What do you do when troubles come?

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Photograph by Tracey Berry. Find more like this on Instagram @traceaberry

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 

2 Corinthians 4:17

Your life matters. Even if you thought it was just a drop in the ocean, trivial in terms of the grand scheme. I’ve discovered this little by little in the ordinary moments; as day by day those tiny dots reveal more than an insignificant point on a page. As I look back, as I take my pen, as I make the links and join the dots together, new truth is revealed. To begin with, it was just about me. My pain, my daughter, my family and the need to make sense of a situation that was beyond us. Yet God in His faithfulness guides my hand and the picture of His grace forms before me. He’s been there all the time pulling the pieces together, working all things for good.

The years teach much which the days never knew. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Still it’s easy to feel swallowed up by the subtle fears that linger in the night. Or to take a word that’s been spoken out of context and create a dramatic scenario in your mind. It’s easier to fill your mind with negative thoughts than positive ones even when your outlook seems positive to everyone else, even when you’ve won bigger battles than the one in front of you now.

I find myself laughing at Elijah who after defeating the prophets of Baal, “was afraid and ran for his life” (1 Kings 19:3). Secretly I’m encouraged by this. I am afraid too. I don’t know why. Why do we so readily return to fear even after experiencing success? Elijah went into the desert, came to a broom tree, sat under it and prayed that he might die. Sometimes it’s all too much and after a major battle another hiccup tips us over the edge. So we do whatever we can to regain control.

What do you do in these circumstances? I sort the cupboards, throw things out and try to create order. I make lists and resolutions. I explore a range of fitness options, even consider joining the gym. I catch up with the people who’ve known me forever and check on their lifetime goals and how they are tracking. I ask them to help me stay accountable as I pour us another glass of wine and comment that Febfast doesn’t start for at least another week. I tell myself that this year I won’t take myself so seriously, I’ll take more time to relax, spend more time with friends and worry less about the things beyond my control.

And as I make plans, God laughs, just as the Yiddish proverb says He would. Just like He did for Elijah, He sends me everything I need. He sends me food and drink and visitors. He shows me compassion and care. Tenderly He acknowledges that the journey has been great then He allows me to rest. In spite of all His kindness however He isn’t finished with me yet. Just as He wasn’t finished with Elijah, just as He isn’t finished with you. There’s stuff for us to do. When you get caught in a rut or complacent, He’ll come to remind you that your life matters. He’ll question your crazy thoughts. “What are you doing here?” He asks, challenging you to consider the work of His hands.

As you stand on the edge of the cliff seeking His direction, He reminds you that His ways are higher than yours. He’s not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire but in the still, small voice. When you hear it everything is calm.

And the night will be filled with music
And the cares that infest the day
Will fold their tents like the Arabs
And will silently steal away.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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1 Comment

Filed under Grace, Life

One response to “What do you do when troubles come?

  1. Jess

    Guess what! Decided to really pursue my dreams this year!! Have decided to do my masters in primary education, through distance education at UNE. Hope this year gives you much needed relaxation and lots of fun! So much love xxxxx

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