Family: A Better Way: How do you find peace in chaotic times?
God’s Word tells us in Lamentations 3:22-23, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. God’s Word says that He loves me and forgives me and understands that I am weak and is willing to help me. He gives us a fresh start every day. How can one be discouraged with His unfailing love surrounding us? We simply need to focus on Him.
Something To Talk About:
- What are you focused on: We need to evaluate what is important, and what we are focused on. Jesus spent his last hours of freedom with His best friends, teaching them how to remember Him and sharing the foundations of the gospel with them. He prayed for them (John 17) and then prayed for the strength to walk the difficult journey to the cross (Mark 14:32-36). When it came down to it, the most important thing to Jesus on His last night was doing the will of the Father and serving His closest friends. Jesus spent His whole life choosing to do the most important thing at any given moment. He stopped to heal the sick when they crossed His path. He sat on a mountainside to speak life to a waiting crowd. He prayed for children, even as His disciples scolded the people for bringing them to Him. He looked a bleeding woman, a blind man, and a beggar in the eyes and gave them personalized hope. It is difficult to stop the drive to do more in exchange to savor and focus on our ordinary days. We don’t want our last day to be filled with regret for all the times we skimmed over the significant to pursue the petty.
- His mercies are new every morning: Throughout history, people have anticipated the future with a combination of longing and fear. They greet each new day with a feeling of emptiness, lacking any sense of purpose in life. But to those who place their hope in the Lord, He promises unending love, great faithfulness, and a fresh batch of mercy every morning. Lamentations 3:22–24 (ESV) says, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Just as people live with the certainty that the sun will rise in the morning, believers can trust and know that God’s strong love and faithfulness will greet them again each day and His tender mercies will be renewed every morning. Our hope for today, tomorrow, and for all eternity is based firmly on God’s unchanging love and unfailing mercy. Every morning His love and mercy toward us are refreshed, new again, like a brilliant sunrise.
- Cast your cares on the Lord: Psalm 55:22 (NIV) says, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Becoming a Christian does not make your problems go away. But it does give you an Advocate to whom you can take every concern. Casting our cares is a choice. It means consciously handing over our anxiety to Christ and allowing Him to carry the weight of our problems. At times this is the most difficult part of trusting God. We don’t like turning over the responsibility for our problems. We have been taught that self-reliance is good and praiseworthy. We may even enjoy worrying. Yet if we are to be freed from the burden of our concerns, we must choose to cast them into the strong hands of our Father. God does not differentiate between problems we should handle on our own and God-sized needs. He asks us to turn them all over to Him. One of our greatest errors is to assume we can deal with something ourselves, only to discover that we really can’t. You and I can cast our worries on God because it’s His responsibility to care for us. As we trust Him with the bigger picture of our lives, the weight is lifted and peace washes over our anxieties.
- What are you focused on today? This week? How should your focus change?
- It’s not uncommon to doubt God when life gets hard. What does this imply about what we believe about God?
- Have you ever wondered about the unconditional love of a dog? If this is true of a dog, can you imagine how much that dependable loyalty must be multiplied by being embodied in the God of the universe? Thoughts?
- Do you tend to see God as a) absent when you need God most, as b) sort of dependable (because they say so in church), or c) as a genuinely reliable presence whose steadfast love is with you at all times, in all circumstances? How did you come up with your answer?
- Read Lamentations 3:19-24. Lamentations were written in the shadow of the Babylonian invasion but the writer still clung to God’s love and compassion. When do you find it hardest to sense Jesus with you? How can the promise that God’s mercies are new every morning bring you strength and courage, even in those darkest of days?
- To what extent have you learned, even in dire circumstances, to lean on and rely on “the faithful love of the Lord?”
- We should remember the steadfast love of the Lord every day, but we need reminders most when we feel it least. When we’re tempted to lose heart, when our souls are cast down, we need to remember what God is really like.
- Recall the mercies of God throughout history and in your own life. Wait for Him; He will have compassion according to His abundant, steadfast love. How do we best do that?
- What part of this message touched you. Why?
Take one thing home with you:
God never changes. Remember that God is still in control. He is still on the throne. He is still calling the shots. Yes, we have a will and yes we will make bad choices and yes, we will face circumstances that are not of our doing. But, God controls how it will all work out. Not us.
There are things we can’t control and being out of control often results in fear. But what we can control, is our attitude and our response when circumstances zap our hope and have faith in God that He is in control and things will work according to His plans. The truth is you cannot handle everything that happens to you in your life, but God can, Lamentations 5:17 says “Our hearts are sick and weary, and our eyes grow dim with tears.” But verse 19 adds, “But Lord, you remain the same forever! Your throne continues from generation to generation.”
So in the midst of circumstances beyond our control, remember that God still loves you and He’s never going to stop loving us and that He is all we need: “I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” (Lamentations 3:24).