Friday, February 25, 2005

From the Heart...

I recently shared at our Leadership Training and Discipleship Seminar something autoboigraphical--it was a message literally born out of my immediate circumstances. I had been struggling with lots of crises and encountering emotional fatigue (I know, it sounds pretty depressing, doesn't it?). Weeks earlier I had chosen the topic to be presented at this session as "How to Keep Your Head Above Water...When You Feel Like Your Going Under". Little did I suspect it would be so timely for ME!

David shares his own personal "view from the bottom" in Psalm 13, where his recurrent pattern of "raging" with his emotions, reasoning with his intellect, and reaching the right conclusions in willful choices is on display. With my own emotions raging, it was obvious God meant these verses for me. Let me share just a few highlights from these "real life" verses.

The chapter opens with some words of a man who feels like he is going under. They sound like "God, have you forgotten me?" (verse 1) "How am I to deal with my confusion and frustration?" (verse 2a) "How do I process my grief and sadness?" (verse 2b) "Will the enemy ever give me a break?" (verse 2c) I have experienced all of those emotions--and seemingly, all at once. Have you ever been ina place where you felt just plain "overwhelmed?"

I asked myself in the midst of my struggle, what is at stake here? As David allows us to view his reasoning in the midst of crsis, several questions emerge. "Does God answer my prayers?" (verse 3a) "Can God sustain me in the middle of my battle?" (verse 3b) "Is God's reputation on the line?" (verse 4a) "What about the credibility of my personal testimony in this time of trial?" (verse 4b) David ponders these and then draws some conclusions that are reflected in the last verses.

What I discovered in David's personal story are some ways to keep my head abover water. David willfully decides some things--recogninzing his emotions but reflecting on his evaluation of God in the midst of the fire. "I will trust in God's unfailing love for me", verse 5a and "I will rejoice in the deliverance God provides me", verse 5b, are declarations of a man who has figured it out. "I will sing to the Lord", verse 6a, and "I will remember that God has been good to me", verse 6b, are expressions of his renewed confidence in God and his personal triumph over the potentially devastating grip of his emotions.

God used His Word--again (I should never be surprised!)--to bring me through the doldrums. Now on the other side, I can encourage you to don't go under...but to get your head up and grab hold of the One who has heard your call for help and has come to bring His hope in your crisis.