Sunday, July 6, 2008

When Emotion Threatens To Trump Belief

Every so often, I have a really bad evening. An evening that would seem to topple any "progress" I've made on this journey of grief and faith. I say grief and faith because grief feels like a never-ending journey, one that defies faith and logic. Yet, it is through my faith that I am able to experience healing and an attempt at wholeness. My belief system, my faith are the glasses, the lenses through which I view the world and try to make any sense of it. This belief system helps to bring order to the chaotic world of grief. And yes, four years later it is still a journey. Knowing in whom I believe and what He has planned for me gives me a concrete block to stand on. Although, some evenings, I fall off of my concrete foundation and land backwards headed nowhere good fast. Yesterday evening was one of "those" evenings. There is nothing in particular that quantifies one of "those" evenings, in fact, I would wager that we all have "those" evenings from time to time. "Those" evenings where life seems larger than my God, where life seems to have little that is good, where everything seems to be going wrong.

It is on "those" evenings that I find myself doubting my beliefs, doubting that God sees me, that He knows what I'm feeling and that He's working on giving me a break. I know that James tells us that...
"when troubles come my way, I need to consider it an opportunity for great joy. For I know that when my faith is tested, my endurance has a chance to grow. So I need to let it grow, for when my endurance is fully developed, I will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." (James 1:2-4NLT). I know that in Romans, Paul tells me "to rejoice when I run into problems and trials, for I know that they help me to develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. Fo I know how dearly God loves me, because He has given me the Holy Spirit to fill my heart with love." (Romans 5:2-5NLT)

I know that in Jeremiah I am promised that God has good things in store for me - Jeremiah was written as Israel was spiritually moving away from God and he, Jeremiah, was pleading with the Israelites to return to their first love - his (Jeremiah's) message is one of urging - he passionately and poetically speaks to the Israelites reminding of them of their Heavenly Father's deep and abiding love and of the amazing, unspeakable things He has for them, if they will just rest in Him, return to Him. I know that all that is written in Jeremiah is true for me too - that if I will just rest in my Saviour, He WILL take care of me, He WILL bring about an amazing plan.

You see, I know all of these things. I have scriptural promises highlighted throughout my Bible. And then, there are "those" evenings, when all that seems to be
out of control, out of whack, threatens to overwhelm and undermine. Yesterday was one of "those" evenings. I went to church, listened with rapt attention to how I am God's chosen and beloved child and I walked out of the church doors, sat down in my car and began to cry. I know that God chose me, redeemed me, loves me, but there are "those" moments, when everything I want seems just out of reach and others' lives seem to be working out perfectly and they don't seem to have any struggles and they lose weight easily and they have perfect skin and they have a great car and they have this and they have that. Sound familiar? All evening my vision rested on what was wrong with my life - bemoaning my struggles, my hardships and all evening my heart felt broken and alone.

Notice I the last few lines are written in past tense. So, what changed? When emotion threatens to trump, to upset my belief system, to send me flying backwards off of the concrete foundation of my life, what happens - how do I find firm footing again? How do I dry the tears? How do I begin to look upwards and not downwards?

I make a choice. A simple, yet so complex choice. I choose to believe. I choose to believe that even though my emotions are wreaking havoc in my heart, Jesus is still on His throne. His word is still true and although at "those" moments I feel pulled, stretched taut and hopeless, I am not. He hears my cry. He loves me. He comes to me in my moment of weakness and stays right by my side, just where He's always been...

Psalm 40:1-3 "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, the pit of hopelessness, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord." (NLT)

Oh, what an amazing thing - out of the pit of my emotions that try to overwhelm me, to pull me off of my foundation and point my vision to this world - He pulls me up. He puts my feet back on that solid foundation. And then, and then I know, once again, my belief, my Saviour is bigger than any emotion. He's bigger than any situation, than any hurt or any sorrow or anything that stands in my path. I am so glad I know in Whom I have believed.

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