So...I have a confession.
Running to God first when I need counsel or quick solutions is not always my first instinct. Let me shed more light on what Mwape in an urgent crisis looks like.
So let's imagine a random day and there is this decision that I have to make. I am aware I should talk to God about it, because I know he loves me and knows best. So I immediately decide that I will talk to God about it at night, before I go to bed, and soon after I call whoever I think will understand best and get a quick fix.
Off the top of my head, the reasons I do this include, because I am impatient, its urgent, I just feel like I need an actual voice to tell me what to do, its also more fun to actually have a verbal exchange and who doesn’t like fun, but also in that moment I lack sense and so I think that God needs at least a few minutes to give me his answer and I just don’t have that time. Cause remember, I am in a hurry.
If I’m being honest, this doesn’t only apply to crisis’, sometimes I do this in situations that are super chilled as well as those that don't require immediate solutions. Speaking to people is on the top of my list and talking to God is somewhere close to the bottom right above the option of giving up.
I found myself worked up over a situation some days ago. My mother knew and overheard me speaking to someone over the phone about it. When I was done she said,“Mwape, you should learn to talk to God”. My quick defensive response was, “I do! I’ll speak to him once I get to bed”. She quickly corrected me and said, “He should be the first one you go to, not the last”. I knew she was right.
Fast forward to today, I am currently reading the book Secure in the Everlasting Arms by Elizabeth George. I was reading the subchapter called “A Holy Aloneness”. In this part she asks her readers if they are tempted to pick up the phone when in need of advice forgetting to seek first the living word of God or talk to him whose ear is always open to our cries? She goes on to encourage us to be patient and she asks, is God not fast enough? Is it his answers we run away from because we know that they can be tough sometimes. You know? Someone wronged you and you know the Lord’s prayer in the Bible says to forgive those who trespass against us just as he forgives us. That clearly includes the trespasses we have never received apologies for. So you’d rather call a friend who will instead tickle your ears. Or, this is the common one. You know how Matthew 18:15-17 talks about conflict resolution, how if your brother sins against you you must sit with him and show him his error. My default is to call someone and tell them about it and rarely follow it up with the person who has wronged me because the former is easier, however, if I took a moment to pray and reflect on his word, wouldn’t that scripture come to mind and the next step look different and be in line with God’s word? I know, the struggle is real.
At times we actually succumb to seeing a counsellor when we feel we aren’t getting the answers or support we need. I remember going through heartbreak and convincing myself that I needed to see a student counsellor. It felt like a lonely season, I felt like I needed to hear something more profound. It didn’t click that my father in heaven is the wonderful counsellor (Isaiah 9:6) and my loneliness should be transformed into holy aloneness. I need to learn to sit still before the Lord. One hour in prayer may change our perception more than any earthly advice we can get. Do we have the patience to be still in prayer and sit before the Lord?
Psalm 57:1 says “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until disaster has passed”. Psalm 46: 1 says "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble". The two verses are a reminder of why he is the best go-to you could ever have.
Regardless of what your day to day troubles look like, I want to encourage you to make God your go-to. “In times of trouble, go not out of yourself to seek for aid; for the whole benefit of trial consists in silence, patience, rest and resignation. In this condition divine strength is found”- Miguel de Molinos.