See, Center, and Surrender to Wisdom
As we move into a new phase in the COVID 19 crisis, God’s Word is a comfort and guide. How do we walk in faith as normal life resumes? As believers, the way we approach this process makes a difference to our personal growth and serves as a testimony to the world around us.
Hebrews 11, the “Hall of Fame of Faith” is an encouragement. The men and women commended for faith in this passage are humans who struggled through hard, messy situations. They did not walk perfectly, but, like us, worked through the process of sanctification on a daily basis. Their witness to trusting in God’s mysterious power is instructive and inspiring! Hebrews 12:1-2 asserts that the faithful ones in Hebrews 11 give us a practical pattern to follow:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”
To walk faithfully into uncertain territory, we must keep our eyes on Christ. Our focus on Him allows us to move forward without fear. Three words to help us retain our focus on Christ in these unusual days are SEE, CENTER, and SURRENDER.
First of all, we must SEE who we are. As believers, our identity rests in Christ. Each day He gives us is part of God’s good and sovereign plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). We are called to walk one day at a time (Matthew 6:34), remembering that we are blood-bought children of the Most High King.
It helps to take stock of God's providence in this pandemic. We have navigated new normals for school, work, and family in this unusual season. We've moved through weeks of quarantining and uncertainty, creating new ways to connect with family and friends. God has been with us through this trial. His grace has proven sufficient for our needs (2 Corinthians 12:9)!
As we step toward another phase, reminding ourselves of God's presence is important. Our physical bodies sometimes store fear and anxiety, which may bubble up as we resume normal activities. These simple grounding exercises help break fear cycles, reminding us of where we are, and that God is with us. They can be done anywhere, at anytime:
-Open and close both hands while saying, “God’s got me in His hand.”
-Cross both arms and squeeze the top of one arm with one hand, then the top of the other arm in a back and forth pattern. Remember this truth during the process, “I am loved with an everlasting love, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
-Breath in and tense leg, calf, or arm muscles. Then, breath out and release them, while musing, “Here and now God’s mercies are new. He has a plan for me right now.”
We also need to CENTER ourselves on truth to move forward victoriously. We must remember who God is, and how He works--mysteriously! The story of Elisha and his servant recounted in 2 Kings 6 is worth revisiting. When Elisha’s servant observes they are surrounded by the Aramean army, he panics. Elisha tells him that “those who are with us are more than those who are with them” and asks God to open his eyes. Suddenly he sees the hills filled with God’s mighty army of horses and chariots of fire! God has been working in ways he could not perceive. The same is true in this crisis.
Centering involves fixing our vision on the truth of who God is. Praising Him for being almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, mysterious, and miraculous is a great way to start. Reminding ourselves of God’s sovereignty, even over COVID 19, fuels our faith.
Moving forward also requires that we SURRENDER our emotions and anxieties to the call of wisdom. While emotions are part of our creation as God’s image-bearers, the Bible is clear that we are not to be ruled by them. We are to be ruled by Biblical wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom is the chief thing, therefore, get wisdom.”
Wisdom consists of identifying and owning emotions, surrendering struggles in prayer, listening to God’s voice and being teachable, and understanding that each day of a life lived for God’s glory requires faith.
In order to walk in wisdom, label random feelings as specifically as possible, using an online thesaurus to pinpoint them. Speak them out loud or write them in a journal to externalize them. Then, pray over and surrender those specific feelings, asking God for wisdom.
To fully surrender to wisdom, remember what Biblical wisdom looks like. Wisdom calls believers to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19). Wisdom seeks educated counsel (Proverbs 12:15). It sees things through an eternal perspective, understanding that sometimes tough decisions must be made in order to give God glory (Psalm 90:12). Biblical wisdom is not motivated by pride, ego, or the fear of man. It seeks God’s hand of leadership, and follows where He leads (Isaiah 41:10).
Hebrews 11:6 says that men and women who are commended for their faith “believe God is who he says he is and that he is the rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.” Praying that God finds us faithful as we SEE, CENTER, and SURRENDER our steps to His wisdom!