“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)
For many weeks I have endured a constant barrage of attacks and have been devout in my commitment to remain IN the Holy Spirit and use these situations and circumstances to bring honor and glory to God by manifesting his grace through my actions and my attitudes. I haven’t always found the words to articulate my yearnings to God, but Romans 8:26 says that in my times of grief and sorrow, my “wordless groans” are interpreted by the Holy Spirit and conveyed to God on my behalf.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” Romans 8:26 (NIV)
Throughout this ordeal I have been overcome with a sense of peace that has cushioned my pain and lessened it’s powerful blow. But last night it was there. In the dark, alone with me. It banged on my heart like a strongman with a jackhammer. It was surreal, I could feel every hit and it sent tremors through my body and triggered thoughts of “what if”, “why” and “how”.
In those moments I wasn’t able, or maybe on some level, willing to release the pain and submit to Gods promise of peace. I suffered all the night long with tormenting thoughts about how I am not “enough” and I will never make it out in the world without my husband. I replayed over and over again his harsh words and relived again and again the awestruck moment I realized he wanted out. The suffering was relentless and dug into the morning hours. The pain brought with it anger, confusion and regret. I feared it may never end. I feared that the past week’s sustained peace had been my minds shock-filled coping mechanism and now reality has shown up.
My broken heart led my thoughts to bounce back and forth like a ping-pong ball in play. First questioning Gods management of the situation then I questioning the doubts I was having. My emotional conflict raged on without ceasing, it was so overcoming I yearned for rest. I tried to force my mind to imagine a better future and recited scripture to combat the devastation my thoughts had illustrated. It wasn’t there. There was no peace to be had for me. I wish I could say that God’s word had won. I wish I could say that my faith overpowered the lies I was pondering. But I can’t. In the end, exhaustion won out and at 5:30 am this morning and I finally fell asleep.
When I awoke, I immediately conducted a thorough self-assessment. Examining every part of my being, searching for remnants of the pain and suffering I endured through the night. It’s vacancy was still fresh like a balloon that’s had the air released. Floppy and misshapen. I could feel that it had been there but it was most certainly gone now. All throughout the mindless movements of my morning routine, a thought lingered. “Why would I doubt what I know it true?”
If you drive a red car and someone tells you it’s blue, you know they are wrong so you stand on the facts. If the person persisted to the point of arguing, that your car was blue, you may forego arguing the color and begin to examine why this person is so adamant in trying to convince you otherwise. You may think about all sorts of possibilities as to why they are so firm in their position, but none of them will make reasonable sense. Because all you have to do is go outside and look at the car. It’s red. This is how I felt about my overnight experience.
I know that I am worthy. I know that I am lovable. I know that I am strong and courageous. I know I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that I am designed specific to God’s purpose for me. I know all this because I know who I am in Christ Jesus. So why then would I permit pain and suffering to call into question the facts?
The first quiet moment had, I slipped off into my bedroom and sat at my desk desperate for answers. Some might punch keywords into Google or Bing. Some might seek enlightenment from Dr. Phil or Oprah. Some may even go to their pastor or clergyman. When I need answers, I go to my book of instructions; the bible. There I found Jeremiah 17:9 (opening scripture above). I understood that scripture to mean that my emotions and feelings cannot be trusted. They are like the man arguing over the color of the car. Their argument is baseless and senseless. The immediately preceding verses, Jeremiah 17:7-8, speak of a tree firmly planted, with unfailing trust and It speaks to the confidence that is gained through that trust.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)
My prayer today, after all I endured last night, is simple….
“God forgive me for allowing the enemy to plant doubts in my mind. Forgive me for offering credence to my emotions untrue nature. I know that the heart and all feelings it erupts as well as the firestorm of ideas and thoughts derived, are FALSE. They are not of you nor from you. Your word clearly says sense cannot be made of the senseless. So lord, I pray that you make me like the tree. Help me to guard myself from the deceptions that dwell within me. Let me not waver when my feelings try to dissuade me from you. Plant me O Lord beside a rich and flowing stream. Allow me to produce healthy “Jesus” reflecting characteristics like the trees strong branches. Dear God let my roots run deep so that I can withstand the strongest of winds. Assist me in growing the greenest and fullest of leaves to protect my sons from the elements waiting to destroy them. Light my path so that my fruit is plentiful and luscious. Dear God, in Jesus Holy and precious name I pray. Make me a tree that has Recovered in Grace.