I struggle….

I struggle….

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all:
Don’t give up; don’t be impatient;
be entwined as one with the Lord.
Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope.
Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you
! Ps 27:14 TPT

Life is by no means easy. It is a complex paradox of up’s and downs; it is a custom made experience. Each one of us gets to experience it differently. The particularities are different, the emotions, the feelings, are the same. We are humans, and as so, we share sentiments. We all know how it feels to be happy, upset, angry, at peace, abandoned, and satisfied. We can all relate to that.

David wrote Psalm 27 before being anointed to kingship; he was not a king at the moment this particular Psalm was written. As you read this Psalm, you will discover that it reflects on David’s gratitude and steadfast security on the fact that God has been there for Him. He is able to weave into words the emotions of his heart and the thankfulness of his soul. David experienced troublesome and hardship before being established on the king’s seat. The throne involves trouble. The throne is a blessing, but it can quickly become a curse. Life is a collection of never-ending processes. The king’s seat is, and will never be the goal. A throne is just a tool by which the one who is privileged enough to seat on waves wisdom, help, protection, and wisdom. If the heart does not get treatment, it becomes the person’s ruin.

I struggle with OCD (Obsessive-compulsive Disorder). Over the years it manifested with the necessity to control. I need to feel that I have the control of everything, situations, and people included. This necessity to control has brought not only an incredible amount of stress but pain and an immense void. The problem with the latter is that when it has not been taken care of, it leads my heart to try to fill it with things (best scenario). Over the years, I’ve hurt people with my OCD, but most importantly, I have inflicted desolation to my heart. I’ve tortured myself with a series of failed relationships. The reason as I’ve discovered is that I want to control, and in my disorder, I’ve pressed more than needed the buttons and so often before time. I tend to believe that I can “buy” people’s attention and affection, the reason? I need to have control. It has been a long and uncomfortable journey, still dealing with it has brought healing.

I meet someone. Unconsciously I did my best to try to win the other person’s affection, attention, and will. Everything was going “as planned” until the words “I am not sure about what is it that I want” came into the scene. Those words, along with, what I perceived as never-ending periods of silence inflicted so much stress and a massive sting in my heart. One day sitting at a coffee shop going through what had happened over the previous weeks and days, remembering the conversations we had, I started to cry. I wasn’t able to control myself. My OCD ghost was making war at me! I went to different Christian counselors and pastors to seek for advice. Every single one of them gave me the same word of encouragement.

In my personal life, I’ve discovered that my first impulse is to run away from God and seek protection in the uneasy and unsteady realm of my emotions. One morning I was, let’s say, a little emotional that I decided to indulge myself with some cake and coffee, I opened my Bible at Psalm 27 on The Passion Translation. It was one of those moments where the Holy Spirit comes and whisper truth into your heart. The Psalmist describes God as a revelation light that guides. That’s what light does; it reveals that which was in the darkness. As I opened my Bible and started to read God’s words, His divine light begun to make known the undeniable truth that I am not alone, that He is by my side, guiding me.

God is eager to guide us when we allow Him to do so, our Heavenly Father comes and shed light, hope, restoration, and a second chance to those areas we considered lost, without help, deprived of hope. David words should echo in our hearts and prompt us to cry out for the surrounding and protection that only God can provide “surround and protect me.” What are those areas in our lives that frantically need God’s unshakable and firm bound of restoration? What is it the reason why we need protection? In my case, I need to protect myself from the desire to control everything and everyone. I need God to come and surround me with peace and hope when thoughts of abandonment, rejection, inferiority, and lack of love come straight to me.

So often, I need to remind myself of David’s words: “my heart shall not fear.” Fear can take residence in our hearts and keep us from moving forward, whether it is a bad business transaction, bankruptcy, a failed relationship, a divorce, or abandonment. We might perceive that someone used us, or maybe you find yourself getting out of a relationship that left you believing that you were the one who hurt the other side, or perhaps it was you the one who was damaged by the actions and decisions of someone who claimed to love you. Whatever the case, we are left alone with a deep sense of fear, we do not want to make a mistake again, please don’t take it the wrong way, we ought to be careful and conduct ourselves with precaution.

So often we lie to ourselves saying that we do not want to make a mistake again, that we have to be cautious to whom we open our heart — doing life with this mentality will coup God’s blessings for us. If I had allowed my fear to take control, I would have never left my home country to serve God and studied His word at a professional level. If I had thought, “I’ve never done this before, I am not sure how will I navigate this season, I would have miss one of the most significant and more cherished opportunities in my life. However, most important, I would not have been able to bring my brokenness to God for healing and restoration.

