From time to time, something dark catches me up and throws me to the ground. Pain at the back of my heart pushes tears out of my eyes as I suddenly feel angry, hurt, lost, ignored, overwhelmed. Alone.
Immediately all my attention focuses on the pain. “It is as if the pain is a tyrant with a whip saying ‘Look at me! Look at me!’ every moment.”
At these moments, I do my best to remember this parable:
“Fact, Faith, and Feeling were walking along a wall. As long as Faith kept his eyes ahead of him on Fact, all three made progress. But when Faith took his eyes off Fact and turned around to see how Feeling was doing, Faith fell off the wall, and Feeling fell with him, while Fact went on.”
My bloggy friends- the Devil would LOVE it if I was too busy being in pain to remember that God is there with me. Too much of the time, my will is not strong enough to turn from the immediate, pressing pain. I forget that God is in the pain of the moment. I feel far too overwhelmed to muster anything like faith.
Fortunately for all of us, I don’t have to. You see, faith, unlike feelings, comes entirely from God. I don’t have to conjure up anything- God offers faith as a gift.
All I have to do is keep my eyes on Fact: A) God exists and B) He loves me more than I can ever imagine. Since faith depends on GOD, not me, I don’t even have to prove these facts to myself. I don’t have to reassure myself that they are true. Emotions like doubt, fear, and confusion don’t phase God, as long as I do this one simple thing: choose to accept that “God said it, and I believe it, and that settles it.”
Seriously. That’s all it takes- an act of will. Faith says that even though I feel all of these emotions telling me that God isn’t there and could care less about me, right now, in this moment, I choose to believe otherwise. I choose to accept God’s gift of faith.
The emotions often don’t go away. I don’t feel any more secure, loved, joyful, or at peace because of my choice, and I certainly don’t miraculously feel God’s presence. But since faith is not a function of emotion, it doesn’t matter what I feel. I choose to believe differently.
Thanks to Faith, I know Fact to be true. It becomes a rock to hold on to, a shelter to hide in through the storm. In that dark space, when I feel completely rejected by everyone, I am able to hold fast to Fact.
Eventually, the emotional squall subsides, and I recover clarity. I remember my many blessings and I am grateful. As it turns out, I am not alone, but well loved and cared for. God is good.
My mind is totally wrapped up in my own needs during the storm. Once the Pain-tyrant has hushed, my will can handle more than just maintaining my choice of Faith. I try to remember to turn my attention outward and pass on the love I have experienced to others.
Tonight, when going through these steps, I felt called to write them down and share them somehow. You would think that it would get easier or better, but it doesn’t. It’s more like running in circles than a process with measurable progress. Lather, rinse, repeat. Fear knocks me down, I choose to believe, the emotion subsides eventually, I try to take the focus off myself while waiting for the next storm. It’s not how I would choose for my life to be structured, if God asked my opinion on the matter, but there it is.