Still being ok even when I’m not ok is a new experience in my life. It’s not particularly brand spanking new, it is a lesson I have been learning over several years, but it is one of the more foundational, or more life stabilising ones…if that makes sense!
Being human means we have stuff to deal with. Even after we find Jesus, the junk doesn’t always miraculously go away. Sometimes it does, or a portion of it does, the simple encounter with the Risen Christ can deal with a lot of our garbage and a lot of the opposition we get from the enemy. This is the reason Jesus came, after all!
However, some of the healing we do is a journey. On top of this is life in all its mess and glory! Being in an intimate relationship with the God Of All Things doesn’t stop human relationships or local, national and international events from impacting us.
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:35-41 (NIV)
Previously the disciples had only known one reality from storms on the Sea of Galilee. They knew danger and probable death. Now; Jesus could show them they had Him and His knowledge of what is real.
This is the same for us.
We start out in our boat knowing one reality about the storms in life.
I want to talk about the ability to sleep during the storm. This is what I mean when I say “we're still ok when we’re not ok…”
There is still a storm. Life still happens around us and to us, we still make decisions and behave out of habit sometimes and find wounds which need healing.
Storms can happen around us or to us or come unexpectedly from circumstances outside our control. We may even inadvertently cause one ourselves by our own behaviour or choices- sometimes we know we’re doing it, sometimes it’s absolutely accidental.
The distinction we can learn is this: Jesus makes us safe.
No matter what storm is happening, I am ok.
People have complex emotions, and often must deal with complex situations. We have life issues we need to navigate, soul wounds Jesus wants to heal, mental and physical health issues we need to manage on the road to healing.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)
I had to learn the difference between the times I needed to seek help to navigate the internal storm- learn strategies, tools and new behaviours, get ministry and support- and the times when despite all the emotion, I had grown and was safe and it was time to use those strategies. When the emotions I was feeling were not dangerous, but did need to be expressed in an appropriate way in appropriate company.
There are times when a lot of things might be happening for us or around us. We might be facing a growth edge, walking through some tough healing, facing our own behaviour and changing our habits, going through a life ‘storm’, lots of transition/change, dealing with grief or loss, or waiting for promises to be fulfilled. Any of these (or other things) can contribute to the feelings of that ‘not ok’ place.
There is a something we need to look for underneath all the presenting emotion.
This is the Peace of the Presence of God.
After we choose a relationship with Jesus, we learn He has the power to first calm us in the storm and we progress to being able to sleep through the storm.
This might be a new understanding. It is often implied in Christian circles any strong emotional response to life is a wrong emotional response but we need to remember as humans; emotions come as part of the package, and healthy expressions of emotion need to be included in our lives.
Jesus displayed and experienced the full spectrum of human emotion. He was angry, he grieved, he rejoiced (at parties no less), he told people off, he bit his tongue, he was tempted, everything we could go through, He has experienced and displayed in appropriate context.
The foundational truth we can have underneath all things is: we are ok, even when we’re not feeling ok.
For many, many years, I did not have the reassurance of the Peace of God. The Power of the Presence of God was not real for me, it was not taught that it should be a normal a part of my Christian experience. As a result, I was not ok, I did not feel ok and I did not understand that it could be different. With no safe place to turn, keeping a lid on my internal storm nearly killed me.
Until I learned the reality of the Power of the Presence of God. Real Power. Real Presence. Real Peace.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you I do not give to you as the world gives do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)
Now, when Jesus leads me through difficult situations, He and I have a foundation of real Peace to work from.
It doesn’t stop life from happening. It hasn’t stopped me from having to look into the mirror of truth, it hasn’t stopped Him from challenging my behaviours, my attitudes or putting His finger on painful wounds and telling me which ones we’re going to deal with next (whether I like it or not…!!)
What it has done, is set in place the Power of Deep Abiding Peace. So. Much. Peace.
This is what He wants for everyone, and is available for everyone. The Power of Peace, His Peace, Jesus' own Peace.
More next week.
God Bless You Very Much