When was the last time you felt nervous or overwhelmed with something looming on the horizon of your life? When was the last time you threw your hands up in despair and said, "I can't do it!"
Maybe it was before a job interview or a big presentation at work that you couldn't afford to mess up. Maybe it was on the morning of your wedding. Maybe it was waiting on the results of a serious medical test for you or a loved one.
Or perhaps it was right before a mundane moment of everyday life: a difficult conversation with your spouse, another moment of correction with your child, a call to sacrifice in your home, an opportunity to share the Good News with your neighbor, or a jab of physical pain in an aging body.
Every person, in some way or another, experiences anxiety in moments of life, whether big or small. Why does this happen to us? Because we're constantly measuring our potential.
You and I typically measure our potential based on two factors: our past track record, and the size of the task ahead. The best biblical example of this is David and Goliath. The soldiers of Israel have meticulously measured the size of Goliath (1 Samuel 17: 4-7), and David has recounted his record of previous battles before taking on the giant (vv. 34-36).
There's both cultural logic and biblical wisdom to this process of measuring our potential. Doesn't the popular phrase "don't bite off more than you can chew" sound a lot like what Jesus said: "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?" (Luke 14:28)
But David didn't choose to enter the valley for any of those reasons. There's a better way by which David measured his potential: he remembered his identity as a child of God. Remember his famous line? "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" (v. 37).
David didn't take credit for his victories over the lion and the bear, nor did he place the task of defeating Goliath on his own shoulders. Rather, David reminded himself of this truth: it's not the child's job to complete the task; it's the child's job to obey the Father's call and let the Father complete the task.
You and I simply don't have the ability to win on our own. We don't have the power to make situations change. We can't get people to respond. We can't make our spouses love us. We can't get our children to obey. We can't force two people to reconcile. We can't make our neighbors believe in the Lord.
But, it’s not our job to succeed; it’s our job to respond to the call of God in each of the situations, locations, and relationships where he places us. His promise is that when we go, he goes with us. He'll never call us to a task without giving us what we need to succeed.
God is unshakably committed to meeting the needs of his people. He's unshakably committed to the success of his kingdom. And since you're his child, wherever you go, his presence and power go as well. He really is with you always, and he really is the helper that you need.
You're now personally connected to the ultimate source of victory. How's that for a new potential?
- When was the last time you felt nervous? How were you measuring your potential in that moment?
- Are there places where you're living more in fear and avoidance than with courage and hope?
- List the ways that God has promised to be your helper and post it somewhere visible!