Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:7-8 NLT
As a young man I was all emotion; reactive, angry and self-conscious. My encounter with God was so very real the memory clings to me still, redolent with the great joy I experienced upon first bowing the knee to Jesus. While the bending of my physical frame proved easy, it took time before I recognised that my will rigidly resisted acknowledging a new landlord. Here was the initial ground of my battle with God and self.
What worries did a young overachieving man face in the 1970s? Especially one who entered the University of Oxford and inhaled its heady atmosphere of self-confidence? There was much growing up to do. Slowly God chipped away at the granite that enfolded my heart.
While God wooed me, the enemy sought to intimidate me, and I often cowered when confronted with the real me. Yet, despite a number of valiant attempts, I was unable to lay to rest the shadow of my conversion. It captivated me long enough that I’d yield afresh to the lordship of God and eventually see my tormentor put to flight. This offered temporary respite. Within the swirling emotions, I must find the source of my real life who is Christ, saviour and King. Recognising this in my head was the first step to quenching the acute pain my raging emotions caused, both to me and those around me. Now alert to the reality of the deceits of my enemy, I took time to learn how to step behind the distraction of my ceaseless anxieties.
Despondency easily triggers an emotional response that seldom resolves anything. A sign of growing maturity in Christ must be the ability to choose to stand in the safety of God’s embrace, protected from the storm. My peace is not the resolution of my problems and challenges. Rather, it is entrusting myself to God even as the storm rages before my eyes.
How do you find comfort when the storm rages?
Lord, I will look up at you, not around at the problems that surround me.