“… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
I believe in God.
Muriel was a chain worrier. One stormy night she was totally stressed out about her three teenagers who were out in the fringes of the hurricane. She was just as distraught over the last 2 when the first arrived in good cheer, unscathed. And still immobilized by fear for the third after the second appeared. As she writhed in an agony of worry on her bed, harassing the Lord with her unbelief, he seemed to say to her, Do you want to spend the rest of your life living like this? Startled, she cried out, “Oh, no, Lord! I truly don’t. Please deliver me!” And, as she never tired of testifying, he did. In an instant. For most of us it takes a bit of growing, but not for Muriel. She just quit once she got focused on who God really is. Later she wrote this couplet:
Anything, anytime, anywhere,
I leave the choice with you.
What e’er you say I’ll do.
I may not know what God’s purpose is in sending or permitting difficulty in my life, but that he has a purpose I am confident. Self-pity can’t even get a hearing! Shake my puny fist in the face of God, as some testify? They must not fear the infinite, holy One. Or perhaps they’ve not watched the agony of the Father’s face as his only Son hangs helpless, crying out, “why have you abandoned me?” Why indeed! For my sake it was! That’s how much the Father and the Son love me. How often, when I’ve tried to untangle the reasons God seems to have abandoned me, have I returned finally to Calvary and whispered, “Dear Jesus, how could those hands pierced for me ever allow anything truly evil pass through to touch me? Help me trust you when I can’t figure out the why.’’ Theology does indeed protect from the ravages of ungodly responses!
I believe in love.
“How does God enable you to love Muriel when there’s so little left to love?” I was being interviewed on camera, but I knew the young anchorwoman didn’t make up that question. She’d been given it by the production manager who had asked me similar questions during the last 24 hours. I waved for the cameras to cut.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to answer that question,” I said to the producer. “How would you feel if I said you were very difficult to like but that God was giving me supernatural ability to like you anyway? Not much of a compliment! I know that anything of merit in me comes as a gift from God, to be sure, but I love Muriel because she’s altogether loveable. I can’t not love her. She’s my precious.”
“OK,” the producer responded, “that’s fine. Just say that.” And the cameras rolled.
She loved me passionately for 40 years and stored away countless memories that still flood me with joy. And in the morning when our eyes connect and she flashes that glorious smile for a fleeting moment, my heart leaps. She’s so gentle and contented- oh, I can’t explain love. But I believe in love.
Theology seems to have built up my spiritual and psychic immune system. But when that immune system fails, I’ve discovered theology also has the power to heal, to correct wrong thinking, to renew.
How is it with you? Building up your immune system? Are you healing? Correcting your wrong thinking by growing in your knowledge of God? Perhaps you are walking away from what you know. Recommit today to protect from the ravages of ungodly responses.