Cheri's Blog

How to Pray for a Fearless Trust

fearless trust cover

Firm and Fearless Trust

by Cheri Strange

Welcome to the She Prays, spotlighting Scripture and praying it over you, for your strengthening and encouragement. Today we are looking at how to pray for a fearless trust. I found myself sitting down this week, with burdens not my own, but yours, hers, and beyond. I needed to know how to trust when all the pieces don’t fit and I am tempted to do mental acrobatics trying to figure it all out on my own.

I’m a serious person. (In fact, recently a woman at a conference felt like I was too focused and serious, making her way to me to pray in a heavenly language over my “problem.”) I accepted it. Maybe there is hope for humor development after all.

Still, I live in the deep places. It’s not that I like living in all the mental mire and heaviness. It’s just, that I can’t get past the practical. When the bottom falls out of your life, Who or what can you and I depend upon? Maybe you come to the crux of the matter by receiving a diagnosis so challenging, that it sucks the air out of your lungs. The job you depend upon is taken away by a failing economy. The relationship is facing destruction, or the losses or injustices you have experienced exceed what you can endure. These moments are when our theology matters.

Who are we going to trust in these kinds of places?

Oh sure, God is good, and trusting Him makes sense when all is right with the world. But what about in the gritty deep places of disappointment, loss, loneliness, and the seasons when nothing makes sense? My serious take on life does not result because I’m a sour Sally, but because I believe the words of Jesus.

In this world, you will have trouble…John 16:33

Trouble in the world is not something we will likely escape. In fact, it is to be expected. If we don’t have a faith that can hold up when the world shuts down, when we can’t get the things we need, when we are forced into difficult situations and so many other unknowns, what foundation will we have? I’m aiming for one that believes the second part of what Jesus promises is equally true.

In this world you will have trouble.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Yes. Jesus assures us will have trouble. Without escape, we will need to deal with the serious and heavy at some point. At the same time, Jesus declares He has overcome the world. Not he will later, he might, he has a good shot at it, the odds are in his favor, but He has. The foundation and surety of Jesus are what we stand upon. Nothing less. We can trust Him for all of our unknowns.

Trusting God where we are, even if we find ourselves submerged in the hard ugly stuff is possible because He is already there. Positioned. Ready. Waiting. But you and I often forget this truth because of the enormity of the trouble upon us. That’s when we need God’s Word handy. The book of Psalms is the perfect place for finding the words that reflect our needs.

fearless trust storiesPsalms for a Fearless Trust

For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. Psalm 112:6-8

Arming ourselves with these verses we can preach to ourselves on days when life is candy canes and cotton candy, as well as when we don’t know how our feet will stand.

The Psalmist is calling us to be, first of all, unmoved. He is calling us not only to be immovable but to be unafraid of bad news. (Not that bad news doesn’t come, but you and I are not to be afraid of it.) This woman’s heart is firm because, instead of focusing on her surroundings and allowing “What if’s” to dominate her day, she is trusting in the Lord.

It’s not firm because she has plenty of money in the bank and her job is secure, or because her health is guaranteed. No. This powerful segment is all about the ugly. It’s as if he is saying, “If the bottom were to fall out of your life—this is the faith needed to get through victoriously.”  The woman who does this— would be one firmly planted, knowing exactly in whom she trusted. She would know Jesus was worthy of her total reliance.

In this serious predicament, the woman who believes the Word of God about God, possesses a steady heart. Her heart is not racing in fear or dread. She’s not riled up over the world coming to a stop, or all of her dreams falling apart. She will not be afraid until there is victory over the foe–invisible or otherwise.

Transforming your outlook

These three verses can transform our entire outlook if we will believe them about our own situations and believe the One on Whom we can rely. Take these verses and use them. Preach to yourself this weekend. When you find yourself afraid, pull these out. When you and I are unsettled, we can go to these words of God. Then remember to pray them back to God, for he is listening. He is already taking action on your behalf and mine, remaining ever faithful.

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Prayer for a Firm and Fearless Trust

Lord,

In these moments I ask that you make yourself known to my friend. That you will make her faith immovable no matter what comes at her. I pray that you protect her mind and her heart against fear and in many different ways reassure her of your trustworthiness and dependability for her life.

Give her a firm trust in You. Settle her heart in her unsettled time, in a way that is completely unnatural so much so that people will know that it must be because of You. Make your name Great in her life.

