SEASONS OF DIFFICULTY
By Jeanenne Sweatman
It’s easy to judge a journey by the looks of it… It’s easy to be moved by what we see with our natural eyes, as opposed to trusting what is being built within. Especially, as it pertains to another person, like your child. The problem with this, is that it is all too easy to be tossed about on the waves, reacting instead of responding by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Only God holds the whole picture—only He knows what is ahead.
I used to work as a civil servant in Navy Nuclear Power. One of the most important things the Reactor Operators were taught was to “grab the bar.” What this means, is that the response of the entire power plant is sensitive to the adjustments the Reactor Operator makes at his control panel. So, before he was to react to any situation or any indication he was observing, he was to “grab a bar” that went across the width of his control panel at his waist. This kept him from grabbing the controls, and possibly making the situation worse by reacting to an instantaneous indication. This way, he could think through the situation, and make sure he had assessed everything before responding, as well as consult his authority. For me personally, learning to think this way and allowing it to permeate every area of my life has benefited me and my family greatly. I’ve come to realize that most situations are not the crises that they initially present themselves to be, and that pressure or urgency to react is in most cases not from God’s Spirit.
So, as disciples, and as parents, we learn to be content in the going through. We understand that temporary inconveniences or troubles are not quite what they seem, because of Who Our God is, who we are to Him, and our covenant with Him. We remind ourselves that God and His Word have the final say on everything, and so we cannot judge or determine something based on natural appearance. Even on my worst days—deep in the midst of trouble—I realize I’ve seen far too much happen by my God, and I know Him far too well to let those situations lie to me, by His grace. Most importantly, just as those situations don’t define Who my God is, they also don’t define who I am, or those I love.
“But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, ‘I believed in God, so I spoke.’” 2 Corinthians 4:13 (ICB)
What we envision as trouble, just might be that stepping stone to get us out of our boats. As long as we stay in that boat, trying to preserve our perception of comfort, we will get tossed around by the sea. Sometimes that boat has to rock so much that we are willing to step, realizing our peace is not in the boat, but in following Jesus. It may not make sense, it may go against the grain, and it may seem unreasonable or even irrelevant, but only Jesus knows what is on the other side. So, we get to proclaim the Truth that we do know in God’s Word, until or even if we don’t see it with our natural eyes. The waves do not get to conquer us through reacting. Rather, we conquer the waves through responding based on the leading of the Holy Spirit and the proclamation of God’s Truth.
“That is why we never give up…For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ICB)
Don’t ever give up. Grab the bar—the rock of our Lord—and respond from that position. Our troubles won’t last very long, when we step out towards Him… one step at a time.
– Jeanenne ♥