Spiritual Rumination by Julia Phillips

“And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness and your gloom will become like noonday; and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones, and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”

Isaiah 58:10-11

Berean Bible

 

Do you exercise? I know I should, but I fall painfully short in that area. I realize this is an odd beginning to a Thanksgiving ruminator, but hang in there with me. What about spiritual exercise? The Lord says we are to exercise ourselves unto Godliness, however that does not mean what most think. I had a thought last week regarding this very thing. The thought was, “You can let go.”

So many of the answers to our trials and circumstances are found in learning how to let go. Letting go of worries is never irresponsible. It is the most powerful thing we can do. I know over the past years I have written numerous times on the “stop, drop, and roll” principle. Friends, we must learn this truth if we are going to survive and thrive in the coming season in this land and in the spiritual realm.

When we let loose of our worries, what we are really saying is, “I can’t, but Jesus can and will.” When we step aside so His power and deliverance can flow into those painful, scary, exhausting areas in our lives, we actually obey scripture.

“But Moses told the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the Lord’s salvation, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you will never see again.” Exodus 14:13.

Stand still and see the salvation of God. That is what we are called to do after we have done all we know to do. Who would have ever thought we would experience a time when people are told to stay home and not celebrate Thanksgiving? As we release our concerns and questions regarding today and the days ahead, we effectively say, “Jesus, I put my faith in You to take the reins. Take control. I cannot, but You can. I choose to let go of my stress, worries, fears, and anxiety because I know You love me.” 

The Bible says it this way: “Casting all your cares and anxieties upon Him, for He scares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7. I love this verse in the Amplified version. “Casting all your cares, all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all, on Him; for He cares about you with deepest affection, and watches over you carefully.” I cannot think of a better promise than that for these days.

It doesn’t matter what you’re worrying about. Maybe you are concerned about missing family for this holy holiday of giving thanks, or about a medical condition. Maybe it is a job interview. Are you lonely, worried you might end up feeling alone for the rest of your life? Or do you have a spouse or child who says they want nothing to do with your “God stuff?” Whatever it is, your Heavenly Abba (Father, Daddy) loves you so much that He is just waiting for you to allow Him to take over. 

You were never created to carry or even lift this much weight. When the Lord said we are to “exercise ourselves unto Godliness” He wasn’t asking us to pump enough spiritual iron to be able to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. 

The devil always attempts to counterfeit God’s principles but gets them backwards. You can watch television today or talk to many young people about this. The new movement is to become a “minimalist”. Simplify and declutter your life and your surroundings. The premise behind this movement is, if you can tidy up your outside, you will find peace on the inside. But the Bible shows us a vastly different path. When we declutter what is inside our hearts, our minds, and our souls, we will then discover peace in our surroundings outside. The Spirit of the Lord works from the inside out.

Now, this doesn’t mean we won’t be faced with a mountain of demands or trials. But if we have faith and a song in our heart, we can speak to that mountain and cast it into the depths of the sea. Take care of the knots in our stomachs and the knots on the outside will often supernaturally untie on their own. 

Let us be totally honest. Do you know why it is so difficult for us to cast our worries to the Lord? To let go of all our internal buckets of stress? Because we think if we let go, nothing will happen. Do not try to tell me you have never believed that. At times we hold on till our knuckles are white. This is especially true for saints who have suffered an inordinate amount of trial by fire in their lives. Jesus doesn’t miss a thing either. What did He have to say about it?

“And which of you by worrying can add one cubit (hour) to his life’s span?” Luke 12:25.

Jesus tells us that all our worrying, fretting, and sweating through sleepless nights cannot change a thing other than harming us physically and aging us prematurely. We can shorten our life, not lengthen it, through worry. God doesn’t want us to have a trickle of life or just enough life. He came that we might have life and that it be more abundant. I know one thing — fighting chronic fatigue, battling sickness, or being weighed down with cares is not abundant life. It is not the end of the story. It is not the expected end promised to us.

If we would just believe Jesus and take Him at His word. 

Confession time, I went through a fairly lengthy period in my life when I was terrified of flying. Not just scared, we’re talking paralyzing fear. We would get on an airplane and I would have my Walkman on, earplugs in, and I would sometimes listen to the same song over and over until we landed. I couldn’t talk, didn’t eat, and wouldn’t dream of getting up to use the restroom. People would give me the “more people die in cars than planes” speech, but it did not matter. It was irrational and debilitating. I must have been a terrible witness, and how could the Lord have ever used me in a crisis in the sky? I was the crisis.

One day I was set free. 

A man began to suffer a heart attack on the plane. The stewardess got on the intercom and asked for anyone with a medical background to please press their button. I looked around. I was flying alone on this trip. Who should I ask? Am I willing to let go? I did it. 

He was only two rows in front of me and suddenly I recalled everything I had learned as a surgical trauma nurse. I unbuckled my belt and walked to his seat – in strong turbulence – and began to ask him the normal questions. His history, any heart medication, aspirin, etc. The stewardess hooked up the oxygen. I had a pulse oximeter with me and began to write his vitals on my arm. Finally, a doctor came from first class. He thanked me profusely — quite surprised at that time I would have the equipment in my purse that I had. 

I was changed that very day. I took my eyes off myself and my lame attempts at self-preservation and reached out to help save the life of another. It changed me forever. Now I fly and chat, order movies, order little snack boxes, visit with others, and even sleep on flights. 

I had to cast that worry on the Lord. I had no control flying those friendly skies, God did through qualified pilots. And folks, we have no control down here on the ground either outside of Christ and His many-membered Body.

You might be like me. You might appear together and yet be in knots on the inside. Get it out, my friend. You can let go! He will be a faithful pilot through your trial, and you may even enjoy the journey. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid for your healing. He paid for your provision and He paid for your peace. Your Father is the One who rained bread from heaven, who brought water out of a huge rock. He multiplied a little guy’s lunch to feed five thousand with baskets to spare. There is no problem with supply from your Heavenly Daddy. Only if you insist on doing it yourself. And when you worry, you end up constricting the flow to the very area you need supplied; our natural bodies also work that way. Are you choking the pipeline of His provision? You can let go! Let go and let that supply flow again. 

Honestly, friends, I am not being simplistic. What does His Word say about your situation? About your circumstances? Nothing is too difficult for God. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. He will perfect that which concerns you, no matter the circumstances. If it gets really tough, look around. I promise you — you will see someone who is suffering greater pain than you. 

Drop your fears and allow the Christ in you to get busy. Let go. Spill out your heart to your Father. He has been waiting for you to give Him the wheel. He sees your white knuckles, your restless heart, and it grieves His heart though His compassions never fail. He longs to care for you in even the smallest of situations or details, just as you do for your little children. COVID is not our true enemy. The president or a political party is not your enemy. Someone who treats you unfairly or unjustly is not the real enemy. Loneliness is not your real enemy. Your real enemy is riding the fence. It is saying you trust God with every situation while holding on with white knuckles to your own natural understanding, talents, or ability to save or deliver yourself in the fires of affliction or tribulations. 

Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family or not, remember Who has you every moment. Rather than isolating yourself, ruminating on all the “what ifs,” look around. Give. Like the man I chose to help on the airplane, it is a spiritual principle that in giving we receive back whatever it is we need at the time. He is reaching out and His arm is not shortened that it cannot save. You can let go.

Ruminate on that.