Tuesday, March 11, 2014

When Life is Not OK

Have you ever woken with the realization that things in your life are not OK right now?

Maybe it's grief overwhelming you - the loss of a loved one, or a broken relationship.

Or some pain or suffering in your life that haunts your days.

It could be stress from being too busy - overwhelmed with just life in general. Nothing in your family feels under control or restful anymore.

We can't change circumstances. We can't make pain go away. We can't banish trials from our lives just by wishing they would leave.

Life isn't always OK. I don't like that. I want to be OK. I want to feel composed, in control, and settled. To have that balance of hard work and rest, or of joy and sorrow, or of trials and relief. To know when things are going to settle down or when the pain is going to leave.

But the reality is that we live in a fallen world, where stress and setbacks and pain and grief fill our lives at times. Yet the better reality is that it's OK to be not OK. Circumstances don't have control over our lives. God does. And God's mercies are new every morning.

Andrew Peterson writes,
They walked in the rain of His mercy
Let it soak them down to the bone
And they splashed in its puddles
And danced in its streams as they'd go.

The rain of his mercy. What a picture! Every day God's mercy rainstorm pours down on us. The question is - am I moping inside the house or am I splashing in its puddles, dancing in its streams?

Do I recognize God's mercies every day, even on the days that aren't OK? Am I taking time to thank him? Am I resting in his strength to carry me? Even in the hard times we are surrounded by blessings. But if I don't notice them, humbly accepting his gifts with outstretched hands, acknowledging how much I need him and his mercy, I'm going to stay miserable in the middle of my not OK.

The Lord is at hand;  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-8

Do you see it? Thanksgiving ties directly to peace. 

Today pour out your heart to God - all of the ways you're not OK. Dump it out at his feet, but mingle it with thankfulness. Thank him for his mercies. Feel the refreshing quiet raindrops on your face. It may not take the pain away, or lessen the stress, but it will bring the desperately needed peace of his presence.