Yesterday's newspaper had this headline: Mubarak won't go! By the time it was delivered to my paper box, he was already gone.
Sometimes I think I have my own internal newspaper and I forget that the headlines flashing across my mind may also be wrong.
With newspapers it seems like the worse the story, the more coverage it gets. The same is true with my internal reporting system. Storms like Katrina are always big news and again, I would have to say the same for my own "newspaper": personal storms get "wallpaper" coverage.
For instance: if a friend or loved one goes down the "wrong path" or even worse, gets totally sucked into the Dark Side of life, I'm suddenly being whipped around by gale-force winds and my internal press is cranking out pessimistic headlines like crazy.
And there I am, standing on the sidelines, helplessly wringing my hands.
Well, that's not right either. Usually I'm sucked into the vortex along with them. By that I mean that in trying to reach out to them, I'm drawn into the periphery of their bad choices. Simply put - their pleasure becomes my pain. And while I know their pleasure is temporary, I'm pretty sure my pain is permanent!
And somewhere in all of that is usually a screamer of a headline saying, "Everything is going down the tubes!!! Attention: All Hands below deck to assume the fetal position!! The Dark Side has won and Things Will Never be Right Again!!!"
Ten years ago, as I was unwittingly heading into a storm that was not of my own making (as opposed to most of the storms I've weathered), I asked God to choose a passage for me to meditate on. I felt like I was being generous - sort of holding up the whole Bible to Him and saying, "You choose. I'd like to memorize some verses but I want You to choose."
I had no idea what, if anything, would happen.
Immediately Psalms 37 flashed across my mind. I didn't think that could be from Him because I felt sure God would lead me to some lofty, well-known passage like Romans 8 or John 10. So, maybe the idea of Psalms 37 just originated with me. Maybe He didn't answer. How could I be sure?
I'll tell you how I could be sure. Shortly after that, an emotional Katrina hit our family and I didn't have to wonder anymore - Psalms 37 became my "home" for the next several years. As nastiness swirled all about - and sadly also within me - I repeatedly took refuge in the advice of the Psalmist:
1. Keep doing what you know you should be doing - dwell in the land, do good, and feed on His faithfulness.
2. Instead of focusing on the storm, focus on Me - Delight yourself in the Lord...
3. Sit next to Me and be still - Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him...
4. Because the alternative is not so pleasant - fret not yourself...cease from anger and forsake wrath; it leads only to evil doing.
To the extent that I let those words take root in my heart, I was helped - tremendously at times;half-heartedly at others when I chose fretting and venting over holding steady, resting and waiting.
During those years of trouble, God also gave me a song - which is funny because He knows I can't sing :)
Both the Psalm and the song proved, in the final analysis, to be true.
The overall message of Psalms 37: God will triumph over evil.
The song? God will make a way, when there seems to be no way...
Thankfully, His headlines proved to be accurate and mine... didn't.