One of the tests by which the US Navy determines who will be accepted as a SEAL is to create stress on the subjects by causing them to function with unknown variables, such as time, distance, and other forms in which endurance is required. For each of us, whether we are holding a rope, holding our breath, hoping for help, waiting for health, or other situations in which we are suffering at the will of the unknown, the stress we experience is sometimes overwhelming.
Many people I have been with while they experienced panic attacks did not know why they were suffering the attack. The strength to overcome being overwhelmed when our future is unknown, no matter what the cause or environment, comes from our relationship with One Who has no fears. The Spirit of God does not lack knowledge; nothing is unknown to our Father. He knows what our next thought or action should be. When we submit to His ability to work in our hearts and minds by His love, His joy, His peace – you know the rest – we become capable of any action He might lead us to. When He is allowed to give us peace, He is then more free to give us information from His knowledge. Even if He only gives us the next step, we are liberated from some of the stress of the unknown.
The power to overcome being overwhelmed is in knowing Him, not in knowing the future. Sometimes, the future is not pleasant, so just knowing what is happening when, or how, is not going to advance our condition. Having the attitude the three friends of Daniel had can set us free: they expected Yahweh to deliver them from Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace, but declared that, even if He didn’t deliver them, their relationship with Him was greater than their devotion to Nebuchadnezzar and his stupid laws (Daniel 3:8-18).
The prayers we pray in times of stress caused by being at the mercy of unknown costs or dangers would be more effective if they sounded more like “lead me” and less like “deliver me.” Some of the greatest blessings in life come by passing through, and not by passing around.