We teach children at a very early age to dial 9-1-1 to get help in an emergency. And emergencies come when least expected throughout our lives. So, the question is: Who do we turn to for help? What—or who—is your first line of defense for the demands you face?
I don’t need to tell you that demands come in all shapes and sizes and at all times—expected and unexpected. Some are part of our everyday lives, and we do our best to handle them. But some situations become so overwhelming that they bring out the worst in us, resulting in everything from screaming to slamming doors, clenched fists, stomping feet, throwing things, or threatening to run away.
Please tell me I am not the only one this happens to!
But we have a powerful source of help, someone who wants to lighten our burdens and light our way. God offers us a never-fail First Aid kit that begins with a prepared heart—His. And then he shows us how to prepare our hearts: “Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2, NIV) He urges us to be vigilant, to keep our eyes peeled, our skills sharpened, and our attitudes positive. We will still have times when we realize that we could/should have done better with our reactions. After all, humans fail – our God never fails.
In any situation, my best defense is to call on God—and I hope yours will be, too. Paul reminds us that God has equipped His children with God’s whole armor, “so when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace…Take up the shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:10-17, NIV). God is guiding and fighting for us; no better line of defense exists!
To activate our personal 9-1-1 call, Paul advises, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers” (Ephesians 6:.18). Note that this verse does not say we should only call on God when we can’t fix a problem. Nor that we should wait until the crisis hits before we pray. Like every parent, God wants to hear from His children in good times as well as bad times.
So when we feel the tension rising, let’s remember who the real enemy is. As Peter warns, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are” (I Peter 5:8-9, NLT). Yes, we’re all in this together—we need to support each other as together we lean on God for our strength.
C.S. Lewis reminds us, “Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties.” The next time you face trouble, you have a 9-1-1 hotline to this world’s most powerful emergency responder. And He will give you peace.