“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” John 14:1 (NLT)
Frustration hit me full force about a quarter ’til dawn that morning. I woke up to find my child was sick, again. With my husband away on business, it was up to me to help the young boy who was standing beside my bed coughing.
He’d been sick the better part of that month with cold after cold. I thought he was finally turning the corner. I thought we were done with decongestants, germy tissues, and Clorox wipes. That is, until that morning.
The first thing I felt was frustrated.
When my child is out of commission, it puts me out of commission as well. He was already behind on his school work, and I was already behind on about a half-dozen things. I could feel my stress level rising as I poured the cough syrup into the plastic measuring cup.
I thought about the things I was supposed to accomplish — the scheduled meetings, the deadlines, the errands. A scowl settled into my forehead. I closed the medicine cabinet door with much more force than really necessary.
I felt sorry for my pitiful son. And I felt disappointed that my prayers had not prevented this relapse in illness. I felt angry that yet another day would be interrupted by some virus. And I felt bad because I knew I wasn’t handling it well.
I felt, I felt, I felt … all I was doing was feeling, letting my emotions spread out and lay claim over every aspect of my day.
I had this notion in my head that a mature Christian wouldn’t be feeling this way. Shouldn’t I be so spiritual that I’m above getting upset over things like this?
After taking care of my son, I sat down and scanned the gospels to see if Jesus ever felt emotionally strained. Sure enough, I found instances where Jesus is described as feeling “deeply troubled” and “distressed.” (Mark 14:33, John 13:21, John 12:27, NLT)
If Jesus got emotionally agitated, then it’s unrealistic for me to expect to go through life without feeling some stress. The problem isn’t my emotions, it’s my reaction to them. The trouble comes when I give them free reign in my heart and mind.
That’s when I become unstable.
That’s when I lose sight of God.
That’s when I say or do things I regret.
Jesus spoke today’s key verse to His disciples, knowing what their futures would hold. He knew His death was coming and it would trigger fear, sorrow and doubt in their hearts. Not wanting them to wallow in those emotions, He counseled them ahead of time to keep their focus on God and all that He’d been teaching them.
Jesus, knowing what our day holds, speaks the same words to us. He tells us to not let our emotions fly about, creating an unstable and troubled heart. Instead, our trustworthy Lord tells us to focus our attention on Him.
Eventually, I made the decision that morning to pray and place my trust in God, despite how my day was shaping up and despite how volatile my emotions felt. He calmed my anxious heart, and my son seemed to feel better as well.
It feels good when I trade in my troubled emotions for a source of strength that will get me through my day. And that’s one feeling I think Jesus would love for me to wallow in.
Dear Lord, I want to be ruled by Your Spirit, not by my emotions. Help me to focus on You today and not my troubles. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
By Rachel Olsen