Modern life accelerates into an era of increased chaos. Unhinged is a current description of the disorder that we find ourselves in. Life as we’ve known it is not easily recognized in this current acceleration of change. The stress of technological advancements, world geo-political upheaval, the pending dangers of collapsed economies and increased violence all reveal troubled times ahead.
This driving pace is overwhelming to the individual heart and contemplating mind. Get used to it. It is our rapidly-changing world; our chaotic, new norm.
Distress is an ancient problem. King David experienced and wrote about it. He felt he could not endure, being “at their wits’ end.” He found his resource of strength through desperate prayer.
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.” (Psalm 107:27-28.)
When life hits us hard and we lose our own will, how do we react? Do we bend with life’s circumstances, or break into a million pieces? This all seems part of the adversity we so often face. We certainly need to learn to bend with circumstances and get up when we get knocked down. The need to heal when we are broken and forgive when we are offended, or maligned, seems all too familiar.
A good exercise in flexibility is bowing our head and bending our knees. When we reach out for help in prayer and faith to God, the humbling process becomes real. It helps to gather our brokenness and lay it in his care. In due time, we mend, heal and spring back with renewed equilibrium and with an upright position of faith and hope. Bending our will helps us stand tall with strength to carry on.
In an atmosphere of epidemic stress the daily tension and present challenges of our age seem overpowering. It can lead to a valley of despair. The economic pressures families face, the need for affordable housing, fear of loss of employment and coping with daily concerns.. the list goes on ..
What a tremendous temptation to give in to despair. “Hopelessness constricts the heart, rendering it unable to sense God’s blessings and grace. It causes you to exaggerate the adversities of life and makes your burdens seem too heavy for you to bear. Yet God’s plans for you and His ways bringing about His plans, are infinitely wise,” writes Madame Guyon.
Embracing life is an adventure of learning and experience. Every season has its beauty even in hardship; our challenge is to remain positive, take hold of faith rather than become overwhelmed with hardship. The inward work, the discipline, the renewing of thinking that is required, strengthens and prepares us for an unfamiliar future. It is possible for beauty to come through our process of transformation while experiencing adversity. It is the triumphant human spirit that is forged when we choose to allow the work of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct.
Experiencing difficulties expands the heart to understand adversity and suffering. Many parents who care long hours for a chronically ill child display enduring strength. They are often the first to connect and develop a community of support for others. Adversity often develops wells of compassion and prompts action and service of help.
Shallowness has no place in a broken heart. The need for renewal is so much greater. Scripture speaks of God being near to the broken-hearted. The broken receive grace to experience the highest heights and the lowest depth of the soul. Grace is the footsteps of faith and love is the healing salve of the soul.
When we only remain lighthearted we certainly will enjoy a simple satisfaction, but those who allow trials to bring about the carving out of depth of soul will experience the deeper things of life and profound grace for others.
We may not be able to see light through current struggles; but we can believe that those dark winter days ~ perhaps even our today ~ is a day our heart is being developed, stretched to further capacity. Take hold of the God of hope and soon know profound joy will follow. There will be restoration and an enlargement of understanding beyond shallowness. We can then enjoy renewed peace and the soft meadow God has adorned with Spring flowers.