Such a beautiful day–full of sunshine. Why, then, does it seem so cloudy?
A pleasant walk with my sweetheart. A nice rest by the waterfall. A soft breeze. Any other day, I would file it under “perfect.”
But not today. Something is amiss.
The stinging in my eyes won’t stop. And I realize that the slightest thing might just send a flood of tears pouring out.
I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to give in to this lack of peace…this unrest in my soul.
I want to live rejoicing in the Lord and giving thanks for all His wonderful blessings in my life. But somehow today I feel frozen. Like the world is swirling around me and I am so dizzy I can’t see straight.
Have you ever had one of those days? They can take us by surprise.
I suppose it started yesterday, visiting our sweet friends at the hospital. The hospital. Once again. On Easter Sunday.
Meeting her in that empty cafeteria only accentuated the emptiness I knew she must be feeling. This past year’s barrage of cancer treatments has taken its toll on her husband’s body. And now things don’t look good. So much is uncertain…about what is causing his condition, about his life, about their future. Listening as she shared her broken heart, waves of sadness washed over me, remembering what it feels like to be sitting by the bed of the man you love watching him suffer and not knowing…anything. All I could do was listen and hug her and pray that God would bring a miracle.
Then this morning, when my husband got up, he seemed more quiet than normal. It was as if a cloud had settled in over us. I can usually hold it together when he is strong, but when he gets down? I start to crumble.
We went for our walk. And it was lovely. But quiet. Somber.
It is obvious to me now. Thinking about our friends and their struggle led us to focus on our own struggle of what the future holds. Our thoughts settled on what used to be and what won’t be again. But these thoughts are not where they need to be.
We need to keep our eyes on the One who is leading us forward–the Lord Jesus, to put our hope in Him and give Him praise. We must be still and simply rest in God’s loving arms…one. more. time….and never give in to worry or sadness. For God is always with us. He promises to never leave us. He will take care of us. He keeps His promises.
Psalm 56:3 reminds me to trust Him: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” For the Lord God is faithful and my life is in His hands.
My mind flows to the psalmist’s comforting words in Psalm 23:“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
I need to lie down in those green pastures and allow the Lord my God, my Shepherd, to lead me beside still waters. Only He can restore my soul with His wonderful peace and joy. And make my heart smile.
Our feelings are very real. They come and go with the violent twists and turns and ups and downs of a rollercoaster. Jesus also had very real feelings…of sadness, of grief, of fear. These feelings are not sinful in and of themselves. But like Jesus, we must not let them master us or dictate our actions. What is important is to take those feelings that threaten to bring us down and lay them before the Lord. He will fill our hearts with His truth and remind us of His love and goodness and faithfulness. He will keep the smile in our hearts with the knowledge of who He is and that He is in control.
So on those days when the clouds roll in and tears begin to form, turn your focus to the Lord and lay it all before Him. Remember that He is in control. He loves you. And your heart will smile in the midst of your tears.Help my soul rest in Your green pastures, Father. Restore my soul with Your quiet waters. Help me simply be still and know that You are God. In this is my peace. Help me to keep my eyes on You, the Great Shepherd. For in You is my soul’s rest. The tears may yet flow. But I will smile through the tears, for I know You hold my heart in Your mighty hand. And You are here! O thank You, precious Lord!
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All Scripture from New International Version of the Bible, 1984.
"Sheep, Field, Clouds" by Ingrid Taylar via flickr (license: CC BY 2.0) "Sunlight on Water" by John Shortland via flickr (license: CC BY 2.0), cropped, text added.