Strong and overpowering flesh and will to fight….
A greater calling….
A surrender of those desires…
Willingness to yield…
Crying out in what seems like the darkness…
Eyes on JESUS…..
Have you ever been here? Have you ever had all of these feelings whirling around inside of you, crunching up your heart, yet been filled at the same time with the joy of Jesus and the knowledge that He’s got you – He’s got you right where He wants you? He might be moving you? He’s definitely growing you? He’s sovereign and divine and filled with love for you and knows exactly what’s going to happen, even while you don’t?
If you’re a Christian, you’re His child, you know.
Have you ever gotten that sinking feeling? You know? The one deep down in the pit of your stomach that once realized, the tears start to come? Those tears? They are the ones that come from the depths..deep, deep down and simply then spill out through your eyeballs? It’s gut wrenching, heart squeezing, yet somewhat freeing all at the same time. It’s that moment in which what you’ve been contending with transfers from just your mind, and thought life, to this place in your gut or heart where you know…you just know by the feeling that a decision is about to be provided to you from God.
At first, it feels like that moment (especially experienced as a little kid) when someone comes up behind you and scares you – suddenly your stomach jumps. And if you were really, REALLY scared, it doesn’t immediately dissipate…something lodges deep down in your gut afterwards and stays there a while. You know that you are standing in reality now and the scary surprise wasn’t real….that thing you imagined for a second (while suspended between full on reality and what you think might have been lurking behind you)…there’s some kind of weird gap in there for a few seconds. That’s the feeling in my stomach that I am calling this sinking feeling. The one that happens after the “jump” or the “startle”, but the stomach has something lodged…like a rock….heavy in there. And it’s about to be removed, but it hasn’t been yet. I know it’s weird, and it’s definitely hard to describe, but have you ever been there, friends?
The realization…the scary, saddening, while all at the same time thrilling, realization that He is about, yet again, do do something that is going to be really, REALLY hard for you to submit to, but that you know – you know because the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and heart – well, it’s telling you that you have made the decision that whatever that thing is…you are going to do it. You still don’t know what it is – that has yet to be revealed. But you know you’re about to be called by name. And it’s probably gonna hurt for a bit.
Plans get made….changes happen. We go with it. Even if we resist, we eventually go with it if we’re obedient. We acclimate, we try to settle in. (Lately I’ve been asking myself…why is that?) We find ways to manage with the Lord’s help through that change. We find ways to learn in our new season. New ways are encountered that we never knew existed to glorify the Lord. We sometimes leave all – everything behind to follow Him. And sometimes, we only leave a part of ourselves or our circumstances behind. And then we “get there” and think we’re done for a while. But sometimes we’re not, friends. Sometimes we’re not.
What is it about us that should ever make us think we’re done? Why do we have to learn this lesson over and over and over again? I think of those in the Old Testament…those who moved and moved and moved every time God called them. Did they ever think they were settled once and for all? Did they ever think they would never have to change again? I would have been a poor choice to be one of the twelve, I tell ya! And that’s not right. It’s not right at all.
Sometimes the sinking feeling is there because we realized we were counting upon something that we thought He gave us to keep, at least for a while. But we may not get to keep it. Then we realize it wasn’t ours to keep anyway. We realize He wants us to remember that it is only HE that we get to keep permanently. It is only HE and our relationship with HIM that matters and is constant. He trumps all else and sometimes He asks us to prove it. We realize we were still placing too much ownership on that which wasn’t ever really ours. Hence, the sinking.
Oh God, my flesh is so strong. I want it to be easier to yield to You and what You want for me to do as I grow closer to you day by day. But sadly, it doesn’t get easier as time goes on…it seems to get harder and harder. And God, I can do hard, because my hard is so minimal in the face of what You have done for me, for us. My hard is a cake walk. I’m just saddened that I find it hard at all. I want to be so strong in You that I can look up into your face one day and say I followed after you gladly – obediently – and that it wasn’t a hard choice to make. I grieve over my sinful nature – my loyalty to myself and my own flesh. I grieve over the knowledge that you have blessed me and saved me, yet I resist and I struggle, even when I am trying not to. I hate that I struggle because of what it means and says about my obedience and loyalty and love for you, not because of how much it hurts. No, I don’t like the discomfort, that’s true. But the true struggle for me lies in the fact that it’s a struggle at all.
It’s a blessing to be reminded of why (quite clearly) I need my Savior.
I cry – streams of tears running down my face as I realize over these past few days that my desires, good as they may be….in line with your Word as they may be…they are still MY desires. You may ask me to turn those over to You tomorrow. You may not. But I must be willing to yield, and today…I have that sinking feeling. It makes me sad. But only human sad. My spirit still is marked by your joy, your peace. It’s that good stuff that is behind all that seems sad, defeated, and the antithesis of “peaceful.” It’s the real stuff. My stomach is nothing but an indicator of how my flesh is responding to truth.
You know what kind of feeling is better than most? The feeling one has when they were sinking….down, down, down…and then they come back up to the surface. And the air is gulped in, relished, and brings about renewed life and energy and motivation and backbone and commitment, amongst a multitude of other things. The realization that you are truly alive and you can NEVER really die in Christ Jesus is amazing. How would you ever have this knowledge and true epiphany if you never almost drowned in the first place?
Thank you for the reminder, Lord. (P.S. Can I have some air soon, please?)
Know what else it does? It reminds you of how truly fleeting what we call “life” really is. If we place too much emphasis on the things of this life, (even the good and Godly things) and we start to sink, we can begin to believe we are going down with an anchor tied around our ankles….never to rise again.
But no matter what, with Christ Jesus in our hearts – if we have accepted His gift of relationship with Him and salvation and eternal life that comes through Him, we will never remain at the depths, never to rise again. We will rise again to live with Him in all eternity – we will be right by His side forever and ever, amen.
Oh God. Give me the strength to remember during this time of fleshly sinking that you have me in Your mighty grip and you will determine what to do with me, but no matter what that is, You will raise me up again. You will raise me up all the closer to my ultimate destination, which is in Your presence, and which is in the place that is never a sinking place.
Yes, one way or another, I shall rise again. And when I do, I will still be with You.
You are with me in my sinking, and you are with me in my rising. You are my One, true King. Oh thank you, Lord for reminding me that you have me right in the palm of Your hand. Give me the strength and the wisdom and the joy of knowing that I will never drown, never die, and never be fully lost because of YOU.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39