Be Consumed

 A couple of weeks ago I had a health scare.  I don’t want to bother you with all the intimate details, so suffice it to say that in my line of work, too much knowledge is a dangerous thing.  I know the statistics and the fact that it was much more likely to be nothing than something.  But I also have seen the worst of the worst and know that “something” was a possibility.  At first, I was able to keep a cool head and for the most part ignore that nagging thought in the back of my mind.  But after a while, when the possible “something” wasn’t going away, I got worried.  And the worry started to take over.  And one day, I could barely think about anything else.  The thoughts of what could happen – I’m talking worst case scenario here – began to consume me.

Now, let me back up.  For the past year or so, I’ve had this burden on my soul to understand what it means to “turn your eyes toward Jesus.”  I liked the idea (that sounds so silly, but it’s true), and I knew deep within me that this seemingly unreachable goal is essential for abundant life.  I’ve always known that God loves me, that He cares for me and watches over me.  That I can take anything to Him in prayer.  That nothing is too big for Him.  But to really look to Him in everything and allow “the things of earth to grow strangely dim”… I had never really experienced this, and I longed for it.  I mulled over this often, trying to reason my way into achieving this goal I had clumsily created for myself.

So in this struggle I was having, this day when I was fighting worry and fear over what could be happening, I was looking at my situation with a clouded lens and growing angry over what this possible something would mean to me, to my family, to my future.  I cried out to God… and I began to hear Him.  It wasn’t an audible voice.  It was His Spirit speaking truth into me, through Scripture, through the lyrics of a favorite song of worship, through the prayers and encouragement of my Godly husband, through the outpouring of support in love and prayers from close friends and family.  And the words that I kept hearing were an invitation to rest in His presence.  To “calm and quiet my soul, like a weaned child with its mother” (Psalm 131).  To know that He’s got this.  To realize I don’t have to have all the answers, because He does.

Those of you who know me well know that I am the definition of a control freak.  I have an incredibly difficult time loosening my grip.  I like things to go my way.  (That’s normal, right?)  So to open my hands and my heart and let the Spirit consume me goes against my nature.  I guess that’s why it’s taken me so long to get this, maybe even why it took a jolting experience like this to bring me to this reality.  But in my angst, I did just that.  I laid my burden at the foot of the cross and found peace there.  Jesus heard my cries and held me in His arms, soothing my soul and reminding me that it doesn’t really matter what happens in this life – He is with me.  I mean, what happens matters.  Day to day life events are important.  We can’t ignore “the small stuff.”  But we can choose to “turn our eyes toward Jesus” and know – really know deep within our souls – that the Lord does have plans to give us hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  They may not be the plans we expect, or even the plans we think we want.  When Jeremiah gave these words to the Israelites, I doubt they liked the idea of their Babylonian exile, or wanted to settle there for seventy years.  But God’s promise was that He would befound by them and restore them.  And He is always with us.  The Psalms are full of reminders of His presence, going before us and behind us (Psalm 139), comforting us (Psalm 23), providing refuge and strength (Psalm 46).  So while I know I’ll still have times when I try to figure it out on my own and muscle my way through, I hope and pray that I’m able to let go, be consumed with the Spirit, and rest in the peace of His sweet presence.

This post was originally published on Julie’s blog Clumsy Pilgrim.