Faith Amidst Euroclydon

Swirling thoughts of uselessness, hopelessness, and despair encircle me to the point of near devastation and yet somehow I keep my head up or rather, I keep moving forward.

Recently, a friend of mine with a very similar personality to my own, texted something to me that made sense of my swirling thoughts and my seeming inability to formulate them in to words.  I usually keep those kinds of words/texts and dwell on them for days, weeks, months, sometimes even years.  However, I also occasionally tend to “clean out closets” in an attempt to not be a hoarder (even of words).  And, unfortunately, this apparently is one of those times.  Otherwise, I’d share with you the exact words this friend used.

As so many of my fellow Christians say, “I went to church on Sunday.”  I’m trying to change my vocabulary and say, “I went to a worship service on Sunday.”  I realize I’m being a bit “nit picky” and yet words and descriptions really do have an impact on how things are viewed.  The discussion regarding how to define the word “church” is better saved for another time.  My point to all of this is to tell of something I heard while at said aforementioned service that relates to my swirling thoughts and to what my friend said about me.

The pastor of this particular group of believers has been working through the book of Acts.  This past Sunday, he indicated that he’s never heard chapter 27 preached quite like he had at the Calvary Chapel 2017 International Senior Pastors & Wives Conference.  He shared the video of Damian Kyle teaching/preaching.  The following is part of what struck me as significant.

Acts 27:20 says this in the second part of the verse,

…all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

This comes after they faced Euroclydon in verse 14.  Euroclydon is described as:

  • a tempestuous head wind
  • a wind of hurricane force
  • a violent wind
  • a wind of typhoon strength
  • a gale-force wind

It was seen as an infamous northeastern storm, not unlike the winter storm that recently hit the northeastern part of the United States.  Damian Kyle explained that he feels this particular story of a shipwreck was included to show us that even when all hope is lost, God is still there.  He went on to share the famous Footprints in the Sand poem.  I remember truly loving that poem as a child/adolescent and yet now I somehow feel as though it is over-used.  But, my mind is wandering again.  Back to what I considered ‘significant.’

I suppose one must realize that part of the significance comes from what the pastor did/said after the video of Damian Kyle was finished.  The pastor asked for people around the room/auditorium/sanctuary to stand if they’d been through a Euroclydon-type storm and come out “victorious” on the other side.  I remember feeling like I could perhaps half-way stand, and yet… I still so much feel like I’m in the middle of a Euroclydon because of my swirling thoughts that I’ve already mentioned… (numerous times, if you follow my blog at all).  After he had people stand as a “testimony to God’s faithfulness,” he then asked for people to stand who felt as though they were in the midst of a Euroclydon.  I stood, but then I immediately started crying and could not stay on my feet.  My younger daughter was with me, and she held out her hand to mine.  A man I’ve never seen before or since came and placed his hand on my shoulder or arm and asked if I was okay.  I nodded my head amidst my sobs.  (What else could I do or say?)

Why am I sharing this with any of you? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know except to say that somehow, not by my own choosing, God has given me a faith in Him that cannot be explained.  It is this faith that keeps my head above the waters, or as I stated earlier, keeps me moving forward.

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Satirical Saturday or my poor attempt at inaccurate alliteration

I’ve not blogged in a while… not because I’ve not wanted or needed to, but because I’m afraid of what people will think. Within recent months, I’ve told people (who I actually know) about my blog. And, that’s what has me frightened. I’m afraid I’ll divulge something that heretofore has been somewhat private. I’m afraid of being judged. (I know how people are… myself included. Why are we that way?)

Life is a complicated thing. Daily, all of us are learning how to maneuver and manage in this world… whether we realize it or not. Our world is changing fast. We don’t see it because of the intense speed with which it is changing.

I no longer feel like I’m able to accurately articulate my true feelings and thoughts about things. It’s like my own little corner of the world is spinning around and around and around with no end in sight, and I’m scrambling to try and figure out how to hold on or jump off. With my propensity to over-think things (EVERYthing), this spinning wheel may eventually crash. That being said, I truly am glad that I have a personal relationship with the One who holds it all together. Knowing that doesn’t necessarily make it easier. As James says, I’m verrrry slowly learning to “count it all joy when [I] fall into various trials.”

This song is not really related… or is it?

p.s. I have a different place to live. See my previous post if you don’t understand.

Praying for Open Hands

I am hesitant to ask for prayer mainly because my problems seem relatively minor compared to most.  However, I am extremely stressed and overwhelmed.  Things at work have changed supposedly for the better, and yet things are different.  (And even though, in this case, different and better are good; they are still stressful.)  The place where I live is being placed on the market to be sold.  Searching for another place is difficult at best (especially considering my very limited income).  The wonderful people who are a part of my local church and small group are so loving and kind, and yet I still so very often feel alone.  Considering the lilies of the field and the birds of the air (and how God provides for them) is great until my feet have to hit the pavement.  Trusting the Lord, completely, has been and continues to be one of the most difficult things. I am not even sure what to ask you to pray for, but thank you to whomever does pray.

This song by Laura Story featuring Mac Powell from Third Day is one of many that comes to mind:

“Mrs. Positive” vs. the Ex-Wife

So, my ex is married to “Ms. Positive of the Universe,” and I find myself wallowing in self-pity.  Obviously, something is not right.  Even to admit this publicly could bring shame upon myself.  However, I need to get over it.  (I’m sure “Ms. Positive” would agree with me.  Oh wait… I should label her properly.  It’s not “Ms.” but “Mrs.”  Only those of us who are divorced and not remarried have the honour and privilege of the “Ms.” title. 🙂 )

Do I have a point to this?  Probably not… except to say that I’m attempting to let off some steam.  I struggle with seeing how she claims to be the number one fan of her daughters and includes my two daughters in the (literal) picture (along with her three daughters).  I know I need to probably ‘address’ this issue with her, but I really do not know how to breach the subject.  Will I be banned from WordPress for writing about it here?  I highly doubt it.  Will she ever see this?  Probably not… unless someone who knows her (and me) points it out to her. Will I be upset if she sees it?  Probably.  Will she be?  I don’t know.  It’s possible.  But, will we all get over it?  Will it one day “pass,” like many people keep telling me, “This too shall pass”?  I sure hope so!  Maybe by me writing about it I’ll somehow feel better.  I don’t know.

