VBS Lessons: No Matter How You Feel

All week long I’m thinking about the Bible points for our Vacation Bible School and what they mean for adults.  Tonight at Sky VBS! (Group Publishing), we’re learning: No Matter How You Feel…Trust God!

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Twisted Ankle, Twisted Truth
Originally published 11/7/2011

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God” John 14:1

For some reason when I clean, I clean fast.  No slow and methodical wiping of the rag or scrubbing of the dish for me.

In an old episode of How Clean is Your House (love that show!), the expert cleaner explained how many calories you could work off just by vacuuming.  I probably double that with my aerobic cleaning.

So, yesterday I snatched up the trash bag with an upwards yank, dropped it on the floor, tied it up in record time and dashed out the front door, hopped down the front steps, tossed open the trash can lid, plopped the trash bag in, released the lid so it crashed down and kept on walking in one nearly unbroken stride.

Unbroken, that is, until I stepped down on what I thought was solid ground, but was really a sink hole courtesy of our friendly front yard mole.  My ankle twisted in an unexpected direction.  I felt the wince of pain as I almost hit the ground.

Now, fortunately, it was just a momentary shock of pain.  In a few seconds I was limping down the driveway for the mail.  A minute later I was back to the sport of Extreme Cleaning with no long-term damages.

But life in its way is no less unexpected and sometimes no less shockingly painful.

It can be as simple as the surprise pitfalls in a single day.  Like the fact that my house was passably clean when we awoke this morning.  Then my three daughters painted beautiful artwork, and each other, and the chairs, the table, the carpet, their clothes.  After an unplanned mid-morning bath, all of the paint flecked off their bodies onto the bathtub.

Surprise!  Suddenly my day became a whole-house scrub-down and laundry marathon.

It can be as paralyzing as a life-changing twist.  The phone call with bad news.  The hack to your budget.  The visit to the doctor.  The sputter of a car.  The removing of a wedding ring.

Somehow in the middle of this topsy-turvy, always uncertain, shake-up of a world, the Psalmist wrote:

“My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music” (Psalm 57:7, NIV). 

Reading the preceding verses makes it clear, David wasn’t treading on a comfortable path when he penned this Psalm.  He wrote these particular words “when he had fled from Saul into the cave.”

So, how then, could his heart be steadfast?  How could he be “firmly fixed in place, immovable, not subject to change, firm in belief” while running for his life from the powerful king of an enemy? (Merriam-Webster).

And what about us?

Those minor unexpected annoyances in my morning left me cranky and quick-to-snap.

Major upsets to my plans and life cost me a night of sleep.

Steadfast?  Not me.  Not hardly.

The trouble is that the steadiness of my belief seems utterly dependent on the ease of the path I trod.

It’s not dependent enough on Him, My God, My Firm Foundation, My Solid Rock.

Martha sank deep into an unexpected pit when Jesus didn’t heal her brother, Lazarus.  Instead, she left the place of mourning over his death in order to confront Jesus about it privately.  “’Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’” (John 11:21).

Jesus knew just what to ask her:  “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (Luke 11:25-26).

Did she believe this?  Did she believe that Jesus was more than a nice friend and successful religious teacher?  Did she believe in Him was resurrection and life?

Could she put aside her emotions and declare that no matter how she felt, she could trust God?

Martha regained her footing on this shaky ground by stating her belief: “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:27).

Yesterday, I felt the familiar suffocation of fear at some unexpected news.

Today, I experienced the all-too-familiar bad attitude over some twists in my day.

And Jesus asks me, “What do you believe?”

He asks the same of you.

You may be tempted to spout off the Nicene Creed or fall back safely on the answers of a good Christian girl.

Really, though.  Truly.  Honestly.

What do you believe?

Shaky ground and a loss of footing are always signs of belief problems.

It means:

we’ve been putting our faith in ourselves, in others, in our circumstances.
we’re relying on our own plans.
we’re depending on our own strength.
we’ve bought into lies somewhere along the way.

As you catch your breath after a fall, steady yourself by reaffirming the truth.

