My Perspective on Lesson 3: The Storms in Life
“The way you think creates your attitudes; the way you think shapes your emotions; the way you think governs your behavior; the way you think deeply influences your immune system and vulnerability to illness. Everything about you flows out of the way you think.” – John Ortberg
“Don’t answer.” My husband hovers behind my chair after I had let out a growl of frustration.
“I have to answer. But there’s a good way to answer.”
An acquaintance from church had sent me an email filled with good intentions. The irritation subsided after I realized she meant no harm. The woman didn’t have a malicious bone in her body; quite in contrast to the other people who chose to take an attitude of harshness, judging my situation from their narrow points of view. Besides, I thought, how many moments have I also walked into a situation that I had no understanding of, and thought my words might make a difference? Instead of anger that night, I felt peace.
I gently spoke to her without caving to the urge to justify my choice, and focused instead on God’s actions in my life. I also explained that few people can understand the situation. In other words, I didn’t expect her to understand or know, and forgave her in that instance her trespass. After a lengthy conversation about other areas of life, we ended on a good note. I slept well and woke in the morning reflecting on the storms in my life.
There have been many storms: gossip, betrayal, sorrow, heart-break, abandonment, and encounters with the Judas in my life; the people who kiss your cheek even as they betray you to the guard. My pillow had absorbed many tears and God has heard me complain. Maybe I have every right to complain, but I know my right to complain will not help in the healing process. Tomorrow new storms may rise on the horizon and darken the light, but not this day!
Grace Fox in Lesson 3 says to, “Counteract fearful thoughts with truth, fill your home with praise and worship music, practice the presence of God, create an altar of God’s presence, and choose to give thanks.” That’s difficult when the storms come, when disaster tears down everything dear to you, and friends betray you. In the midst of it, you can’t see. Wiser friends helped me see that joy does come in the morning. The night is temporary.
A song has always filled my mind and helped me to see that God is good even when bad things occur; everyday I talk to God, pour my heartache to Him and He makes it good; over my bed hangs a sign, something I created to remind me that God is joy; and every day I give thanks to Him even when I don’t get my way. Even in grief, God is good.
I learned that it’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to vent that grief and rid the wound of the poison so it can heal. I learned how to see life in a different way and thank Him even now for the storms that have shaped my faith. As I sit here reflecting on that email conversation, I am amazed at how far in my healing I have come. Her words though well-intentioned did not elicit anger, but forgiveness and grace. She said the Holy Spirit provoked her to talk to me. I believe it was the Holy Spirit, but not for reasons that she may think.
The storms in life may come, but joy always comes in the morning. Our storms can help others. I am grateful for the gossip and the good intentions because it made me more aware of my own words when I long to help others. It helps me to check my words and my good intentions and just listen and love and not think I know what’s going on in their life.
Thank you, Lord, for that conversation. Thank you, Lord, for the constant reminders that you are greater than our problems. You are the Miracle Worker, the Healer, and the God who is in control. It’s easy to forget that in the midst of the storms of our lives. It’s easy to think we can come in like a mighty angel and save someone when the miracles don’t come from us or our actions, but from You. We just need to get out of the way so You can move through our lives. Forgive us, Lord, when we try to fix things on our own. May the people who are our unwilling victims to our good intentions understand that we love them and mean no harm. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Question From The Lesson: What promises of God have been meaningful to you during fearfilled situations?
Information about my Friday column, The Chronicles of Church Fellowship is available here. I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD & Study Guide set from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com). You can buy this DVD study here.