Using History to Ease the Worries of Today

There was a moment a few days ago when I felt totally overwhelmed.  I had just slept off the effects of a migraine.  News of Russia’s attack on Ukraine by air, sea, and land infiltrated my newsfeed in the few hours I had unplugged. Although my headache had dissipated, the incessant throbbing was replaced by another feeling all together.

I anxiously thought, “What is happening?” “What’s next?” “Will our country get involved?”  “Will my friends’ children be sent off to fight?”

With cost of everyday items on the rise at alarming rates, employers struggling to maintain adequate staffing levels, and the makings of a world war all contributing toward a landscape set against a still-looming pandemic backdrop, it is far too easy to think all is out of control.  The fears and insecurities we are facing right now are real and justified. 

Can you relate to these thought patterns?

If so, I have a reassuring word to share with you today, friend: we can find comfort in knowing that when all seems amiss, our God still has a plan.  Events are surprises to us, but they are not surprises to Him. 

Don’t forget…although we learn of passing circumstances in real time; we have a God who exists and operates beyond humanity’s conventional temporal restrictions and understandings. 

In fact, the Old Testament is chockfull of prophesied New Testament events.  What God indicated would happen during one point in history actually came to pass in another point of history.  This is especially true we look at the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah foretold.

I don’t know about you, but I find consolation in that truth.  Singular occurrences transpired in such a precisely orchestrated way over hundreds and thousands of years so that when the appointed time came, they all collectively effectuated Jesus’s life, death and resurrection as previously indicated. 

That literally boggles my mind! It also speaks to God’s protective and sovereign hand covering all of history.

Around Christmastime, it’s common to hear references to Isaiah’s prophesies as related to Jesus’ birth.  Here’s one you may be familiar with:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

There’s many more examples of the Messiah’s birth prophesied throughout Scripture, but it wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that circumstances around his death and resurrection were also prophesied.

Below is a simple table I generated which shows a handful of such Old Testament crucifixion/resurrection Prophesies with the New Testament fulfillment of that prophesy.

ProphecyOT Prophetic ReferenceNT Fulfillment Reference
The Messiah will have His hands and His feet “pierced” through.Psalm 22:16John 20:25
The Messiah’s bones will not be broken (a person’s legs were usually broken after being crucified to speed up their death).Psalm 22:17John 19:33
Men will cast lots for the Messiah’s clothing.Psalm 22:18Matthew 27:35
The Messiah will be rejected.Isaiah 53:3 Luke 13:34
The Messiah will be killed as a vicarious sacrifice for the sins of His people.Isaiah 53:5–92 Corinthians 5:21
The Messiah will be silent in front of His accusers.Isaiah 53:71 Peter 2:23
The Messiah will be buried with the rich.Isaiah 53:9Matthew 27:57–60
The Messiah will be with criminals in His death.Isaiah 53:12Mark 15:27
The Messiah will be resurrected.Psalm 16:10Acts 2:24-32, Acts 13:33–35

Isn’t that incredible!?  Isaiah preceded Jesus by about 700 years, and David did so by thousands of years!  That’s almost too many generations filled with marriages, affairs, wars and murders-most-fowl to count! In fact, much of the Old Testament is dedicated to the rise and fall of kings and nations.  Yet, through all the meandering mayhem, the Lord’s sovereign plan didn’t skip a beat.  All played out in such a particular way so that His son entered and exited this side of eternity exactly as God revealed He would.

The result of that faithfulness throughout history culminates in the ascension, whereby Jesus not only exists as our personal and corporate savior, but as our Lord as well.  We are the sons and daughters of a King…a King far more powerful than any earthly ruler or dictator!

Friends, the battle is won.  The murder at Calvary need not happen twice.  Until Jesus comes again, we can still be rest assured that all occurs according to His divine plan and for such a divine purpose as it did leading up to the death, crucifixion and ascension of Jesus over 2,000 years ago. 

We can’t begin to fathom the way our God pieces history together, but we can find a blessed assurance in that He does. It’s my prayer that these assurances assist in subsiding any anxious thoughts within us…but in times that they do not, we must go to Him and talk to Him about our worries.  He is there to listen each and every time we approach Him.  

Patiently Persevering is Worth the Wait

Confession time: I can get frustrated when things don’t happen when and as though I think they should. I abhor waiting. I thrive on instant gratification. If there’s anything I like less than waiting something out its giving up or giving in. I’m sure you can see that herein lies a great source of tension: I often refuse to fold, but waiting for a full hand to be played makes me want cry out in frustration as I not-so-patiently bide my time.

Can you relate at all to any of this? Maybe you don’t know what the next season of life holds for you? Maybe you are desperate to see a change in your child’s behavior? Maybe you long to have your spouse to go to church with you? Maybe there’s a habit you want to change in yourself, but you made the same poor decision yet again this week. Maybe you are getting tired of waiting it out and you want to see results now. Not tomorrow, not this month…but now.

I get it.

