Fear loudly challenges every thought. And Discouragement threatens each moment. All the while Hope cheers on, like an energetic high school girl, "Gimme a "P"...gimme an "E"..."R"..."S"..."E"..."V"..."E"..."R"..."E"! And Joy refuses to be silenced...even as Worry and Cynicism shoot disdainful glares her way, as if to say, "Grow up and taste reality, you have nothing to say worth listening to." This is the stage set to the chaos of my thoughts tonight.
My week...my last month even, has been full of tragic moments turned hopeful; discouraging news enveloped by new possibilities, and frightening circumstances passing without leaving much more than a mere shadow behind to attest that indeed they had been nearby. Yet for all the grace-filled outcomes, my heart still wrestles with the shadows I have brushed up against these past days. And the darkness outside reminds me to be afraid...while the Spirit whispers, "Hush, my darling...do not be afraid for I am with You. Do not be dismayed for I am Your God." And because in my heart I linger here somewhere between the darkness and the light...all I see are shadows...and they tempt me to fear them.
My mind is dizzy with anxiety, yet determination and inexplicable calm embrace my spirit and hold me still.
And maybe this is part of His desire in allowing these shadows to touch me. Maybe He wants me to wrestle with these thoughts. Not once or twice...but over and over until every muscle of my spiritual and emotional self has been built up to meet these dark adversaries and defeat them; the dark foes of fear and doubt and a cynical, worrisome spirit, and anxiety and discouragement. These well-practiced opponents must be met squarely and fiercely...or they may slyly enter unnoticed and settle deep within our selves where one’s will alone could never pry them loose. Maybe this is preparation.
I must know that He is to be trusted. I must know that He is to be worshipped in every circumstance. I must choose to let Joy sing, "Blessed be Your name!", when Cynicism and Worry attempt to intimidate her. I must be prepared to cling to Him when all the stormy winds of life shake and press upon and toss my world around.
When my husband has no job...when I see loved ones being destroyed by the temptress Alcohol…when my family and friends are airlifted to the hospital...when an SUV runs a red light on the highway and hits people I love...when strange men creep near my window...He is there. He is here. And even the blanket of night cannot hide His presence. He is.
"even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You." - Psalm 139:12
So, Hope will continue to cheer; I will give Joy a voice in each day...in every moment...in all circumstances.
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
And I will trust that He is here. I will rest in His strong hand. I will know that He is good...and I will worship Him...even in the dark valley, the valley where I live and the valleys I may face in this brief life. I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
"Blessed be Your name when the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering,
Blessed be Your name..."