Those Stormy Emotions

anchorLoss is a real thing to me in recent years.  My Dad and Mom died two years apart. Bev and I turned our lives upside down to care for my brothers, boys they had adopted, and that choice proved to be something less than a joyous experience, for the most part.  Then, of course, the biggest loss, her cancer journey and death just over a year ago.  I am a resilient person and, by God’s grace and with love of many dear friends,  I carried on with life thinking that I was dealing with it all, rebuilding life in a new way.  “He’s moved on,” some said.

Don’t fool yourself!  The wound is still there and it only takes a bump on the road to rip it open. That became so evident yesterday. My Irish Setter, Sam, who is almost 9, needed oral surgery so I dropped her at the vet’s in the morning, with the expectation that she would be coming home mid-afternoon. The procedure went well, he said, but give her a little extra time to recover from the anesthesia. 3 became 5, 5 became 6:30 and my emotions began to swirl – fear and anger and sorrow – in equal measures. With the tumult inside of me I realized anew just how fragile my heart remains. In the middle of it all, I fielded a couple of pastoral calls from people in pain, real and deep issues in their lives.

Not for a moment do I believe myself unique in all of this.  Pain is common. Disappointments are everywhere. All people endure seasons of intense suffering!

How can we cope with the inevitable losses that will come our way in this broken world?

First of all, we must anchor ourselves in the promise of God.
The prayer of the broken man written in the 73rd Psalm is often on my lips. “When I was beleaguered and bitter, totally consumed by envy, I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox in your very presence. I’m still in your presence, but you’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me. You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth! When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful. Look! Those who left you are falling apart! Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again. But I’m in the very presence of God— oh, how refreshing it is! I’ve made Lord God my home. God, I’m telling the world what you do!” (Psalm 73:20-28, The Message)  I love that passage for the brutal authenticity found there.  Who among us has not become a ‘dumb ox’ before God, emoting rage or bitterness as we are temporarily blinded by our tears? But He does not walk off in disgust. He tenderly loves us through our pain. And, when we settle and His Presence finds us, there is renewal of hope.

You are His beloved child. Why the pain? Why the disappointment?  We may never really know on this side of eternity, but He is unchanging, unfailing, and holds us secure in His grasp. Anchor to that, my friend!

We must stay self-aware and take charge of our hearts!
Yesterday in the tumble of emotions, I did some self-talk evaluating my situation, realizing that some of the things I felt were real in the moment, but not the truth of my life!  When the pressure comes, kneel!  Peter teaches us  that we should “humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.” (1 Peter 5:6-9, NLT)

We must learn to worship the One Who is greater and to give thanks.
The stories that the Bible records for us reveal that the men and women who stood tall were those who chose to worship in Spirit and truth. Job lost everything but his life. He raged against the unfairness of it all and asked God to show up and defend Himself! But, the Lord only revealed His majesty leaving Job’s questions shrouded in mystery. Job’s response? “I put my hand over my mouth.”  He chose humble worship. “Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (Job 42:1-6, NLT)

Finding yourself with tumbling, swirling emotions today? Are fear, anger, doubt, and/or confusion trying to take over your mind?

Anchor in His promise.
Get aware and take charge of your heart.
Humbly worship.

Here is a word from the Word.  “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11, NLT)

(And, this morning, Sam, the setter, is doing fine. She is a little grumpy but recovering well.)

_________

Good, Good Father

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

 You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

 I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word

 You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us 

Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love love love

Anthony Brown | Pat Barrett
© 2014 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Common Hymnal Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Housefires Sounds (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) CCLI License # 810055

 

 

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