September 8, 2022
Trading Constant Concern for Quiet Relief
BRENDA BRADFORD OTTINGER
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“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.” Jeremiah 17:7 (NLT)
I wonder how these same palms I lift up to the Lord in praise can grip so tightly to a thousand concerns.
Tears laced with fear often mark my face as I concede once again to overthinking and angst — habits I’ve grown all too casual with. Soon I’m believing the misguided notion that the clutching of my cares somehow secures the well-being of my world.
Often I hold my concerns close because letting go feels like giving up, and I confuse perseverance with the restless management of my life.
Recently I spilled my heart before God, longing to know a life where I could release my attempts to manage and maintain … and grasp instead the relief of trusting Him.
As I searched for guidance, time and again, the Lord returned me to this passage penned by the prophet Jeremiah: “Blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence” (Jeremiah 17:7).
I pondered those familiar words: “trust,” “hope” and “confidence,” trying to remove them from my Sunday-school vernacular — willing them to become foreign to my vocabulary so I might understand them anew, as if for the first time.
In that moment, I realized how often I’ve relegated these powerful sentiments of hope and confident trust in God to a backup plan. From youth, the Lord has had my heart, yet I haven’t always lived like He’s my source. Everything I cling to apart from Him shows misplaced confidence in myself rather than in my God.
Oh, friend, amid the daily bustle of life, it can be easy to unintentionally place our hope in lesser things. Sometimes our automatic response is to focus restlessly on our spheres of care, forgetting that our continual concern alone is powerless to provide hope.
Yet Jeremiah reassures us that those who trust in the Lord “are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit” (Jeremiah 17:8, NLT).
Friend, when we place our trust in God, He doesn’t just tend to our cares — He tends to our spirits as well. Even when the heat of our circumstances bears down, when it feels like months of drought separate our concerns from their solutions, we’re able to flourish, refreshed by the depths of the Lord’s supply.
God met me in my cry for relief that day, gently reminding me of the freedom we find when we release the crumpled contents of our palms into His safekeeping, for the God of our lives can be trusted with the cares of our lives.
Dear friend, your hands weren’t made to carry all the success, safety and stability of your world. Come to the wellspring of relief, the quiet ground of surrender. Meet God in the hushed pause of this moment, gently unfold your palms, and release your cares to Him.
There is rest in the quiet calm of a life of trust, for our every care is safely held in the mighty hand of God, who is able to do abundantly more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Dear Lord, thank You that no care of mine is too big for You. Please help me remember that confidence in You is never misplaced. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Saying yes to God does not require us to have all the details of what we’re walking into, but it does require taking a small step of faith exactly where He has placed you. Learn more in our next study, Right Where You’re Supposed To Be: A Study of the Book of Esther, starting September 25 in the free First 5 mobile app. Click here to order your study guide.
We’ve got a brand-new series on The Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast! You can listen to all four episodes on prayer right now. We will discuss the power of asking God for things, how we can navigate our disappointment from unanswered prayer, and how communicating with God can help us work through anxiety. Click here to listen to the first episode!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 62:5, “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him” (NLT).
Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (NIV).
What cares are you gripping today? When you sense yourself holding on, take a moment to lift open palms to heaven and surrender your concerns to the Lord’s safekeeping.
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
© 2023 by Brenda Bradford Ottinger. All rights reserved.