The Amplified Bible puts it as follow: “Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, [even then] in this will I be confident.” Psalm 27:3 “[even then] in this will I be confident“, lets be confident in the reality that God is there, by our side, guiding us, if we let go our fears, our insecurities, if we surrender our struggles to Him, then our heart will be filled with the kind of confidence that only God can provide. Jesus promised that He would be with us for eternity. Let us abide in this promise, let us take residency in the unquestionable reality that we are not alone, God is with us, not only that, He goes before us!

The Message Bible says it like this:

When besieged,
I’m calm as a baby.
When all hell breaks loose,
I’m collected and cool
.
Ps 27:3.

The Passion Translation renders verse five in a way that takes my breath away: “In his shelter in the day of trouble, that’s where you’ll find me, for he hides me there in his holiness. He has smuggled me into his secret place, where I’m kept safe and secure— out of reach from all my enemies.

It had never occurred to me that God hides me in His holiness. In other words, my protection is in who God is, in His essence. God is Holy. His holiness is perfect. In other words, God’s provision, God’s help, God’s security is complete! All of my fears have to flee when I find refuge in His holiness. In his presence, there is transformation, restoration, and healing. It is at that secret place, where it is only God and me that rest becomes tangible, confidence begins to take root in my heart, and a steady conviction of purpose invades my soul.

According to the book of Hebrews, we all have access to the secret place. I like the poetry in which the Passion Translation renders this verse. I allow myself to think that whenever anxiety, stress, and when the always painful question “when are you getting married”? hits (if you know someone single, please refrain yourself from dropping that hurtful question, I believe that question comes directly from the pit of hell), God immediately will smuggle me into his secret place! When you reach a certain age, and you still are single, you do much questioning. It is never easy, at first, to see how all your friends are getting married, how they all are having babies, how they go out shopping for minivans while you’re still driving that old blue 1998 Cavalier! Show some love and embrace the singles around you. We all need meaningful relationships; all we want to is connect.

Just like David, I’ve found myself crying and weeping at night: “God, hear my cry. Show me your grace. Show me mercy, and send the help I need!” (Psalm 27:7) It is not a lack of faith to pray this way; it is human! The pain, the burden, that anxiety brings is real, at times it confuses you, and you find yourself believing you are doomed to babysit when the babysitter calls in to cancel because he or she got a date. I don’t know what is it that you’re fighting right now, it could well be (perpetual) singleness, a threatening medical report, the loss of your job, the passing of someone you loved, or maybe you are getting out of a painful relationship. All I know is that the burden is enormous, and it does bring a toll. Amid madness and right there in the middle of the storm, remember who’s in the boat of your life: Jesus. Just like he did almost 2000 years ago, he still can stand up and speak these beautiful words: “Hush, be still.” (Mk 4:39) Moreover, guess what? Your anxiety, your pain, fear, hurt, will die down and become perfectly calm. (Mk 4:39) He spoke those words because his disciples went ballistic at a situation they could not control. They were out sailing in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, when out of the blue a deadly storm hits. Their lives were at risk. The disciples were panicking, and Jesus? Well, he was napping. It was because of the disciples’ unbelief that Jesus confronted them with this one question: “Why are you fearful? Have you lost your faith in me?” (Lk 8:25) If the disciples had trusted in the reality that Jesus was in the boat with them, that question would never have been asked.

I can relate with the disciples. I acknowledge that Jesus is in the boat with me, but being acknowledging his presence does not necessarily mean that I am fully aware of what it means. When my anxiety, my pain, my singleness, converge with my OCD, pandemonium occurs. I blind myself and am no longer able to rest in the fact that the creator is right beside me, that He’s got me fully covered. During my storm, I find myself crying out for divine intervention. It is at those moments that I need to pray like David: “Yet I totally trust you to rescue me one more time” (Psalm 27:13)

The Psalmist wraps this praise of deliverance with the following words:

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all:
Don’t give up; don’t be impatient;
be entwined as one with the Lord.
Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope.
Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you
!
-Psalm 27:14

We need never to give up. God, in His time, will work out His perfect will for our lives. It may seem far, far, like really far away at the moment, don’t be impatient (I need to repeat this to myself several times through the day). Allow the process of waiting to transform you, waiting for mature us, it teaches us, and eventually, it brings out the best of us. When everyone speaks hard words at you, when you go, once more, through that medical report stand in God’s promises and be brave and courageous knowing that you are not alone (though it may feel like you are). I don’t know what else to say other than quoting David’s words: “keep on waiting —for he will never disappoint you!” Do me a favor, don’t you let fear to stop you from moving forward, never allow the feeling of inadequacy to prevent you for reaching out to the unexpected, fight your insecurities and confusion; if you grant them control over your life, you might miss a huge blessing from God.

One more thing (in the words of The Message Bible):

Stay with GOD!
Take heart. Don’t quit.
I’ll say it again:
Stay with GOD.

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