As the Psalmist once again asks for you to make him unafraid, I request the same of my friend here. I don’t know how to give it to her or what she should do, but we trust you. Give her nothing short of a firm and fearless trust in You.

In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.

Amen

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The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

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If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

 when to quit

 

How to Know When to Quit

when to quit

How to Know When to Quit

What if the answer you have long awaited is No? How do you know when to quit? This happened to a stranger I met on an airplane once. She and I had attended the same conference in which the final speaker had posed the question, “What is God saying to you in your ministry right now?” The options were “Yes, No, and Not Now.”

It’s the kind of question you ponder with prayer along with seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit. I even want confirmation from the Word of God for discerning how He might be directing. For me, that season was a go, but the person in the seat next to me received a distinct No. She was flying home in that revelation, unsure what to do with it all.

I loved this woman immediately because it’s not every day you encounter someone so attuned to the voice of God over their life that they pay hundreds of dollars to run in the direction of the hope-filled “yes” only to receive a “no” and truly receive it. She knew it was a No as deeply as I knew mine to be a Yes. And she accepted it–willing and ready to move on with it as God’s will for her life.

Sometimes you know the answer to your dilemma is No. The answer lines up with everything else God is showing you and He leads you in a different direction. The door is closed.

Other times you and I can receive a Yes as strongly as my airplane buddy received her no, and experience doors slamming shut in every direction. Even the windows close off the daylight. And it feels as if you got it all wrong. All you want to do is quit.

But should you?

I have been on this particular roller coaster ride more than once. My work in ministry is often a lonely and discouraging pursuit without a paycheck. (You read that correctly. All the money received goes directly into the ministry account, from speaking events to book sales, to digital downloads. You name it. It does not belong to me.) And the last couple of years brought closed doors, boarded up windows, and arrived at the end of a lonely, desolate road. I received no’s when I hoped for yes’s. And I began to ask myself if it’s time to quit.

How do you know when to quit?

I have learned my decision about when to quit cannot be based on my feelings.

Neither can it be determined by my success thus far.

Pray

Instead, I take my rejected self to the Lord. The first thing I do is pray. I lay the whole situation out and remind Him of the instruction I believed He gave. Not in an accusatory manner, but like Jacob, who reminds God of the promise to bring him back to the promised land and be with him now that 400 men are coming against him and the situation looks dire (Genesis 32:9-12). Then I ask Him to speak–to reveal Himself and what He wants for my life because my reality is fighting to take over my faith in what I cannot see.

Did I mishear Him? Have I been mistaken this whole time — running after something that was always a No, too blind and unwilling to receive it. Did I go too slowly having missed my opportunity? Maybe I didn’t pray right or take the correct steps in the process? It’s ugly–but for the battle to be won, I lay it out bare.

Wait

Secondly, I wait. 

Seek

And in the waiting, I seek. More often than not, it is through this seeking that the answer comes. Not through a person or strikes of lightning, but the unchanging, timeless Word of God.

I was so afraid I had missed my Yes. That I blew it — that somehow I didn’t work fast enough, pray hard enough, seek out the right people–enough, have enough good ideas, or that I just waiting too long to move out so that He gave my work to someone else.

So I did what I am encouraging you to do. I waiting. I continued to seek His face to know if the no’s, the closed doors, the barred windows, and all the discouragement was the culmination of helping me see that it is time to quit — or not.

Shortly into the waiting, I read 1 Samuel 15:29. It was just where I was in my Bible. I didn’t go looking for it. But it arrived, perfectly preserved for my need when I needed it.

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.

There is was. The underlying fear God was not afraid to address. Just because it hasn’t worked out as I planned and the end results are not all gumdrops and candy canes doesn’t mean His Yes was really a No, or that my best efforts were not good enough. He’ll pass and pick another.

All of the no’s and try again’s–setbacks and derailments mean nothing as long as His Yes still stands.

Friend, if God has given you a Yes about something in your life that looks and feels as if the smartest thing to do is quit–

DON’T DO IT!

At least, not until you work through the process.

Pray

Wait

Seek

when to quit

Your God is not in the business of keeping you in confusion, doubt, and failure. If the answer is No — embrace what lies ahead like my airplane buddy who went on toward fruitful ministry in the years that followed. But if the answer is Yes — in the midst of No’s and roadblocks, let Him confirm His faithfulness to you through His Word. Ether way, Believe His Word to you today. And keep making spiritual progress.

