Over the last few weeks I have cried tears of joy…. and tears of sorrow.
During the last weekend in January I was blessed to watch another grandchild enter this world. You would think that after the other two births I would know what to expect and not be so utterly overcome by the emotions of awe, love and joy. Not so! It happened again just like it did the other two times. Waves of tears, laughter, praise and words of aaahhh’s and ooohhh’s kept flowing from within me. My job during labor and delivery is to help my son-in-love (heard that term from a friend and I like it a lot better than son-in-law). He in turn devotes himself to attending to his wife, my daughter. I fetch his snacks and coffee, text updates to the rest of the family and friends, take memory-making photos and pray. This loving couple place their focus intently on the task before them. Their unity and support of each other is precious to behold. I am so thankful they allow me to witness the births of their babies. Who can ever fully explain the marvel of a newborn baby drawing his first breath of air and flexing his lungs with hardy cries! With tears of joy it is so easy to praise the Lord and release words of thankfulness in prayers to Him.
Then came the tears of sorrow. Due to circumstances, unexpected and from another area of life, confusion and turmoil manifested. I again felt emotions flow from deep inside of me, but this time the tears were mingled with fear, worry, anxiety, and discouragement. It was harder to kneel before the Lord with thanksgiving and praise. It was difficult to find that place of rest in Him, His peace. But as I ran to Him, thanking Him for His love and trusting Him to bless me through this dilemma, He lovingly and patiently taught me how to deal with my problem and gave me two very precious verses to encourage me. Blessings came in the form of hope and peace as His grace made my path straight again.
I am a visual learner so I love word pictures that teach a principle. Both of the verses the Lord revealed to me use a specific word to elaborate the truth.
Hebrews 6:17-20 New International Version (NIV)
17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised,he confirmed it with an oath.18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
An anchor “holds something else secure; gives stability or security”. In the verse above, hope is the anchor for the soul. Not just hope in general, like being positive or optimistic. It is hope in God, His truthfulness, His faithfulness, and the fact that He is a promise keeper. What He says He will do… will be done. Whenever trouble comes, it is our hope in Him that anchors us. The waves of life don’t have to sweep us into the rocks of the shoreline. I found it interesting as I looked for images of anchors to discover that many anchors have a cross in the center of their design. The work Jesus did at the cross provided us with the ability to approach our Heavenly Father with confidence, to go through the veil of the Holy of Holies, meeting Him, receiving the fullness of our inheritance in Him, and finding our security through His promises that He has the power, desire and ability to accomplish.
Colossians 3:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)
15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]
This verse really got my attention when the Amplified translation interpreted ” let the peace from Christ rule” as like an umpire. An umpire is “a person chosen to render a decision in a dispute; an official who administers the rules”. The Peace of Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace, is the umpire of our hearts, continually ruling out the thoughts that do not line up with the Father’s heart and purposes for our lives. The enemy, the world and our own minds can speak into our lives untruthful words of hopelessness, despair, faithlessness, and words lacking in love. We are all tempted when turmoil enters to allow these destructive thoughts to take seed in our hearts. If we do, the harvest is fruitlessness and defeat. When I yielded to the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, His Peace lovingly pointed out the untruths that I was allowing to germinate within me. He knew those thoughts would prevent me from being in the blessing of God’s game plan for that difficult situation. The analogy grows weak as I compare Jesus Christ to a real life umpire. Jesus is not the demanding, dictatorial force that would insist on getting the final word in His ruling. No, the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ stands ready with His wisdom and love, waiting on us to seek His way and yield to His work in us. I see Him as that consistent Reminder saying, “this is the way, walk in it”. So, this turmoil became another opportunity to praise and give thanksgiving to God even in the midst of it. He calmed the storm within me, giving me His Peace. Then I could live with hope in Him, waiting and expecting Him to calm the storm around me as well.
Philippians 4 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Connecting, with love