What is your first reaction to difficulty, or even a crisis?
They are tough, disciplined, bold, and even a bit boisterous. They are Marines after all. Sadly we hear now and then about someone walking on patrol and accidentally stepping on a hidden land mine. The explosion takes their legs and nearly their life.
I have heard and seen many stories about such incidents. Several stuck with me, even though I can’t remember all of the details. Many former soldiers travel and speak at schools, churches, and patriotic gatherings. One young man named Lee talked about how God got his attention through the horrible loss of legs he suffered.
He described the events of that day so vividly that I found myself shivering in fear, wondering if I would have the courage to walk a patrol in similar circumstances. You would think that soldiers like Lee, who won a duel with death would fear nothing. But he told a story about the governor of his state wanting to meet him to discuss a political matter about wounded warriors, something Lee was actively lobbying for. Full of confidence leading up to the meeting, Lee said he began trembling shortly before the meeting was to begin. When the governor and his advisors arrived, Lee did the only thing he could – he prayed.
Even though he had been praying about the meeting for days, he did not hesitate to do a little last second prepping – panic prayer – when crunch time came. We all know what that feels like, right? Lee said strength from God helped him face the conversation and do his best.
Read Nehemiah 2:1-9.
Nehemiah saw the king of Persia every day. As a captive from Judah, he was made cupbearer to the king, a highly trusted (yet dangerous) position. Someone had to taste the wine now and then in case someone tried to poison the king. Yet when the king noticed that his cupbearer was troubled one day, Nehemiah was “very much afraid” (Nehemiah 2:2). And why should he not be? He was about to ask his captor for a huge favor – the right to leave and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, with resources given by the king! Can you imagine asking for so much?
Prayer was not a last resort for Nehemiah. Half of chapter one records his anguished cry to the Lord. But in the moment before the big ask, Nehemiah’s instinctive reaction was to pray (v 4).
What is causing you to panic today? What personal, family, or professional situation(s) obscures the sun in your life? Is there something from your old way of life that seems to be getting the best of you? What difficulty, obstacle, challenge or giant are you facing today?
The apostle Paul said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Do you have a daily prayer habit? If not, how can you establish one? If so, how can you watch your requests turn into praises? It is never too soon, or late, to pray. Grow devotionally. Be bold in approaching God for your daily bread. Prayer turns panic into peace.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz