Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 29, 2020

the next seven days

Seven days ago looked much like today.  My hope is that seven days from today will bring the sense of a world that is beginning to reopen.  Several years ago, I wrote about “the next seven days” with normal circumstances in mind (they seem trite now).  Yesterday, I reviewed the article with far more insight. Maybe those words will remind of what was normal and encourage you from Scripture while managing today’s very abnormal circumstances.

Did your life have disconcerting circumstances last week? To give an example, last week my life contained: spilled coffee (3 times), food poisoning from a restaurant, being asked to pray for a client with cancer,  waking up at 4am (wide awake) once or twice, seeing a business opportunity fall through, and praying hard for our daughter’s musical presentation! I suspect you could answer with your own circumstances from last week and I expect this week to be marked by a myriad of small to large life disruptions. There will be circumstances which make us laugh, frustrate us, cause sleeplessness and maybe even internal pain or conflict. So how will you and I approach the next seven days?

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about a man named Caleb. He was given a promise at age forty. He would inherit the land he and eleven other men had been sent to scout. If you are a student of Scripture, you’ll recall the story of the twelve men who were sent to spy the land of Canaan. Ten returned with a negative report; only Joshua and Caleb were positive about taking the land. The consequences of their disobedience in not entering the land God had promised were devastating to the nation of Israel and they wandered in the wilderness for many long years. At age eighty-five (45 years after the promise) Caleb asked for possession of his promised inheritance and received it. He was a man of faith who remembered God’s promise 45 years earlier. Caleb never stopped believing the promise would one day be his. That is trust! You and I would be wise to simply believe the promises in Scripture even for the next seven days.

Caleb received a promise but had to endure the wilderness. Can you imagine what that would have been like? It would have been easy to see the dying, murmuring, complaining and struggle of those years and lose hope in his promise. There were certainly tough days, but he persevered as a man of great faith. I am sure that most Christ-followers would just like to live the next seven days with a Caleb kind of spirit … and we can!  But will we take possession of the great truths of Scripture with the same vitality that bleeds from Caleb’s example?

Before presenting a verse to lean on for the next seven days, I would like to offer words which, to me, frame the struggle we face while trying to possess the promises of God’s Word. The words are from the book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, by John Ortberg.

“I strongly believe that the way we live is a consequence of the size of our God. The problem many of us have is that our God is too small. We are not convinced that we are absolutely safe in the hands of a fully competent, all-knowing, ever-present God. When we wake up in the morning, what happens if we live with a small God? We live in a constant state of fear and anxiety because everything depends on us. Our mood will be governed by our circumstances.”

I don’t believe Caleb lived with a small view of God.  What about our circumstances for the next seven days? Can we live viewing God as bigger than any circumstance and depend on His strength for each day? The answer for all Christ-followers is “Yes, we can!” (Even with Covid-19 dominating our thoughts).

For anyone really willing to live out the promises of Scripture in the next seven days, please let the verse below resonate in your mind and heart daily.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22

The word burden in the verse implies “one’s circumstances,” and there will be many in the next seven days. I wonder what this week will look like if we choose to cast each burden on Him and accept the promise that He will sustain us. Sure, most Christ-followers believe the promise, but for the next seven days will we possess it as our reality? Caleb lived a long time trusting the promise of God. Let’s start with the next seven days!

Our circumstances have changed, but God and His Word have not!

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