I am, by nature, a very emotional person. Add to that a hefty portion of the spiritual gift of discernment, and that creates someone, like me, who can sense when others are hurting and need encouraging. Or when the Holy Spirit is grieved over the state of His Church or the people in this world.
It’s a huge cross to bear, to be able, in the Spirit, to discern the emotional needs of others while trying – and failing – to bear one’s own emotions. It's overwhelming.
Often I can’t draw the line between my own emotional or spiritual distress and those of others. It’s a hefty spiritual gift – I go up to people and tell them, “The Lord laid you on my heart – just want to tell you, you’re a great mom and doing a wonderful job fostering that little boy…” or “Are you okay? Really? I’m here for you.”
I get the question, “How – how did you know?”
And I’ll say, I didn’t – Jesus knew.
Mother’s Day weekend was an emotional mess. It’s a hard day. It’s a hard day for normal folk who’s trying to tiptoe around the issue of mothers who weren’t so great, who have died, or are wonderful and about to be canonized – there’s a whole slew of emotionally-stunted material for counselors surrounding Mother’s and Father’s Day.
For me, personally, I cried all weekend long. Didn’t want to do anything. Stayed in my jammies all day Saturday, constantly fielding the question from the hubs, “What’s wrong? Talk to me!” I couldn’t talk…knowing full well the next day, Mother’s Day Sunday, I’d walk into church with 500 people with various forms of emotional baggage relating to their mothers, while my own mom sat next to me.
The gift of discernment is a powerful gift, awesome to encourage others, but you yourself take a beating. It’s overwhelming.
Life is overwhelming. Reading the newspaper or social media, watching TV news – it’s all so disheartening, everything that’s happening in the world today. You don’t need the spiritual gift of discernment to know the political ramifications of global actions. You do need a relationship with Christ to fully understand the spiritual ramifications of this world-gone-haywire. Again, it's overwhelming.
I told my husband the other day, “It’s like we’re all just too busy.” Families are too busy. Society is too fast-paced. We’re going on a cruise in September to celebrate our 10th anniversary – the planning of a relaxing time for just the two of us is about to drive me insane. Everything has to be done today, or yesterday.
All the issues surrounding life are maddening. Health insurance – never mind what Congress is doing – can I get medication for my seven-year-old daughter who has chronic migraines?
My husband, who is paraplegic, is a constant source of worry for me. If he develops a pressure sore, I know full well what that means and can lead to. If he gets an infection, I know how serious that is. The dark cloud of potential death hangs ever-so-low over these things. That old devil, satan, just loves to toy with all these worries and fears, blowing them up like balloons, getting bigger and bigger, hoping beyond hope we will pop – that we will focus so much on our circumstances that we will stop focusing on Christ.
Because that’s what satan wants.
Peter called out to Jesus as he saw Him walking on top of the Sea of Galilee and asked if he could join Jesus. Jesus said, “Come on!” Of course Jesus wants us to join Him on His walk!
Peter was walking, probably laughing, keeping his eyes on Jesus, who, in my imagination, was also laughing. Smiling at Peter. Then, as the waves were crashing nearer the shore, Peter’s eyes moved from Jesus and down to the swirling waters below his feet. He lost his footing, slicing through the waters. He screamed in his distress for Jesus to save him.
I love what Scripture says Jesus did, in Matthew 14:31. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’”
Did you see that? Immediately. Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught Peter. I imagine Peter was yanked up out of that water and stood there, nose-to-nose with the Creator Who made the water.
Monday morning after Mother’s Day, I prayed to Lord Jesus and asked Him to speak to me through His Word. I came to Psalm 18:6-16. Please read this with me, and think of drowning in all that life throws at us, distress we have at the all the stuff happening in the world and in our homes and churches and inside of us. Think of Peter, who took his eyes off Jesus and sunk quickly down into the raging waters.
“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him --
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.”
I love the image here – like Peter’s cry elicited an immediate and powerful, hand-holding response from Jesus, when we call to the Lord in our distress our cries go to the temple in heaven -- and the Lord God responds, mightily and powerfully.
Nothing can come between Christ and us when He is rescuing us. Satan has no power here. Christ is Sovereign and Power, Lord over all the earth. When we put Him first and make Him Lord over our lives, nothing can come between the Lord God Almighty and His beloved.
We are His beloved. Look at verse 16 – “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.” Christ is saving grace – He holds onto us when we cannot go on ourselves.
When all seems lost, when life is swirling around us and emotions seem to get the best of us, there is Christ – walking in peace on top of all the swirling mess and saying to us, “Come here. Come here to Me and don’t live in the chaos.” Once we cry out to Him for help, He reaches down to us and pulls us close – but it’s up to us – listen – it’s up to us to maintain eye contact with Him.
That does not make us little-g gods. No. That makes us followers of Christ.
Maybe you ask yourself, “Why would Jesus care so much?”
Skip down to Psalm 18:19. “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” [emphasis mine].
He wants us to live a life of peace in Him because He delights in us. What an incredible thought – that the Lord God who created the planets that spin at just the right speed to maintain orbit around a star we call the sun, would look at us, smiling, because He delights in us. How awesome is He who, despite our flaws and worries, would pick us up out of the murk and mire because He wants us walking with Him?
Wow. Just wow.
In Him Who Delights in You,
© 2017 Terrie McKee
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