The unexpected never happens when it is convenient. Tragedy or twists-and-turns show up in our lives unannounced.
When the unforeseen news arrives in our lives, we must be prepared to respond. First responders, law enforcement, and the military spend months in training learning how to respond to various scenarios. These dedicated men and women practice the same maneuvers and techniques repeatedly. They do this until the skills they learned becomes their first instinctive response.
Why? Because when it’s time to react, time is crucial as life may be hanging in the balance between earth or eternity.
Just as it is in the natural for first responders, as believers, we need to train in the spiritual. We need to know how to respond. Our training ground is knowing the Word of God and how to properly wield our sword.
When life hits us, whether the scenario ranges from uncomfortable to the most tragic, the first words we speak in that situation is powerful.
Proverbs 18:21 says that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (ESV).
We have the power to choose to speak death or to speak life. And the Word also tells us what to choose.
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live (Deuteronomy 30:19 ESV).
Choose life. Speak life.
The night we got the phone call that our son was arrested, I felt weak and went into shock. However, I knew that the circumstance was way beyond my control. I needed the power of the Most High to intervene in this tragic news.
So I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote out the first verse that came to my thoughts…
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 KJV).
After I wrote it out, I prayed it.
“Lord, Your word says that You cause all things to work together for good for those who love God, and to those who are called according to Your purpose. I don’t know how, but I trust You will work something good out of this horrible situation.”
How did I know to respond like that? Because I’d been rehearsing this life style. Quoting Scripture was already ingrained and infused into my way of living.
We must get to know the Word of God and make the Word of God a regular part of our lives. Not just a Sunday thing. Or a Tuesday Bible study thing. Or a Wednesday mid-week service thing.
The Word of God needs to be so much a part of who we are that it’s like breathing—we inhale the Word and we exhale the Word.
Practical Steps to Get the Know the Word of God
- Read the Bible daily. Each day set aside time to read the Bible. I choose the early morning as I like the quietness of reading before anyone else in the house wakes up. Choose a time that works best for your schedule. Start with 5-10 minutes and build up.
2. Write out Scripture. Handwriting verses is one of the best ways of meditating on God’s Word. Writing slows out thoughts down and lets the Word go deep into our inner most being. There are times that I will read a verse and nothing stands out to me about it. However, when I copy it by writing it out in my own hand, the words have meaning to me and the Word begins to resonate within my spirit.
3. Memorize Scripture. By writing out scripture, we begin to memorize it. By putting verses into memory, we hide the Word of God in our hearts. We never know when a situation will arise that we need a Word from God quickly. If we have been hiding and tucking away His word in our hearts, the Holy Spirit will stir that Scripture up when we need it.
4. Make the Scripture personal to you. Begin to turn the verse or verses into prayers for yourself by personalizing it. Change names and pronouns to make it personal for you. When we pray the Word of God, that’s often called decrees or declarations. When we say what God says, His word goes forth to accomplish the purpose He sent it and God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11).
The first words I spoke after receiving the shocking news of my son’s arrest came from Romans 8:28. It was hard to imagine how God would work things out for good when the circumstances seem so evil.
Train yourself to be ready to react with the Word of God when the unexpected comes at you. Speak out and confess Scripture into your situation.
Though my son is still incarcerated more than five years after that confession and declaration, I see God’s hand on the circumstances—working things together for the good.
God’s word is powerful. God’s word changes our lives. Get to know God’s Word.
© 2016 Shonda Savage
Note: Do you have a loved one in prison? Are you on Facebook? If so, click here to join the closed Facebook group: Hope for Prison Inmate Families