The longer I live, I’m finding that there are many things that I do not know. And, there are many things for which I have no answers.  To simply say that Jesus is THE answer sounds great!  I’ve been waiting a long time (and reading a lot of Scripture and excerpts from books written by dead theologians) to try and figure out how that applies to real life.

Redeem the Time

When and how do we know to move from the time of rest to the time of action?  I posed this question in my previous post.

And then today, I read Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s morning devotion which would seem to indicate we are called to action NOW… not some time down the road in the future.

Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do to-morrow as if that could recompense for the idleness of to-day.

So, if it’s now, how does that truly play out in actual life?  We (and by saying ‘we’, I suppose I’m referring to most, if not all, humans) are consumed with ourselves.  We think we have got to have the latest, greatest.  Or, we think that just because there’s a sale on something, then we ought to get it … in case it would be of some use ‘down the road.’  But, what about now?  We’re really only given “right now.”  We aren’t promised the future.  Look at the recent tragedy in Chattanooga.  The six children (ages 6 to 10) do not have a future here on earth.  Neither they nor their family ever expected that their lives here on earth would be cut so short.  So, how do we “redeem the time”?

I certainly don’t claim to have the answers.  However, I believe the Bible holds THE answer, which is Jesus Christ.  That is so simplistic, and yet that is somewhat the point.  The gospel… that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin… IS very simple.  So simple, that many do not accept it.

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We (myself included) must learn to trust … no matter what.  Also, we must continue  on the road in front of us and not grow weary.   (See Proverbs 3:5-6, Hebrews 12:1-2, Galatians 6:9-10, Philippians 3:13-14, Isaiah 40:31.)

Digressing and Trusting

I digress.  My post from earlier this week didn’t make much sense.  But, that’s okay.  I realize that I never really explained why I felt like I wanted to argue with Beth Moore.  And, after re-reading her devotion for October 24, I realize that I’m not even sure about what it was that I thought I wanted to argue.  So, I start telling myself how silly and useless I am… when deep down, I know that I’m not useless.  (Perhaps I am silly but not useless.)

My ongoing depression seems to keep me in a near constant state of second guessing myself.  That’s just the thing that the devil wants me to be doing… focusing on myself and not on Jesus and not on honorable, right, and lovely things (Philippians 4:8).  Thing is, I tend to take all that I’ve ever read (specifically from the Bible) and ‘latched onto’ as things I need to do all at the same time.  When very often, God would have me simply rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-30).

When and how do we know to move from the time of rest to the time of action?  Paul’s writings seem full of action… especially in Philippians where we’re told to rejoice in the Lord always, pray about everything, do all things through Christ, press on to the goal, look out for the interests of others, don’t grumble or dispute, and on and on.  And yet, in some ways, he sums it all up in the first chapter when he says, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (See Philippians 1:21.)  It would seem that the “how” of moving from rest to action is to continually focus on Christ.  And, to continually focus on Christ would indicate that it must be done every moment of every day.

Some would say that it’s impossible to do anything every moment of every day, and yet we breathe every moment of every day.  Is breathing something with which we struggle?  (Those with a lower lung capacity or some other type of respiratory problem do, but I’m talking about the average person.)  No, of course not.  However, we seem to struggle with breathing Jesus in and out.  (I’m ‘preaching’ to myself… as much as anyone else.)  “Consider the lilies” comes to mind.  (See Matthew 6:28-29 and Luke 12:27.) If only we would trust.  As Oswald Chambers said in My Utmost For His Highest for October 27, the “secret of joy is that you have the right relationship with [Jesus].”

Perhaps ‘resting’ and ‘acting’, as I’ve coined them, can be simultaneous as we press on to the goal.  (See Philippians 3:13-14.)

Belief and Faith – Opening a Can of Worms

I may be splitting hairs and opening a can of worms by writing about this; but after reading Beth Moore’s Believing God Day by Day “devotion” for October 24, I found myself wanting to argue with her.  (You should be able to read her words by clicking here.)

I immediately thought of what the Bible says in James 2:19

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

But, as I looked more closely at the verse and the ones surrounding it, I thought of how often we may take it (as well as countless over verses) out of context.  The context of James 2:19 is the discussion of faith without works.

So, when any of us uses the words faith and belief interchangeably, perhaps we are simply (as if “simply” could accurately describe anything about following Christ) trying to find one word to describe our devotion to God.  Even as I type this, I have so many thoughts surrounding the words: belief, faith, devotion, walk with Christ, follower of Christ, total surrender to Christ, etc.  (Even my use of the word “simply” brought up thoughts of the following verses because of how simplistic (i.e. childlike) belief (there’s that word again) in Jesus is.)

Matthew 11:25

At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”

and Matthew 18:3

and [Jesus] said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

And with that, I invite you (and myself) to read (in my case, re-read) what Oswald Chambers wrote for the October 10 “devotion” in My Utmost for His Highest.  (You can see the updated edition by clicking here; or if you prefer, the classic edition by clicking here.)  May our “arguing” with fellow believers challenge us to seek Christ more and obey Him without question.

Scripture quotations are from the NASB.