Certain aspects of my life are a bit turbulent lately. Some days I’m riding on a the crest of a wave, happy to be alive and enjoying the adventure ahead. But the wave inevitably crashes.
I tend to evaluate my days relative to the waves. On top of the wave = good day. Wave on top of me = not so good.
It is exhausting. I can’t control the waves, nor can I steer my life around them or manage to stay on top of them.
That is not the way God wants me to live.
God knows that life will be a challenging, unpredictable and bruising ride, and he never promised otherwise. Any expectation of constantly calm waters is pure fantasy.
What God does promise, the truth in which we can confidently rest, is that He rides with us. With Jesus life’s ride is exhilarating; without him it is exhausting.
As someone who likes to have two feet on the ground and to know where my next step will take me, this is a challenge. I know it is true; I’ve taught it; I’m writing it. The Lord is giving me the opportunity to really learn it by living it.
I am doing my best to cooperate with this training by doing three practical things:
Confess my anxiety and pray for peace; confess my exhaustion and pray for exhilaration. Then rest in the power of God, by his Spirit, to transform my attitudes and actions. As Jerry Bridges, in The Discipline of Grace, is fond of saying, “Preach the gospel to yourself every day.”
Look for and learn to experience Jesus in every moment of every day. A moment of delight, encouragement from a friend, an overwhelming sense of God’s love are all evidence of God’s real presence.
Place the events of life into a positive, hopeful, and faithful mental narrative, expecting God to guide me into good and satisfying places. This is more than human positive thinking; it is faith in God’s promises. It means actively taking control of my thoughts, rejecting fear and reframing uncertainty in stories of faith.
Jesus and his disciples once found themselves in a surprise storm on the Sea of Galilee. Waves crashed over the boat, and the disciples were terrified. Jesus was sleeping. When the disciples woke him up, saying, “‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Matthew 8:25-26
I would be very encouraged by your experiences of Jesus calming storms in your lives or in your hearts. And I’m all ears for ideas to help me learn to live a more exhilarating life!