Navigating the Reef

Ok.  It’s true confession time once again.  Last week I touched on my fear, and now I’m going to try to dissect some of my other emotions.  If you were to make note of some of my relational characteristics and apply society’s stereotypes, you may conclude that I am a girl.  I know…I can’t believe I just said that either.  I’m the one that cries more, needs verbal and physical affirmation, and often times just likes to talk.  I’m not saying this to somehow connect with my female readers; I’m simply giving some background as to why I pay so much attention to what I’m feeling.  Emotions can be very powerful, and understanding them can be vital to our thriving in this life.  We can’t let them be the storm that steers the ship towards the reef; instead they are to be skillfully navigated so our vessel remains intact and on course.

In the midst of trusting God for big things in my life, I’ve noticed something interesting with my emotions.  All in the span of a single day, I can experience joy, fear, peace, determination, discouragement, anger, contentment, happiness, and I’m sure a few more I’ve left out.  Sometimes I can even flip from one to the other in just a few minutes!  That’s worth investigating.

As I was preparing to meet with some friends who are in the midst of a very difficult season in their life, I heard God say to me, “There’s no such thing as false hope.”  In that moment, I understood what He was telling me: You either bring hope to a situation or you don’t.  False hope is not hope at all.  I understand that sometimes we need to be honest with a person if the prognosis is grim; however, I feel the terminology we use is misleading.  It should be, “There is hope!” or “There is no hope.”  I personally believe there is always hope!  False and Hope can’t be together because it’s not the way God set it up.  This is a difficult train of thought to follow, and I’m certain there is plenty more study to do, but I believe what God wanted me take away was the power of hope.  If you look at the list of emotions we experience, hope is the one thing that has the power to raise the low valleys to the level of the high peaks. 

Over and over in the Bible Jesus is called “our hope,” and for good reason.  (Example – 1 Timothy 1:1)  For centuries God’s chosen people, the Israelites, had lived under the oppressive rule of various empires.  In the midst of their struggle was always the prophecy of a coming savior.  This savior was to be the embodiment of hope.  He would reestablish God’s kingdom and level the playing field by providing a way for everyone to have relationship with God.  I’ve had a relationship with Christ for 15 years now, and I’m good at understanding these concepts in my head.  However, the challenge comes when my emotions are flip-flopping every 5 minutes. How do I get control?  I’ve come to understand that hope occurs when possibility touches down in your heart.  In my own life, I’ve pinpointed when this moment happens, and it’s when I turn my attention to two very distinct things found in the book of Revelation. 

As the last book in the Bible, Revelation tells us what had happened in the past, what was happening at the time John wrote it, and what was going to happen in the future -much of which we are seeing today.  Very simply put, Revelation describes the battle between good and evil; the devil is real, and he can wreak havoc in a person’s life by using their emotions if allowed.  The good news is that emotions are God given; therefore, we have the ability to master them with His help!  In Revelation chapter 12, we see God’s people in the midst of the battle set from the beginning of time.  The accuser, the devil himself, is using lies to pin them down and crush their hope.  This is you and me, and it’s here and now.  Verse 11 is the key:

They (you and I) overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”

After reading this, I realized that this is when it happens; this is when hope rises in me.  It happened when I focus on Jesus’ sacrifice, and when I think of what God has done in me and others.  If I keep focusing on God-stories, hope rises.  When I see or hear of God doing the impossible in someone’s life, hope rises.  When I remember what He has already done in me, hope rises.  Those thoughts become the substance for possibility to take root and spring forth hope.

Jesus embodies this, and from his own mouth he exclaimed, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.”  Mark 2:17

The implication is that he came for those in need.  A doctor represents hope!  They are someone who has the knowledge of what is ailing us and also has the remedy.  In the case of Jesus, the remedy is a relationship with him.  We know he came to destroy the works of the devil in the world (1 John 3:8).  This includes destroying the works of the devil in your life and in your emotions too.  If we think on this simple truth, hope rises.

What I love about the Bible is that it is a big love story revealing some of the mysteries of God’s character.  It doesn’t contain everything God is capable of because He continues to do things in people’s lives today that there is no Bible story for.  However, many things I’ve read about I have seen Him do: salvation, healing, comfort, strength in time of need, friendship, anointing… just to name a few.  This tells me that He is more than willing to repeat miracles!  If He’s done it for someone else, He can certainly do it for you.  Let hope rise by filling your mind with the testimonies of His goodness.  Turn off the news for an evening and read one of the gospels.  I guarantee you won’t be the same. 

I’m expecting you to grapple with this truth.  It takes time to understand and tap into the power of the blood and the testimony.  I’m praying patience and blessing over you on your journey, because the real test comes in whether or not you’ll jump overboard when the miracle doesn’t come; or will you continue to cultivate hope to help you through the storm.  This, my friends, is a decision that only you can make, and it will reveal who’s really steering the ship: you or your emotions.