.
It is easier to be quiet if you can find a quiet place to calm your heart. Sometimes, that might be a room in your house or an area in your yard. The fewer distractions, the better. You can not force quiet down into your heart. You have to be patient and wait.
Do Not Fear
I am not a fearful person most of the time, but I have my share of moments when it raises its head. How do we get rid of the fear we are facing? I do so by claiming the promises of God.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.
Claiming promises has to do with acknowledging a truth that is more powerful than what we are feeling.
Do Not Let Your Heart Be Troubled
Often our heart is the problem.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.
This is the heart of the problem!!! But the best way to prepare ourselves for future challenges is preparing our hearts today.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
What you put into your heart eventually comes out. Prepare now for tomorrow’s challenges.
This recipe is short and simple to say. It is deep and transforming to put all four of these practices into our lives. Start now. You will be better off when the inevitable challenges come.