An Alexander Kind of Year

ALEXANDER_TERRIBLE_HORRIBLE

 

Be still and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

In her children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, author Judith Viorst writes about a boy named Alexander who’s having the worst day of his life. Everything that could go wrong does.

It’s been that kind of year. Although I cringe to describe 2015 as a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” year, frankly it was. It’s been a challenge to keep a positive attitude and not dwell on all the Alexander-type events that have occurred. I’ve often felt like Elijah under the broom tree (1 Kings 19:3–4), when he whined, “I have had enough, LORD.”

I’m not unlike Alexander, who dreamed of escaping to Australia, where he thinks things will be better. Or Elijah, who told God he was ready to come home. I, too, long for a place of peace and rest, where there are no problems to deal with.

Oh, to be sure, the enemy has tempted me to dwell on all the “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” things that have occurred and give in to whining, hurtling myself into a pit of self-pity. But God tells me that focusing on the good things will give me the peace I long for (Philippians 4:8, 9).

Psalm 46 is the prescription for the Alexander times in our lives: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore (I) will not fear . . .” (verses 1, 2).

On a day no too long ago when I was feeling the stress of these Alexander times and not bearing up well, I received a handmade card from a friend. On the front were the words I needed that day: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm. 46:10).

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I put on armor each day. What I forgot to mention is that, even with my armor on, my back is still vulnerable. You see, I can only fight a foe in front of me, and the enemy often strikes from behind—attacking at our weakest points.

But I don’t have to worry: “For the LORD will go before (me), the God of Israel will be (my) rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12). And again: “The glory of the LORD will be (my) rear guard” (Isaiah 58:8). God’s got my back!

Yes, it’s been an Alexander kind of year.

But through it I’ve seen the power of prayer, I’ve sensed the presence of a God who knows me well and loves me still (Psalm 139). I’ve perceived there’s a purpose for the pain, even though I don’t see it or understand it. I’ve learned that in spite of everything, prayer brings a peace that transcends understanding (Philippians 4:6–7). And I’m getting better at Philippians 4:8 kind of thinking.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my God will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).

“See,” He says, “I have engraved you on the palms of My hands” (Isaiah 49:16).

Thank you, Father, for being with me in those “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” times of my life, for helping me to see there’s a purpose for them, and for giving me Your peace in the midst of them. Amen.
 

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Psalm 46 and Isaiah 49:13–16

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