All in 24 hours...
It's really easy to get waylaid with bad news. For some reason the last 24 hours has dished out some stuff to get really down about. You combine that with some fatigue and this pesky gout in my big toe and you got yourself a formula for mild depression.
Because of my passionate personality...I tend toward a more melancholy state of being. I feel things deeply, for the good and bad. I carry the weight of conversations even when they are done and over with. I sense people's pain and can easily feel my emotions rise and fall with a facial expression or some other nonverbal that indicates distress. As I said last week in my message, without the Spirit's intervention, I gravitate to a poisonous mixture of a pessimist and a perfectionist. Let me tell you, that can be a deadly combination!
Financial pressure has played a large part in the saga. Doctor bills, activities for the kids, car accidents, registrations for our cars, birthdays, putting braces on two of our children, locking keys in the car that require a locksmith, gas prices, rising costs of food for a growing family...and so much more close in on you like a pack of ravenous wolves. It can really make your heart heave at times.
But then I look back at the last 24 hours and I'm amazed at how much good news there is. It's my daughter's 11th birthday and my wife's is in 2 days. The weather is in the mid 80's. I have air conditioning in my house which came in handy last night! I have a job. (which is always something to be thankful for in Michigan) I have a job I love! (which is something that probably 90% of the population couldn't relate to) And probably the biggest piece of good news is that 12 people accepted Christ this last weekend at church.
After each service I gave people the opportunity to come forward if they had received Christ and I couldn't believe the response. To look in these people's eyes and to see the joy and freedom. To pray with them. To celebrate their new life in Christ. This eclipses anything that could be wrong with my last 24 hours. At least it should.
But like any other human, I have undulations that take me to peaks and valleys. I am filled with unspeakable joy in one moment and unbelievable sorrow in the next. My emotive, affective heart undergoes such dramatic shifts as it is pulled to and fro between these, oftentimes, concurrent polarities. They aren't just dramatic shifts, they can easily become traumatic shifts that take a toll on my heart.
It is in these times that I realize afresh my deep need for the sustaining strength of God's Spirit. As the psalmist says, "He is my strength and my song, and has become my salvation." My Strength, My Song, My Salvation.
So today I must quiet my soul to reflect on the beautiful portion of the last 24 hours. The portion that speaks of salvation and joy. I mustn't fret over bad news.
"Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21
May it be so.