Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Tossed But Not Torn

This is going to last forever.
This too shall pass.

The whole world is going to come down. 

Perhaps this is what we need to find Jesus.

I am so tired of this, I just want to go back to normal.

What is normal? You only have first world problems.

The economy will never recover.

We've come through worse.

This is life and death.

But it doesn't feel serious...

Why can't I be happy with what I have?

I'm so thankful for what I've got.

I never really liked people anyway.

Then why do I miss them so much?

Maybe this is the end of the world...

There is no way, it wouldn't look like this!

Why can't I just trust and wait?

God is in control.
Only a small sample of the unending discussion that goes through my head every day. I feel divided, like I can't get a grip on this. I have heard this is what grief feels like-joy mingled with sorrow, and they alternate at times in surges and shallows. I think I am trying to process this, this complete unknown. 
"The LORD is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1
Written by the same David who said,

"Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted, the troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish." Psalm 25:16-17 

David was literally "a man after God's own heart" but he, too, experienced seemingly conflicting emotions. I run the gamut of feelings, sometimes in as little as five minutes. However, don't be confused: my faith is not what is at stake here. I am, as David,

"I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD, be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:13-14  

Living in denial never did anyone any good. I can pretty much guarantee there isn't a person alive who hasn't been frustrated and discouraged by this whole pandemic. And that is rightly so, this sickness sweeping the world is a physical expression of the decay that corrupts each of our hearts apart from Christ. It should sadden and grieve us that we all are experiencing the consequences of hearts determined to follow their own ways. Illness is a result of the Fall. I can be disturbed by what is going on. 

 It is ignorant, in fact, to live as though external forces don't exist in the life of believers. Jesus Himself, in the parable of the house built on the rock, actually assures us of the opposite.  He says, 
"The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:25 
We will, indeed, weather storms. And just because they won't take us out, doesn't mean we won't feel the rain. Or hear the wind. We can't, and shouldn't, ignore it, if only for the fact that it reminds us that without Christ we would be hopeless and helpless in the face of the storm, and that is the case of anyone without Him.

So, perhaps, my tossing thoughts are a good reminder that I am not at all able on my own to face the onslaught of the elements, both physical and mental. I absolutely must rest on my Rock, the truest foundation there ever was. And again, as another psalmist demonstrates so clearly, I can recognize my feelings while redirecting my thoughts.

"Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 42:5, 11 & Psalm 43:5

Three references for the same verse? Yes, because it is a process that must happen over and over. I need Him every moment. Acknowledging my feelings forces me to turn to the Lord-I have to take my fear, worry and doubts to Him.

"My heart says of You, 'Seek His face!' Your face, LORD, I will seek." Psalm 27:8
So while my emotions may be in conflict, my heart is not. My foundation is solid as the Rock of Ages, and He isn't fazed by my turbulent thoughts. Nothing can tear me from His grasp. He is patient and loving with me, He wants me to bring my doubts and concerns to Him. He is, after all, the only One with the power to calm the storms.

"They...asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!" Mark 4:41
This is my Savior and my God. My hope is secure, though my ship may be tossed. 

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