We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. ~ Isaiah 59:9b-10a
Yesterday was a truly terrible day.
I lost a battle with discouragement over a bunch of unresolved and ugly issues that have left me feeling anxious, uncertain and more than a little cranky in recent weeks.
Monday we discovered the security at our health insurance company was breached and every member of our family has had their personal information stolen. Therefore, it is possible that at this very moment some punk thief is enjoying the European vacation I have always dreamed of, and we are footing the bill for it.
Our family has seen more than its fair share of challenging changes over the course of this past year and it is likely that we have yet another big one coming. It appears that there is yet ANOTHER move on the horizon and we still haven’t finished unpacking from the last one. To complicate things further we really have no clue where we will move or when it will happen. Subsequently, a whole bunch of fairly critical decisions are presently on hold until we know something definite.
The heat has returned and so have all of the slithery, skittery desert creatures. As a result my (mostly) irrational fear of the backyard has returned in full force. Furthermore, a much-needed new diet and exercise regime has left me feeling achy, irritable and hungry. The payoff for all my hard work and deprivation has been a solid two-pound weight GAIN.
I am well aware that in the grand scheme of life and eternity none of these issues are the end of the world. There are plenty of people on this planet who would gladly trade my first-world problems for their much more real and pressing troubles.
That awareness did not keep me from wallowing in some of the most negative feelings imaginable for a few hours last night. I really do know better than to go there. I have learned the hard way that self-indulgent wallowing solves nothing and only leads to greater feelings of discouragement. However, feelings—especially negative feelings—are rarely ruled by logic or good sense.
My negativity was still going strong and steady at bedtime and as a result I had a hard time getting to sleep. The next morning I was still feeling tired and a bit sorry for myself when I opened my Bible and came across this gentle reminder courtesy of our all-knowing God:
We live by faith, not by sight~ 2nd Corinthians 5:7
As I meditated on the verse and how it so readily relates to my own life right now, I was reminded of something I heard our youth Pastor say in a sermon when the two older kids were still in high school.
“Feelings are the F-word of Christianity”
The poor guy took more than a little heat from some irritated parents over that statement. Many felt it was crude and poorly stated. But truth-be-told, he had an excellent point.
His point was that feelings are capricious things that should have little impact on the way we operate in this world. Feelings can and will trip us up in a million different ways. Feelings, if left unchecked, will lead us into situations Christians have no business being in. Feelings are the root of virtually every kind of heartbreak in this world. Feelings will lead us to doubt even the most obvious of truths. Feelings cause even wise people to do and say things that can never be undone.
Facts can also trip us up sometimes. Facts can tell us what is true at the moment, but not everything that is true at the moment is immutable. Situations can change and God is ultimately in control of the outcome of every situation.
God reminded me this week that we are called to live not by our feelings or even by the facts that are right in front of us. Rather, we are called to live by faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us that faith is the evidence or proof of facts and realities that we are unable to see or touch in the here and now.
Walking in faith does not mean that we ignore reality or dodge responsibility. Living by faith means trusting God to work out the details of what we do see, and remembering that feelings lie and facts change, but our heavenly Father can be trusted even with the most exasperating of circumstances.