“I have cast my anchor in the port of peace Knowing that present and future Are in nail pierced hands.” ~Valley of Vision
June-July has been a particularly difficult season for my family, and a transition one for me. Yet, it couldn’t have been more beautiful without the ups and downs we have been through. Why? Because God has been good. He has taught us to steady our hearts on that ground – His goodness; His faithfulness. His love.
Last week while waiting in queue to board a matatu home it started raining. The rain came as quite the surprise, the day had been sunny and almost cloudless and I could tell from the tongue-clicks and agitated voices around me that not only was it unexpected, it was also unwelcome. The guy behind me was so piqued he cursed and named it “bad luck”. Seeing as I did not have an umbrella, I ran to shelter myself under one of the nearby building’s roof and wondered whether his having a bad day could have led him to express his anger so strongly. It got me thinking, how just a few years ago that would have been me with my beliefs in luck (good and bad) and how I ever so often blamed my actions on things failing miserably, or lauded my good works for things going so well.
If ever there was a time I would be burdened by anxiety over what would happen next, it would have been in this past season, when everything seemed to crumble. First, by wondering what we did wrong to go through any of it. Then, by seeking to ‘mend my ways’ for God to have mercy on us and send good tidings (luck?) our way. And to add to the anxiety, wondering what is round the bend. Oh how I thank God that that is not the case! I thank Him for His deliverance from this way of thinking, and I thank Him even more for by His grace I have learnt to rest in His Sovereignty.
Then there was peace. Not.
So picture this: a tough season has just come to an end in your life – momentarily at least. It’s been a peaceful fortnight or so and everything seems okay. Fellowship has been enjoyable, refreshing, edifying. Work has been productive, and school in equal measure. All is well around you, the sea is calm, no sign of storm…but not in your heart. It all seems too good – too calm to believe and the bottom is going to fall out from under us any minute. I’m not going to lie, I have been here severally. Yes. I know that feeling all too well. Like waiting for the other shoe to drop, or the feeling that if things are going well, there must be something I’m missing, avoiding, I’m in denial about, etc. A dear friend joked that once we hit 40 that feeling (shoe dropping) begins to wane because by then we stop fearing the drop and just know it will. Ha. Really? 😀 Is there any truth in that?
Well, here’s why this has been an opportunity for sanctification in my life. When I have times of “peace” and all is going well, I thank and praise God for it. However, yes, I know it won’t last because this is life in a fallen world. In that regard, I do sometimes wonder what’s coming down the road next…what do I have to be prepared for. But through the hard parts, I can look back and see how God was working, learn lessons, press in harder to prayer and Scripture, and my faith is strengthened. I learn about God’s sovereignty. It doesn’t make it less hard, but it sure is comforting – more comforting than my own crazy speculations.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” ~Romans 8:28
Without doubt, there is a sublime sense of joy that comes with assurance. Our hearts are in constant search for certainty. But this is what I know today; that the Scriptures and Jesus are sufficient for my searching. (Oh such joy, such comfort!) He does not answer with certainty, and my preferred outcomes. A blessed un-assurance. Yet He requires my faith, in His goodness. His plans are better, even when they are really hard 🙂 I have always loved the hymn “Blessed Assurance”, and the upshot in this, is that in those spaces and places through which I’m fighting to believe, I pray that I shall learn to maintain the full assurance of hope in God.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
O, what a foretaste of glory divine.