I have been told many times throughout my life that I am a calm person. I have to admit, I feel I do well under pressure and even enjoy times of mild chaos. This is just the way God has made me, but I am highly grateful for it.
However, no matter how comfortable I feel in the physical conditions of chaos and disorder, the moment my soul feels these conditions all bets are off. If there is unrest, if there is calamity within my heart, life all of a sudden feels like I have just slammed on the brakes over a sheet of ice traveling at eighty miles per hour. Everything feels out of control and my usual calm melts away into a form of panic and helplessness.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” — Philippians 4:11–13
These words of Paul to the church at Philippi speak to my heart. They remind me, first of all, that my times of unrest and doubt as well as times of joy and happiness are all seasons in this life. It’s not that God doesn’t care about my happiness, but I certainly know it is a secondary concern of His, subjugated to the health of my soul. God allows me to go through all these seasons in due time as He knows each has its purpose in bringing my heart closer to Him.
Yes, oftentimes I do experience doubt, overwhelming doubt in fact. Paul issues this loving reminder to gird my soul against doubt’s cold winter nor’easter. I have a Savior who can and desires to strengthen me against these storms. All I have to do is ask and He is gracious to deliver me. This I feel is the problem, friends.
While cognitively I understand Jesus is the Good and Loving Shepherd, I find it hard to believe this fully in my depths. There is a faction within me that rebels against His assurance and causes strife within my being. I can explain it no better than to say that I am very much at war within myself with the deep fighting with my brain. Frankly, I like to avoid war metaphor, but I am very much at war and there is no denying this fact.
I look back along the path that my life has taken and this dissension is ever-present. Yet, it merely serves as a testament to the immeasurable grace of God through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19). The road may be narrow, but God never promised it to be straight. Speaking from experience, the road has been anything but straight and that is what led to the name of this blog. Though the path may be winding and the view of the forthcoming shielded, my foothold has never been loosed as I now realize that my God has established my every footstep.
All along the way, God through various instruments and seasons has provided abundantly for my soul. Most often, I feel it takes the form of deep friendships, but I have seen Him use many other methods in my short time on earth. Never have I been truly left alone. Only in those times have I needed to wipe the tears from my straining eyes so that I could remove the obstruction to see my caring and gracious Lord patiently waiting to whisk me into His capable arms and carry me to my deliverance.
I must also note at this point as I remind myself, we take on trials in life not to get to the other side, but instead to look back throughout and marvel at where God has already brought us. I strongly believe He does this for me because He knows that my heart is weak and in many circumstances I could not stand to wait until the trial had passed to see a glimmer of its greater purpose. I’m not saying I know the reason of this for sure, but this certainly makes most sense for my soul.
“‘I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.’” — John 16:33
Chaos, disorder and trials all are abundant in this world and they are all supposed to be. Rather than overwhelm, they are meant only to point us to the whelming love and grace of our Lord and Savior. They are supposed to better reveal to us the Light and draw us toward it. Strife is not a curse, but rather a gift. Anything that draws us closer to a God who loves us infinitely, though it may bring pain, can hardly be considered evil. Though the pain may last through the night of our souls, with the morning comes grace anew. We are not alone, as we are never alone, though we may feel we are. God is never far and His angels are hardly more than a phone call away. Rejoice in the doubt and the flood trusting that Christ’s love will never forsake us, nor will He ever let real harm come to us. That fear died the day it was hung on a cross. Now, only love exists. Love has won, forever.