Walking down the path to my next dreaded assignment, I was angry. I was angry that I had to go and do something that I not only don’t enjoy, but that causes me immense stress, angry that the people who could have changed the situation had chosen not to do so, and angry that I will have to do it over and over again before I can cross it off my to do list. I was just really, really angry. The kind of angry that raises heart rates, makes breathing constricted, and leaves a person feeling hopeless. The kind of anger that leads people to do and say irrational and irresponsible things.
While I was thinking on my anger and frustration, a gust of wind blew and distracted me for just a moment. In that moment, I heard the words my ministry partner, Tracy, had texted me only the night before. The short version is that if satan knows that he can get to me via my circumstances he’ll never stop messing with my circumstances. I need to be praising God no matter what the circumstances are as a way to fight off the attack. Mulling those words over in my head and in my heart, I heard God whisper the words of an old hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
This is an age old battle, one I have fought as long as I can remember. I want all the things to go my way and then I will be happy, then I will be joyful, then I will be content. There are two realities that make this line of thinking impossible. One, the list of all the things is continuously growing. There will never be enough going the way I think it should to put me in that place. Even if I were to obtain all the things on my current list of what would make me happy, I would in mere seconds have more to add to it. It is just the way it works. Second, God says pretty clearly that our joy, our hope, our contentedness is based solely on what Jesus did for us on the cross. He tells us not to focus on earthly matters. He tells us we will face hardships of many kinds. He promises us life will be hard. He also tells us to be content in any circumstance. He tells us not to worry but rather, to pray. He tells us that He will use all things for our good and His glory. Often times it seems as though we can’t possibly follow His plan of action. It seems completely unattainable. What I have come to realize is that if He asks us to do it, He provides the way and the strength for us to do it. Doesn’t make it easy, doesn’t make it fun, but it does make it possible.
With that all tumbling around in my brain, I reached my destination. I went immediately to the computer to look up the words to the hymn. It is entitled, “My Hope is Built On Nothing Less” and it is written by Edward Mote. The verse first reads, “My hope is built on nothing less that Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” I wrote it down because it was clearly something I needed to remember. There is no hope, no joy, and no peace outside of Jesus. In Jesus there is an abundance of each of these. He chooses not to force us to focus on Him because that would take away our free will. He is, however, there waiting for us to choose Him. When we do, He will supernaturally provide us with these spiritual blessings.
Knowing that this is true, it is still not easy. It takes me choosing Him time after time after time. It takes me giving up my fleshly desires and focus on self approximately 37, 865 times a day. I have to remind myself through His word of who He is and who I am in Him. I have to remind myself of all the times He has proven Himself to be faithful. Deep breaths, worship music, and prayer are also incredibly useful when I forget and become as angry as I was today. It takes effort on my part – but I get to exchange anger for peace, hopelessness for hope, and sadness for joy. Every single time that is going to be worth the effort. Every. Single. Time.
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