It’s one thing to sing about joy and peace when all is sunny and warm; it’s another when clouds hang over the horizon like dismal forebodings.
It’s one thing to praise God when healing comes and everything works according to design specifications; it’s another when undeniable pain interrupts sleep and a doctor says we need to schedule a biopsy.
I have often heard the expression “struggling with…” as in, “He is struggling with an alcohol/porn/Oxycontin addiction,” or, “She is struggling with a victim mentality/sympathy addiction/negative attitude problem.” I’ve used the phrase myself.
It is easier for him to say, “I am struggling with an addiction,” than it is to say, “I confess that I am giving in to an addiction,” or for her to say, “I am struggling with discouragement,” than “I am choosing to obsess about how much harder my life has been than other peoples’.”
It’s a euphemism, a prettier way to lie to ourselves and others. The truth is he has stopped fighting his addiction and she is deliberately wallowing in self-pity. The devil can custom-make the temptations he waves in front of our eyes, but we are the ones who choose to bite into them.
Here’s another crazy thing: it is so easy to divert attention by criticizing others for taking bites from forbidden fruit that are unattractive to us, while our own mouths are busy chomping temptation tidbits. I am not tempted by a case of beer (I can’t get it past my nose) but if a loved one driving on winter roads is an hour past estimated arrival time I can go from re-checking my watch to worrying about funeral plans in a ridiculously short period of time. I have habitually docked my boat in Worry Bay for far too many years. This is a change that doesn’t come easy.
My confession: I have been giving in to fear. For about three weeks I have allowed the “what-ifs” to drown out God’s promises to never leave me or forsake me. Fear has not been there the whole time, but often enough to distract me from enjoying precious moments with my new grandchild.
At first I kept the secret of ominous symptoms to myself, but then I had a dream about putting make-up on with a spatula and someone telling me that putting on a good face doesn’t make the problem go away, nor is it honest. That’s not faith; that’s denial. There is a greater truth that is seen from God’s perspective, but it doesn’t make the mere facts seen from human perspective untrue — merely limited.
This morning I read Psalm 57:
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
It’s a choice, the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) or the fruit of temptation (“Did God really say…?”).
This is a storm on the horizon. Maybe it will blow over, maybe it won’t. The Lord has safely seen me through many storms and He will safely see me through this one as well. Today I choose to listen to Holy Spirit.
Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
At a Standstill: https://charispsallo.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/at-a-standstill/