How many times do we cry out to God for answers to our problems only to wonder if God hears our cries at all? Often God’s answer is right in front of us, but we fail to see it because we are too busy focusing on the problem instead of focusing on God. That was the case for the woman at the well in John 4.
Jesus was resting near a well when a woman approached to draw water. Upon seeing the woman, Jesus offered the woman living water; water that if she partook of, she would never thirst again. The woman in response to Jesus said:
“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?”
Instead of focusing on Jesus’ promise of living water, the woman focused on the problem that she saw standing between her and the living water: Jesus’ lack of a rope or bucket to draw the water. Her focus on what was not there kept her from seeing Jesus, the living water standing right in front of her. Jesus was patient with the woman and did not give up until she understood that the living water was Him! Her understanding came when she finally took her eyes off the problem and focused her attention on the promise: the living water.
It is easy to focus on the problem instead of focusing on our God who is bigger than any problem we can face. My 17 year old daughter serves on the board of her high school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. As a board member, she was chosen to emcee the induction ceremony. Upon finding this out, fear plagued her. She didn’t want to speak at the event. She wanted to pass on this opportunity. Thoughts ran through her head like “I am fearful to speak in front of my class, so how can I speak in front of hundreds of people?” “What if I forget what I’m saying?” “What if my voice shakes?” What if I mess the whole thing up?” “What if people know that I am afraid?” She spent time focusing on her fears and not God’s promises. The more she focused on her fears, the less real God’s promises felt to her and the more afraid she became.
However, she decided to focus on God’s promise in 2 Timothy 1:7 instead of her fear.
“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Instead of focusing on her problem (her fear), she began to pray God’s promises. She prayed, I prayed, friends prayed this same promise over her. By praying this promise, she began focusing on the truth before her instead of her fear. She set her eyes on Jesus, not on her fear.
On the evening of the ceremony, I approached her to give her my best wishes. She looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m not afraid” and she wasn’t. She went on stage in front of hundreds of people and spoke. There was no fear in her. She did an amazing job! She and I both give all the glory to God because we know that only He could eliminate this deep rooted fear in her. He is the living water.
The next time you have a problem, instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the promise. I assure you, any problem you have, you will find a promise in the Bible that will cause that problem to flee. Pray that promise. Speak it out loud. Memorize it. Declare it. Here are a few that I have used:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
1 John 4:4
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute , if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
What promises have you prayed or declared? I would love to hear from you.