In reading recent prayer requests, I am reminded once again, of how many and varied, are the trials in this world. I am so thankful for Jesus’ comforting, parting words to His disciples found in John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
As I read the prayer requests, I often become aware that the reactions are as diverse as the requests. Sometimes it is difficult to see past our troubles when they seem like sky-darkening thunderclouds that keep roiling over and over and over, threatening our very existence! We hear the noises that surround us and look for places to hide. As we hug our arms to our own bodies, we don't leave an open space that allows others close enough to offer reassuring hugs that say, "I am here. You are not alone." Our weeping becomes so loud it doesn't let us hear God's quiet voice of comfort saying, "I will never leave you."
In our pain we turn into ourselves much as a roll-up bug (a.k.a. pill bug) does when touched and just as when the wind blows one of those little creatures away, so we just go wherever the wind blows us in our self-imposed protective little ball.
Maybe we fear no one else can possibly understand how we feel. Perhaps someone has passed our concern off as “nothing to worry about” or “You’re a Christian…where’s your faith?” and made us think God judges us that same way? Is that how you would look at your child’s worry, real or imagined, or would you understand where it came from…your child? “If you understand and know how to take pretty good care of your child, how much more does God know how to understand and take good care of you?” (My paraphrase of Matthew 7:11)
Sometimes we have convinced ourselves that because we are Christians, we shouldn’t be feeling this way… we are questioning, depressed, and not as spiritually strong as we once were. And who do we tell…because we’re supposed to be strong Christians, right? Maybe when we are feeling far away from God, a word-picture gleaned from the 15th chapter of Luke, verse 20, would help guide our own return: “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Close your eyes…imagine that’s you and God your Father! That story is there to tell us that God loves us that way!
Also, here’s a reminder that there can be physical reasons for some of these feelings; don’t dismiss that possibility as unimportant. Not enough rest can influence physical feelings, as can a chemical imbalance, or even lack of enough bright light in our lives! I am, as a dear friend once put it, a sunshine-activated personality! I need a lot of sunshine (or bright light) to stay on the sunny side of life. Once we get the physical side of life under control, the rest often falls into place helping us to more clearly see that the real persons we are were not filled with all those questionable qualities. We’ll no longer feel the need to roll up and shut out the very voices that call to us to say, "I am here. You are not alone."
And, yes, even though in the world we will have tribulation, we can take courage because He has overcome the world, and “He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.’" (Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 3-10-2010
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