Like a lot of drivers, I have become completely spoiled by a smart car. My car is so smart that it reminded me the other day that I have entered the age bracket that forgets and leaves their turn signal on too long. If you have gotten used to driving a smart car and then gotten behind the wheel of an average intelligence vehicle, it’s a little humbling. Suddenly there is a need to turn around and look behind you when you are in reverse and actually remember directions to where you are going without the convenience of Nav.
When I drove my son’s earlier model truck to town recently, I felt like I was driving impaired without all the accessories that help me in my smart car. Many times, our faith can be affected much the same way. We feel high functioning in our faith when we are in the groove of our prayer life, studying the word, hearing and responding to the Holy Spirit. When we have this “smart faith”, we hardly need to look behind us in the rearview because we are making such huge spiritual strides.
And then suddenly, something happens. We feel disoriented and have difficulty navigating our spiritual life. All at once we are looking over our shoulder wondering what just happened. Setbacks are a part of life and certainly part of our Christian walk. Expecting setbacks is healthy, fearing setbacks is, well, a setback. God’s Word tells us not to be anxious about our future, but to be confident that with him, we will overcome.
Once we experience an unanticipated event, it is normal to be a little shocked and even feel confused. But soon after the jolt of a setback, we need to get intentional about how we respond. Psalm 121 is a wonderful guide for facing such a setback.
Step One: Acceptance
I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. (verses 1-2)
The first place believers look when we have a setback is to where our help comes from. When our eyes focus directly on Jesus, we don’t spin our wheels in resentment and bitterness that can only delay us in getting back to where we were prior to the setback. We will not find peace in venting about it, in fact, the more people you shout to about your setback, the less peace you will have.
Step Two: Relax
He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber or sleep.
The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. (verse 5-6)
Because God isn’t falling asleep on the job, you can. Don’t let worry rob you of sleep because God is working through things on your behalf even as you sleep.
Step Three: Be Confident
The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and your going,
both now and forevermore. (verse 7-8)
Be confident that the Lord will use your setback for an even greater comeback!