Friday, January 8, 2016

Get Out of There

Negative emotions are like cold and snowy days: we have to endure them until the season changes. But just like a winter that lasts too long, we don't do well when we're stuck in the negative.

A lady once told me that she was "in a bad place within herself." What a description! It immediately formed a picture in my mind of a person trapped in a cold prison, but the bars were imaginary.

Are you with her? Are you in a "bad place within yourself," and you've been dwelling there going from bad to worse? Are you surprised that staying there seems so comfortable and yet so painful at the same time?

Get of of there.

Staying in that spot is like standing outside shivering in the cold when the nice, warm house is unlocked and right in front of you. You don't have to stay in that spot. God has already provided a way out.

It is impossible to live into adulthood without walking through a spiritual valley now and then, but the valley is not a permanent address; it's a transition in the journey. And although the temptation to stay in the valley is compounded by weariness, affliction merely highlights our continuous need for God. Just like we could lose consciousness by staying in the cold too long, we lose our awareness of God's caring presence when we try to take up residence in the cold valley.

Are you dwelling in the coldness of a bad place? Turn to the warmth of God's Word. Verse after verse will provide a soothing balm for your soul, and guidance through the valley.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psa. 119:105) God does not leave us in the dark indefinitely, but He may allow a temporary period of "dark times" to cause us to look to Him for direction. One benefit of many: we develop a closer relationship with the Lord.

"Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights." (Psa. 119:143) It's amazing every time, but God has a way of answering questions before we even ask them, providing guidance and abundant comfort. The Word of God is the purest source of delight.

"My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word." (Psa. 119:28) Trials produce a form of physical and emotional exhaustion that is not relieved by sleep alone. We can cry out to God for strength at anytime, but sometimes we just need to be reminded. Expect God to answer, providing new endurance multiplied by grace.

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes." (Psa. 119:71) Every episode of affliction comes with a lesson that will benefit us. We would never ask God to bring us "trials for training purposes," so we can count on life to deliver on schedule. God's Word says "It is good for me that I have been afflicted," but sometimes we incorrectly assume that things should "feel good" to "be good." Adversity is a classroom. If nothing else, we learn to appreciate the pleasant times when they are contrasted with difficult days.

"Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law." (Psa. 119:153) The sun is still shining on a cloudy day; it's just hidden. God's deliverance is still available, but it comes in due season. We may not understand His timing, but we know that God can always be trusted to deliver. We are not forgotten.

Have you ever met someone whose life seems contented and carefree? Genuinely contented people do not have lives free from storms; they have simply learned that stormy blasts are temporary. Jesus will issue a "Peace, be still" command when the time is right.

If you're in a bad place, don't stay there. You may have grown accustomed to wearing the cloak of discouragement, but the "way of escape" is ever present. Move forward with the Lord. Today.

Get out of that bad place. It's too cold.

God will show you the way out.

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way  to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. 10:13)

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