I’m sitting here in my room listening to the craziest storm of the season rage outside. It’s a real mess out there. Our house is getting thrashed by wind and ice. But our house is strong, doesn’t even creak (the walls are solid logs…they’re like a foot thick haha). It’s one of the most delicious feelings to be cozy, safe, and warm in the midst of a storm, and I got to thinking…this is my life in God.
When I was little, I mistakenly thought that things go your way when you’re a Christian. God makes sure nothing goes wrong for you. I realized I was wrong about that a while ago, but didn’t know how to deal with it for a long time and felt suddenly exposed. If God wasn’t protecting me from bad things…then anything could still happen…..
I’ve been slowly learning that my fears are unfounded. Because although bad things can still happen to me, God will always protect me. Me, my inner self. Because although circumstances and hurts and criticisms may reign outside, my strength and solidity is in Christ. There’s not a bubble around our house. The storm is hitting it with its full strength. But inside all is tranquility and warmth, because the house is strong. God makes me strong, so no matter the storm, even if it hits me full force, I can maintain myself, tranquil, loving, joyful. God’s love protects me from the elements, it keeps the nastiness of life from reaching or corrupting my heart. As Philippians 4:7 says, the peace of God, which passes understanding, will mount guard around our hearts and minds (paraphrased). If we’ll let Him protect us, God will let nothing through to hurt us.
But there’s a crazy, beautiful juxtaposition to this thing called the love of God. Because at the same time it keeps all the evil of the world out of my heart, it sets my heart free. It’s like one of those breathable raincoats: it keeps the elements off, but allows me to breathe. It keeps the world out, but does not keep me in.
Psalm 31:8 (KJV)
7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;
8 And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.
When I realized this summer what verse 8 was saying, it blew my mind. God does not want us to have a narrow life! That’s how most people think of Christians anymore. We are the people who have no fun because we have to follow all the rules. Goodie goodies. Party poopers. Right? But the opposite is actually true. Our enemy, the devil, would like nothing better than to shut us up in his hand. And that’s what he does. When he really gets his claws in someone, he shuts them down. And it starts out looking like freedom, but ends up being a vice grip (why do you think they’re called “vices?”) Look at anyone who’s trapped in addiction, anyone who deals with anxiety. It makes life so small.
But in contrast, God sets our feet in a large room. While the enemy is busy trying to confine us so he can control us, God sets us free, puts us in a wide open space and says “choose.” We have so much freedom in living for Him. He wants us to wander the space He’s put us in. He wants us to move and grow and excel and run with Him. Why else would He put us in “a large room”?
Here’s to God, who guards us jealously without ever stifling us. Who keeps us safe and peaceful even in life’s most terrible storms. Who frees us from any restriction or limitation so we can explore the fullness of all life has to offer. Only He could manage it. So enjoy a cup of tea and a good book by the fire or from the comfort of your bed as you watch winter happen outside your window (or, if you live in Hawaii, just be thankful for 365 sunshine), and remember that you, too can be an oasis of calm in a world of chaos.