I’ve had an odd month. And I haven’t written here in quite a while, partly due to an internet-less trip, but also because my feelings have been so messy over the past few weeks. I struggled with what to write here tonight — I have my next post about Genesis ready to go, but I can’t get away from thinking I should just be honest with what I’ve been going through.
I’ve been going through a few situations that everyone can relate to, in one way or another. I won’t go into detail about my personal dilemmas — but we all know how life can go. We all face cross-roads, fears of the future, frustrations with relationships, too many trips to the doctor, a longing for more quality time with the people we love, a lack of balance between what we need to do with what we love to do, the fear of failure and disappointment.
My mind has been filled with questions, my heart sometimes aching with worry…and I couldn’t understand why. I kept going to God, asking for guidance and help…pleading for wisdom and eyes to see His plan. Which was, of course, the right thing to do.
So where was my peace? Where was that joy of the Lord that should’ve been strengthening me? I was beginning to feel so alone, and I knew that I shouldn’t. I was going to God for help — so why did everything still seem so frightening?
It took one of my kids annoying me to open my eyes.
My five year old was trying to play a game on the computer. Christian was sitting at the counter, grumbling at the screen, so mad because the website wasn’t doing what he wanted it to do. He looked over at me and said, “Mommy, will you please help me get to the game I want?” Of course I said I’d help, and I leaned over the computer to look at the screen. I started to press the needed keys, but Christian (being impatient, as five year olds can be) moved his hands back over the keyboard and began touching all the keys again, blocking my way. I told him (gently as I could manage) to stop, trying again to find the right keys and trying to give the computer time to respond, but he kept right on pressing buttons. Finally, frustrated, I said (okay, kind of yelled) this at him: “You asked me to help — now take your hands off so I can!”
People, as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I knew where I’d fallen short.
I was doing exactly what Christian was doing. I’d pray for God’s help and peace, then spend a half hour playing out all the what-if scenarios in my head and ending up in tears over all of the bad outcomes I’d just imagined. I’d seek His wisdom and then fail to spend serious time reading His Word. I’d say that He was in control and then take that control right back, trying to figure out the next step for myself.
I was missing God’s peace because I wasn’t accepting it from Him. I could see all of His goodness and mercy and power, but then I’d look away from Him and stare at the problems in front of me.
In my head, I knew all the right things. I knew that God was there, I knew that He was listening, I knew that He was in control. But I kept right on staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, feeling like life was about two seconds from falling apart.
Why in the world do we do this to ourselves? Jesus tells us, over and over again, that we should not worry. Worry is, absolutely, a product of not truly surrendering the authority of our lives to Jesus. And we know that He is good, that He has a future of hope for us…and yet we sometimes have so much trouble giving it all to Him and leaving it in His hands.
I’d venture to say that this trouble may come when we take our eyes off Jesus, when we neglect our time in prayer, when we forget to read the Word…when we move away from God and stop maintaining that armor He has given us, we give satan the opportunity to whisper his lies…lies that tell us we’re the only ones going through this struggle, that God is being unfair, that everyone is going to reject us, that God is going to abandon us, that we’re failures, etcetera., etcetera, and etcetera. Satan knows where we’re vulnerable and he’ll try to manipulate our emotions until our focus is entirely on our own feelings and not on our God who is waiting to speak Truth into our lives.
Truth like: “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you,” and “all things work together for the good of those who love me.” Truth like: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze,” and “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” His Truth says ” I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” He says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you…I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them, I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Truth is this: the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands,” and “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be moved, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.”
As I read these promises again, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for Who He is. Please, please hear me — if you’re going through a struggle, learn from my miserable two weeks. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep your heart in His Word. Ask for His help and take your hands off the problem. When you read His promises and open your heart to receive them, when you dwell on His Truth, you WILL have a peace that is beyond your logical understanding. That is His promise, and His promises never fail us.
He is so worthy of our trust. People are not perfect. They let us down and break our hearts. Sin and all of its consequences will seek to destroy what is good in our lives. But I promise you that God heals. He restores. He won’t let you down. You don’t have to fear leaving your heart in His hands. He is true. He is faithful. You can trust Him and you will not regret it.
I have one more thing to share with you, because God gave me the extra encouragement I needed this past Sunday…check out this song that we sang at church…
He is King over the storm…I pray that we’ll all be still and know that He is God.