First, a recap
Over the past 5 weeks, we have been exploring the different stages we experience when going through change and different strategies to cope with these changes.
"Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people." - Exodus 13:22
We began with recognizing the grief that occurs when situations change and we have to mourn what we have lost. We discussed the importance of recognizing the impact that something may have on us and giving yourself time to process it.
"The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name." - Exodus 15:2-3
The second week we talked about the joy that occurs when we are set free. Much like the Israelite's rejoiced when they were released from slavery (Exodus:12 - 14), we talked about the importance of praising and worshiping God and taking time to enjoy the freedom He brings.
In our third and fourth weeks together we discussed how to handle the anxiety and fear that can occur when things don’t go to plan.
"As Pharaoh approached, the Israelite's looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord." - Exodus 14:10
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” - Luke 22:42
Much like Pharaoh deciding to chase after the Israelite's, we talked about how to manage and give space for anxious thoughts and feelings. But using Jesus as a role model for coping with anxiety provoking situations, we discussed how to handle uncertainty through trusting in the power of God.
This week, as we finish up this series, I want to focus on the power and importance of hope in times of uncertainty and change. When things get scary and overwhelming it is difficult to believe that things will change and get better. This is clearly being demonstrated at the moment where people are again starting to panic as COVID begins to spread through Victoria and NSW.
But, like the Israelite's who panicked when Pharaoh started chasing him, the situation - the stressor - does eventually resolve. In the Israelite’s case, this was done by God‘s miraculous power when he parted the Red Sea.
"The Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left". - Exodus 14: 21 - 22
And while there is no assurances that we will experience a miracle as obvious as a sea splitting into two, we know that God is still in control over this situation and we can trust Him, knowing that things will change.
We can do this by recognizing and finding space for the fear and uncertainty. By taking a step back and instead of being anxious noticing and recognizing this fear we can turn to God and hand it over to him. And it doing so, can redirect our attention towards the possibility and what the bible says about God and his power.
Think about it this way. Our brains are wired to protect us and therefore when something scary or anxiety provoking happens our mind naturally focuses on it - kind of like a bat signal in our mind. But the way our brain works means that we don’t realize it is a bat signal, instead we just start thinking about what it means - where we should go, how we can become safe.
But if we instead say to ourselves, “hey, that’s my brain focusing on a bat signal” we can then stop staring at it and instead start focusing on something else such as looking for Batman coming to the rescue.
So, this week, make the decision to start looking intentionally for Batman (ie. God) as he gets involved in the situation rather than focusing on the bat signal warning us of danger. Because, God promises that he will be with us; that he will protect us and that these tough situations will end.
- Written by Ashleigh Crosilla.