Allow me to speak some encouragement into your situation today. It’s never too late for a breakthrough. Cultivating the patience necessary to wait it out is well worth it. As I’ve already shared, this is not something which comes naturally to me, nor am I as patient as I ought to be for much of the time….but now I have a visual to remind me to practice patience: an old potted plant on my back deck. Let me explain incase it can help you, too…

As you’ll learn as you spend more time with me, I absolutely adore making spaces feel like home. My old office cubicle? Homemade bunting draped across the carpeted walls. My makeshift basement gym? An accent chair and a plant take up space like they have every right to be in that cinder-blocked room. I cherish moments spent getting our church spruced up for each changing season.

You get the idea.

Pinterest would have been a small miracle if it was around when I planned my wedding and decorated my first nurseries.

I share this just to set the stage for what’s to come in this little story. Also, I’m about to get dark for a few moments, but I promise I won’t stay there for too very long! After all, this is meant to be encouraging!

Just about 3 years ago my sister and I lost our mom to a VERY short bout of cancer. I’ll revisit this season in our lives throughout other posts, but for now let’s just focus on the activities known as “the arrangements.” My sister is just as in love with interior design as I am, and we really wanted mom’s services to feel like “us”….the three of us…and how we have our own homes decorated.

Unfortunately, that is really hard to accomplish when florists only offer tremendous sprays and displays filled with flowers that we would never have on our own tables. Needless to say, through a remarkable series of events, also known as God’s hand (wink wink), we had an idea to skip the florist all together! There! I said it! We skipped the obligatory florist hired for funerals! Gasp!

Do you know what we did instead? We scoured the lengths of Long Island for ball-based Dogwood trees and Japanese Willows. It was the first week of June, and they were in full bloom! We added in some white hydrangea, a flower mom always had in her kitchen, and baby’s breath. I hit the springtime décor jackpot when I found dozens of white tulips in Trader Joes (the florist said they would be impossible to find).

With a few potted plants, wooden crates, and Hobby Lobby signage thrown into the mix, one could have easily mistaken the viewing room for an event space holding a bridal shower of the modern farmhouse variety.

Now, back to the trees. Not only were they a beautiful addition to such a bittersweet time in our lives, but my sister and I were able to take one of each kind home with us. We planted them in our yards. Or rather, we each planted the dogwoods, and only my sister planted the Japanese Willow…while I foolishly left mine in the pot.

I don’t have a green thumb. In full disclosure, I should also mention that the plant I mentioned “living” in my basement is actually totally fake and totally from IKEA.

Needless to say, my perpetually potted willow eventually turned into nothing more than dried up sticks in the overly dry dirt. I put the pot outside for “fresh air”, but the Pocono winter did absolutely nothing for my revival efforts. In fact, as I’m sure you could imagine, the winter made matters worse. So, there it was…this plant, long gone and covered in snow…and just within view of my kitchen window on the back patio.

Even though it completely died in the pot, every time I looked out the window I kept on wondering if it would ever bloom the next spring. I wish I could say it did, but it didn’t…not in that Spring, at least.

I almost finally tossed the batch of brittle twigs where Christmas wreaths and Autumn mums meet their final resting place out back when I noticed the FOLLOWING summer that new shoots were growing!  Take a look at this pic I grabbed from my social media account after I first noticed the new growth.

Whatever your struggle is now, don’t lose faith. If I had tossed the willow out seasons, months, weeks or even days earlier, I never would have known that flowers would eventually come, all those seasons later. There’s life after death, and God can make all things new! We don’t know all the plans laid out for us or our loved ones, but God does, and we will discover them in His perfect timing!

This is a concrete example of life after death, rebirth, and deliverance. Scriptures are full of examples as well. What if Joshua’s army quit circling Jericho after 5 days? What about if Noah felt too defeated to go on after 39 days of nonstop flooding? The entire story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead only happened because Lazarus was allowed to die first.

Sound familiar? Easter Sunday only occurred because God allowed His son to die first. It was all part of His perfect plan for the redemption of humankind, and in His timing there was new life and deliverance.

Again, do not lose faith. Be patient. Even if it seems as though all redemptive chances have come and gone…and come and gone again…He who redeems can bring any situation through to fruitful completion. If you are waiting for the next mile marker to reveal itself, trust in His timing. God is neither late nor early. He is always right on time.

Allow Him to cultivate patience in you as you wait on His timing. You truly never know when what you are seeking, or something far better, will come to fruition!

Did you catch all of the Be Still Series? Here it is!

  1. Simply Still Series: Top 6 Stillness Verses
  2. Simply Still Series: How to Forego What is Better for What is Best
  3. Simply Still Series: Tired of Being Tired?
  4. Day 21
  5. Prodigal Series Day 20: Good Father, Wrapping Up
  6. The Prodigal Series Day 19: Good Father, Our Father
  7. The Prodigal Series Day 18: Good Father, An Open Invite
  8. Prodigal Series Day 17: Good Father, A Runner