10/12/11

Riding Life's Roller Coaster

My husband, son, daughter-in-love and I sat in the backyard a few weeks ago, laughing hard. My oldest granddaughter Megan, enjoying a day at Magic Mountain with the church youth group, apparently made an accidental call on her cell phone while riding a roller coaster. We heard the delighted squeals and screams and she and a friend went up and down on the scary coaster.

Later, she sent me a cell phone photo, to remind me of the memorable call. Her roller coaster ride was fun, but many people experience roller coasters in life with their finances, relationships, habits, etc. that are far from fun. They are frustrating and sometimes scary.

I recently read a devotional in Revive Our Hearts' "Daily Reflections" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.* The devotional dealt with the emotions we feel when life's circumstances suddenly change and our emotions "fluctuate wildly."

Emotions are fickle. They can't be trusted.

"The truth is that, due to our fallen condition, our feelings often have very little to do with reality," DeMoss wrote. "In many instances, feelings are simply not a reliable gauge of what is actually true."

Last year, when I struggled with severe health issues, my emotions kicked in big time, and the enemy took me on a roller coaster ride of scary loops and ups and downs ~ faith and courage one minute, and anxious thoughts the next.

"I want to trust you, Lord, but what if I can't minister anymore?"

"Yeah, you're washed up," the enemy whispered.

"Nobody really cares about me," I complained.

"Yeah," the enemy agreed, "God's not paying attention."

"I can't take this anymore," I insisted (when my eyes and lips were swollen and I looked grotesque).

"Yeah, life's unfair ... God's not good," the enemy hissed.

I admit that my emotions went wild for a while, and as my pity-party kicked in, the enemy celebrated.

Then one afternoon, I remembered two scripture I'd learned. The first was from the book of Job ~ the patriarch's confident proclamation in the midst of his suffering: "But he [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold" (Job 23:10). God reminded me that He was not turning a blind eye to my circumstances. He saw and cared, but He was aiming to transform me through my circumstances.

The second scripture spoke of God's peace, and I envisioned it circling me, protecting me (Philippians 4:7). God's peace is like nothing this world can offer, because it is grounded in the truth of who our Father God is. God is sovereign in the affairs of this life (Psalm 103:19; Proverbs 16:1-4), and He is the God of goodness, purpose, and love. I can rest in God's sovereignty. I can relax and turn my heart toward worshiping Him, because He is great and totally in control (Psalm 95:3-6). My Father cares about me and doesn't let anything touch me without sifting it through His eternal purposes for my life (Philippians 1:6, Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11-12).

Did you get that? Strong, biblical truth is what calmed the roller coaster in my thoughts and emotions. When I committed my circumstances to Him, He established my thoughts and helped me move forward with confidence in Him (see Proverbs 16:3, Amplified.) In other words, I stood, once again, on solid ground.

This is exactly what DeMoss is saying: "In the midst of the roller coaster ride our emotions sometimes take us on, we have to constantly bring our minds and thoughts back to the truth."

Friend, are you riding a scary, heart-shaking roller coaster of emotions today? Don't give up; there is hope for you! Make the wise choice to place your trust in God's sovereignty and love, and in the sure Word of God and His promises. Your circumstances may linger, but your perspective surely will change, and thus, your ability to cope.

* "Daily Reflections" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (September 4, 2011). Devotionals available through Revive Our Hearts, www.ReviveOurHearts.com

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