Straight from a Reeling Heart
By Lisa Elliott
We were driving along the busy road on our way home. We were looking forward to a restful evening after a long week. The car ahead of us was turning right, as were we. There was a car ahead of it as well, also signaling right. Until suddenly, without warning, the lead car took a hard left, crossing over three lanes of traffic and causing not only the car ahead of us to spin out, but left us and all the cars behind us reeling in disbelief as we watched it all unfold. We were in shock as we pulled over to help the driver of the car ahead of us, which was now deeply embedded in a snowbank. Thankfully, there were no casualties. However, the damage report would be significant. Meanwhile, the car that had cut us all off and taken us by surprise drove off, waving in his rearview mirror, mouthing the words “I’m sorry”. No doubt, he didn’t have a clue of the damage he had created as a result of his unthinking carelessness.
Have you ever experienced anything like that?
The story I shared above is actually just that—a story. But it’s the perfect analogy for what happens in our lives when we believe that we’re heading one way and without warning circumstances thwart our plan, leaving us reeling and confused, spinning out of control in anger, and landing in a snowbank of hurt and mistrust. Death, loss, betrayal, and lies can have that effect, especially when we’re led to believe something that was either never truly promised, or that turns out to not be the truth at all.
If that’s you today, let me assure you that our Heavenly Father understands, even if we don’t. He has a perfect plan, even if we can’t see it. He holds hope for our future, even if we no longer believe it.
I’m thankful that we have a God who gets it. He understands our pain. We read all about it in Isaiah 53. There we discover that He was wounded for our transgressions. He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Despised and rejected by men. Familiar with pain, oppressed and afflicted, betrayed by one of his closest disciples and denied by another. The same crowd cheering Him on one week was crucifying Him the next. However, it is by His stripes we are healed! “Therefore, let us fix our eyes on Jesus…For the joy set before Him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Heb. 12:2-4, NIV).
So, how do we consider it all joy when we face trials of many kinds, as Paul exhorts us in James 1:2-3? Here are some biblical principles along with promises from God’s Word that we can hold on to when the wounds of life have us spinning out of control and we’re trying to find our bearings.
- Run to Him. “Come close to God and He will come close to you” (James 4:8, NLT). "The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you'" (Ps. 32:8, NLT). “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’" (Jer. 29:8, NIV).
- Trust His ways. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He will make your path straight" (Prov. 3:5-6, BSB). "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 'Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?' 'Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?' For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen" (Rom. 11:33-36, NIV).
- Remember His faithfulness. “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:19-23, NIV).
- Choose to forgive. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Rom.12:18-19, NIV).
- Guard your heart. “Above all else guard your hearts for everything you do flows from it” (Prov. 4:23, NIV).
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple, Dancing in the Rain, and A Ministry Survival Guide. She’s also a writer for Just Between Us Magazine, theStory, and Good Ground. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (three on earth, one in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, ON, Canada.