“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16, NIV)
Today was a difficult day. I should have expected it. I failed to set aside the first moments of the day for communion with my God. As soon as my feet hit the floor, my thoughts started spinning ’round a situation that has been causing me quite a bit of angst. For most of the day, I was distracted by an attempt to understand exactly what is going on and how things are going to be resolved…right now. Yes, I want to know now. Not tomorrow. Not next month, but now. (Does anyone else ever find it difficult to wait?)
Anyway, toward the end of this day (after giving most of it over to anxious thoughts), I was reminded of a very familiar Scripture. Sometimes its familiarity causes me to lose sight of its profound meaning. I love the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in The Message Bible: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:5-6). In other words, He is the one who will protect me and keep me safe. But, sometimes more often than I’d care to admit, I believe I need to be the one to keep me safe and protected, especially in matters involving the heart. Therefore, off I go in a frantic search of every piece of the puzzle until it’s perfectly fitted in place.
Life lived this way can be extremely hazardous to one’s health, especially one’s mental health. It’s very likely that this will be the core issue of most who come to my office for counseling. No, counselors are not immune to experiencing the same struggles as their clients. There may be a different intensity level, but it still boils down to the same thing: a distrust that God is indeed holy love. Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest: “Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love.”
I read this incredibly brilliant statement about a month ago and have pondered it deeply ever since. To me, establishing myself on the eternal truth that God is holy love is only possible when I consistently and faithfully abandon myself to Him each day. When I “let the morning bring me word of His unfailing love” (Psalm 143:8). This establishment can then be practically played out each moment of the day as I trust God from the bottom of my heart, not trying to figure out everything on my own. In those times of sweet intimacy with Him, I can learn to listen for His voice in everything I do and everywhere I go. So even in situations (like my current one) where I cannot see Him right now and cannot completely understand what He is doing, I can rest in the eternal truth that He is love. And I can rely on the love that God has for me. It is unfailing.
I am so grateful that, although I spent most of today uselessly ruminating over a situation out of my control, by this evening His Spirit had gently reminded me of the above truth. There was a time in my life that it would have lasted much longer than one day. And, indeed, as Oswald predicts, disaster surely occurred. But not today. And I think not tomorrow either. I believe I’ll enjoy that sacred time in the presence of my Father before I head out the door in the morning. I vote for mental composure over disaster any day! And, what about you?