For His Glory,

 

 

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Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

Truths Jesus Taught How to Pray

 

 

 

 

 

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

Becoming a Stronger You

Trusting God in Disappointment

Trusting God in Disappointment

Podcast #47

Hey! Welcome to the She Yearns Podcast! Everyone knows the feeling of getting an ice cream cone, taking two licks, and watching it fall off the cone onto the pavement. Your heart sinks while you stand there looking at an empty cone, wishing things had turned out differently. Maybe this has not been your experience – but you are familiar with disappointment. REAL LIFE disappointment. The kind that causes you to doubt and question if God is there, if He is listening, or if he even cares. How do you and I keep trusting God in the middle of the disappointments that come? That’s what we are talking about today on this episode of the podcast.

Many blessings as you hear from your God and receive what He has just for you!

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Thank you for listening.

Cheri

Waiting Well: Day 3

Waiting Well blog Day 3

Bible References: 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Jeremiah 29:11; Philippians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:12

When you and I find ourselves staying in the same place until an expected event happens, or until someone arrives, or until it is our turn…we may be in for the spiritual battle of our lives. Because we really don’t know how it’s going to turn out, our thoughts become vulnerable to enemy attack.

We observe Abraham succumbing to such tactics while he waited for God to come through on His promise of an heir. Abraham manipulated the wait time by fathering a child with another wife (Genesis 16:1-4) who was not the child God had promised. The waiting-to-be King David also floundered, escaping to the land of the Philistines, thinking that if he did not, Saul would eventually find and kill him (1 Samuel 27:1). Even King Jeroboam faltered in his waiting by creating his own religious system, surmising that if he did not, people would return to Judah under King Rehoboam, contrary to God’s promise to him (1 Kings 12:26).

Suffice it to say, waiting for God to will and act in our lives is not all unicorns and cotton candy. Extended languishing for what appears improbable is the perfect environment for taking matters into our own hands rather than lifting them up in surrender to His sovereignty.

Marking time in uncertainty is precisely when we must keep our eyes on Christ no matter what happens. It’s here that taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ moves our theology into our reality. During the torrents of spiraling doubt, thundering frustration, and piercing divine silence, you and I should focus on what we know.

We cannot be sure what Hannah was thinking as she joyfully journeyed home, but her prayer in the following chapter lends us a clue. She knew the God in whom she believed. Here Hannah expressed gratitude for His power, justice, and His unparalleled goodness.

Like Hannah, you and I do not know for sure how it’s going to turn out. But we can know in whom we have believed (2 Timothy 1:12). We can trust that He has a purpose for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). We can rest assured that our God is not a quitter. He finishes what He starts (Philippians 1:6). And most certainly, we can know that He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:8).

It is this knowing that enables us to get up and move forward while we wait…

 

*Click here to start the reading plan on YouVersion*

 

Waiting Well: Day 2

Waiting Well blog Day 2

Bible Reference1 Samuel 1:12-28

A few years ago our family took a road trip across the Midwest. To save time, we drove through fast food restaurants and ate while continuing on the journey. One particular occasion we drove into the line where we waited our turn to order. Within moments, a voice from inside the menu station asked us to, “Order when ready.” We did so, moving forward to the next window where we anticipated receiving our food. There we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, Chad peered into the lit restaurant to discover—we were all waiting on something that was never going to come. The restaurant was closed! The lights were on and there was a motion-sensored recording at the menu station offering to take orders. But no human was actually there. No food was coming.

When our waiting feels like a line of perpetual uncertainty, without answers—much like Hannah’s waiting, there is a danger of losing faith that God is listening. Such long spans of time tempt us to question the character and faithfulness of God. Taking in our surrounding, sometimes there is no evidence He is answering our prayer. We wonder if He will come through for us. In these critical moments, you and I need a strategy to meet such precarious predicaments in victory. Hannah, again, waits well.

Hannah clings to the only One who can help her. She resolves to believe He will bring to fruition that which she awaits. Then she does something most of us don’t. In the middle of her waiting, Hannah chooses to rejoice. Before it is her turn, prior to seeing any evidence that God will answer her petition, Hannah chooses to praise God…anyway.

Before it is your turn–before anything you have asked comes to fruition, praise Him! When you cannot see through the waiting; when encouragement does not come; and your enemy pummels you with vicious fiery darts until you find yourself in a desperate place—rejoice anyway!

If He makes you wait, there is divine purpose in it.

May we not miss the opportunity to wait well.

Cheri

 

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