May 16, 2019
Friend to Friend
I am a woman with an affinity for turbulence. When a thunderstorm comes rolling in, I pop a bag of popcorn and sit back and watch. When the plane I’m traveling on goes through a series of dark and ominous clouds, I grin, waiting eagerly for the first bump. When the ocean rages and the waves start to crash wildly on the shore, I run to meet them. I love a good thrill or plot twist. Put a predictable, slow-moving book or movie in front of me and I’ll leave to find a new adventure.
But there’s a catch. You see, I’m fine with observing exterior turbulence, but when commotion and agitation touch down in my own personal life, well, that’s a different story.
Sitting here on the eve of my twenty-sixth birthday, I crave a calmer and more predictable life — one with fewer health problems, deadlines, doctor’s appointments and unknowns and more peaceful, sure and solid moments. To put it simply, if my life could mirror that of someone who went on a permanent beach vacation, I’d be happy as a clam. But life is not a permanent beach vacation. If anything, it’s more like a shipwreck from which we have to swim for our lives, and half the time we can feel like we are navigating blind.
For the love of peanut butter cups, could someone please tell the sea to calm down?
Some of us, by God’s grace, are fortunate enough to experience smooth sailing for a good number of our days. But if you’re like most people, including me, eventually the waves will pick up and something will cause your ship to wreck. Case and point, John 16:22: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this verse and looked heavenward to ask the question, but why? Why, Jesus? Why do we have to experience trouble? Why can’t life be sunny with a high of 75˚ every day? Why can’t you just come back today and make all of the pain go away?
While I’ve never received an audible answer, this is what I sense our Savior saying to all of us when we find ourselves asking, why?
Precious One, just breathe. I promise you, everything is going to be OK. I’ve got you in my arms, and I’m not going to let you go. So, look up and just breathe.
Lord, thank you for your promise and gift of peace. Thank you that YOU are my PEACE — my perfect Prince of Peace who died on my behalf so that I could live in peace, because you have conquered the king of fear. You have trampled the enemy under your feet. Help me not to be afraid when trouble comes my way. Help me trust and rest in you at all times, regardless of what my feelings try to convince me to think. I joyfully receive your peace.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Every inhale we take brings life to our minds, souls and bodies, and every exhale brings peace as we remember Who our breath comes from. Spend five minutes breathing deep through your chest and belly — in for several seconds and out for several seconds — and focus on the wonderful sustaining power of our God, the One who fills our lungs with the air we need to keep on living.
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Lauren Gaskill is the author of Into the Deep: Diving into a Life of Courageous Faith, a national speaker and the president of She Found Joy. Diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder (Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), Lauren is passionate about encouraging others to fight for faith and keep hope alive — no matter what. You can order a copy of Lauren’s book on her website.