God's ways are always right. They may not make sense to us. They may be mysterious, inexplicable, difficult, and even painful. But they are right. p. 97
Regarding the things about which we fret:
- 40 percent never happen
- 30 percent regard unchangeable deeds of the past
- 12 percent focus on the opinions of others that cannot be controlled
- 10 percent center on personal health, which only worens as we worry about it
- 8 percent concern real problems that we can influence
Ninety-two percent of our worries are needless! pp. 101-102
Worry betrays a fragile faith, an "unconscious blasphemy." We don't intentionally doubt God, but don't we, when we worry, essentially doubt God? We assume the attitude of a kid asking Michelangelo, "You sure you know what to do with that rock? p. 102
Want to worry less? Then pray more. Rather than look forward in fear, look upward in faith. p. 103
Are you afraid of a giant? Then recall the lion and the bear. Don't look forward in fear; look backward in appreciation. God's proof is God's past. Forgetfulness sires fearfulness, but a good memory makes for a good heart. p. 104
In Ps. 91:1-16 there are sixteen verses that collaborate to envision one image: God as your guardian. See if you can spot the most common word of the psalm:
"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest."
"He will rescue you."
"He will shield you."
"He will shelter you."
"Evils will not touch you."
"They [angles] will hold you."
"The LORD says, 'I will rescue.'"
"I will protect you."
"I will answer."
"I will be with them."
"I will rescue."
"I will satisfy." p. 118
As you walk, He leads. As you sleep, He patrols. "He will shield you with His wings. He will shelter you with His feathers." v. 4 p. 119
God, your gardian, protects you from:
"every trap" v.3
"the fatal plague" v.3
"the plague that stalks in darkness" v. 6
"the terrors of the night . . . the dangers of the day" v. 5 p. 119
Have bad things really happened to you? You and God may have different definitions for the word bad. Parents and children do. Look up the word bad in a middle-schooler's dictionary, and you'll read definitions such as "pimple on nose," "Friday night all alone," or "pop quiz in geometry." Dad, this is really bad!" the youngster says. Dad, having been around the block a time or two, thinks differently. Pimples pass. And it won't be long before you'll treasure a quiet evening at home. Inconvenience? Yes. Misfortune? Sure. But bad? Save that adjective for emergency rooms and cemeteries.
What's bad to a child isn't always bad to a dad.
What you and I might rate as an absolute diaster, God may rate as a pimple-level problem that will pass. He views your life the way you view a movie after you've read the book. When something bad happens, you feel the air sucked out of the theater. Everyone else gasps at the crisis on the screen. Not you. Why? You've read the book. You know how the good guy gets out of the tight spot. God views your life with the same confidence. He's not only read your story . . . He wrote it. His perspective is different, and His purpose is clear.
God uses struggles to toughen our spiritual skin.
Consider it a sher gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4) pp. 120-121
Did you know that the smith in silversmith comes from the old English word smite? Silversmiths are accomplished smiters. So is God. Once the worker is satisfied with the form of his tool, he begins to planish and pumice it. Using smaller hammers and abrasive pads, he taps, rubs, and decorates. And no one stops him. No one yanks the hammer out of his hand and sys, "Go easy on that silver. You're pounded enough!" No, the craftsman buffets the metal until he is finished with it. Some silversmiths, I'm told, keeppolishing until they can se their face in the tool. When will God stop with you? When He sees His reflection in you. "The LORD will perfect that which concerns me" (Ps. 138:8). Jesus said, My Father never stops working" (John 5:17).