His presence in the pain.

I read this random article recently that said something that really made me stop and think.

“Panicking, which can lead to hyperventilation, is the number-one enemy to survival.” – Retired Navy Seal, Clint Emerson

It was this article on how to survive a drowning, which made me reflect on how may times I have said ” I feel like I am drowning.” Not only have I said it, but I have heard it come out of the mouths of those I love, countless times. And what is it that causes us to feel that way? For some of us it’s smaller things – the things that trigger deeper things, for others it’s the really massive events or hurts that knock us on our butts, but regardless of the magnitude of the storm, or how much sand we inhale in the desert, one thing remains; the moment we panic and take our eyes off of Jesus, we begin to drown. You see, panic comes from a place of allowing our skewed perception to overpower our hope in the unseen.

A friend sent me a message in which part of it read  “…let’s try to remember every thing, every single thing, is sifted first through God’s hand before it hits us…”

The day after my last blog post, one of my closest friends lost her husband, and her whole world stopped. In the midst of one of the most painful situations any of us can imagine, one thing that has blown me away, is her heart for Jesus in all of it. Though the waves are crashing, and her breath is continuously being robbed from her, she is fervently pursuant of the cross. She is not ignorant to the excruciating pain that each day brings, she shares it with us, but in those same texts she asks for prayer, because she knows that she needs it and she continuously informs us all of how God is showing up for her and her children. Her abundant faith in Jesus leaves no space for panic or worry. Recently she said to me “God has been preparing me for this.” That statement alone brought me to tears because I know that the ability to see that in the midst of this level of hurt, requires total surrender and absolute trust in who God is. I am truly gleaning so much from her in this.

“And then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 MSG  

Do you believe that Jesus is reliable? That his grace far surpasses any we have ever seen? That he is truth, and not only is he able, but that he is faithful to go ahead of us? I am learning there are a large group of us that forget that turmoil and struggle are a part of the agreement when we choose Jesus, but even more so that he promises to never leave us. I myself, am guilty of having said so many times, with tears in my eyes,  “I don’t want this story, it’s too messy.” And the truth is that statement comes from a selfish place. A place of not wanting to be exposed for being weak or broken. And I am not alone there, am I? There’s a good group of us sitting with our pride and hurt feelings and struggling to give it to Jesus. To let it go. But what if, instead of asking for less mess, we pursued Jesus’s presence in it, what if we found all the ways he has been preparing us for these very storms? What if we understood the truth in the scripture that tells us?

What makes my friends attitude so admirable, is that she is choosing it. Her perspective on who God is, has radically effected her thought pattern, which has radically effected her decision making, and those choices have had wide ripples all around her. It’s the beauty of free will, and we all hold the same opportunity. – Wish away the mess, panic, and deal with those waves. – Or see his goodness in the fire, and be blown away by the way God uses the breeze.

Eyes wide, ears attentive, hands open, and hearts expectant.

Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:19 MSG


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