I believe God loves me, always, unconditionally, fully.
I believe that God’s grace covers over all my sins.
I believe that I will never go through any circumstance alone; God will never leave me nor forsake me.
I believe that He can do anything, even more than I could ever imagine.
I believe that even when I see tragedy, God is working on my behalf and for my good.
I believe that God will be glorified in every situation.
I believe God will provide for my every need.

This is what we know is true, no matter what we may feel.  Therefore, we can trust God.

 

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This, Part I

Not long ago, Staples ran a series of television ads with an Easy button.  With one click, impossible office tasks became possible, even a breeze.  Nothing was beyond the power of the Easy button.

Today, I’d like to have one of those snazzy red buttons that makes life simple and stress-free.  Perhaps, though, what I really need is a Start This Day Over button or a Crawl Back Into Bed and Reawaken Feeling Great button. Maybe a Clear Foggy Brain button would help me or a Keep House Clean While Children Play At The Same Time button.  The most effective one, though, would be a Noise Cancelling/Make Everything Quiet So I Can Think For Two Seconds button.

I’ve tried all the buttons on the five remote controllers for my television, all to no avail.

So, here I sit typing away and feeling oh so inadequate to be sharing anything with you at all.  Normally, by this time in the day, I’d have written this post already and moved on to some other writing projects in between activities with my kids or washing dishes or laundry or other tasks.  This morning, though, as I tried to eke out time for writing, I found that I was running through all three daughters’ names plus the names of my two cats before I finally matched the right name with the child in front of me.  That didn’t bode well for finding the right words to share with you.

I’ve prayed all day for God to “help me out here!”  I pulled up to my prayer times and asked for some energy, clear-headedness, patience, well-behaved children, and a mess-free house with a side order of divine inspiration.  Do I want to Up-Size that?  Yes, please!

I’m still waiting on that order.

A sucker for advertising, I have also eaten several KitKats hoping that it would “Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that KitKat bar.”  The mini KitKat bars that fit into plastic Easter eggs, though, don’t really give a break so much as an extended blink.

In the middle of:

running unexpected errands
calming an overly tired baby who didn’t sleep last night and awoke screaming early this morning
scrubbing cat vomit out of the carpet from every single room in the house
organizing upcoming events and starting blankly at my to-do list and calendar wondering how realistic cloning myself by next month would be
asking my children in “Mommy’s nice voice” to play quietly and then watching them sprint across the house screaming at the tops of their lungs less than two minutes later . . . over and over and over again
and hearing an old Motown song rumbling around in my head in mockery: “Momma said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this, my Momma said”

—-somewhere in the midst of that, God’s been speaking truth to me. 

Lesson 1: My Feelings Can’t Be the Boss of Me

I’m not really feeling “it” today and by “it,” I mean anything.  Today, is a runaway kind of day, a quit all activities and retreat to a cabin in the woods kind of day, a shirk overwhelming responsibilities and live a life of selfish indulgence kind of day.  Yet, while feelings can be an indicator, they can’t be our basis of truth, our filter for reality, or the impetus for our actions.

Standing on the shores of the Jordan River, Joshua instructed the people to Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you” (Joshua 3:5).  Even with God’s promises ringing in their ears, overwhelming physical evidence of impossible circumstances must have been daunting, even paralyzing.  A nation of people stood on one side of the Jordan River, the Promised Land on the other.

Then, God asked them to literally step out in faith.  “It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap” (Joshua 3:12-13).

The priests had to actively step into the river before anything could happen.  They could stand as long as they wanted on the banks of the Jordan, waiting for God to make a way through that water before they dipped their toes.  Yet, He’d given them a way.  He’d asked them to walk into it.  He asked them to act now even though they likely felt fear or doubt rather than confidence or excited anticipation.

As the toes of the priests sunk into the mud, the river water parted, just as God had promised.

Standing on the banks of my own Jordan, I can allow fear or doubts to paralyze me.  I can give up and walk away because the river is too wide and deep to cross.  Or, I can step where God has told me to walk regardless of my feelings and allow Him to part the waves of my circumstances with the power of His Presence.

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King