I have two children.
This isn’t news to people who know me and my family. But the fact I have two girls who are old enough to go to camps during the summer was a really big deal last night.
A violent storm had passed through our area, knocking power out, dropping sheets of rain, and toppling trees. In a matter of minutes it was over, but what happened during those moments at a kids’ camp not far from our home, changed lives. Literally.
Eight campers injured. One camper killed. Somebody’s child, gone.
- What can be said when words fail?
- When life turns upside down, how do you deal with the new, awful reality?
- Are there anchors that still exist when waves have seemingly washed them all away?
- Is drifting in the midst of despair the new normal?
In the middle of seemingly insurmountable circumstances, I’ve discovered that peace often precedes answers. Comfort tends to walk through the door before understanding. And in the midst of overwhelming emotion and angst, we can, with broken and yearning hearts, make choices that can provide stability and hope.
Let me suggest five of them:
1. I choose to believe that God is close to me when I’m at my lowest point.
Psalm 34:18 (NLT)
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
2. I choose to believe that despite how I feel, God is with me and ready to give me strength that I don’t have.
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
3. I choose to believe that God has a perspective of things I don’t have, and is consistently working.
8 O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies! Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O LORD? You are entirely faithful.
4. I choose to believe that God knows more than I do, and wants to comfort me when my heart says things are hopeless.
1 John 3:20
20 … whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
5. I choose to believe God can replace my fear with peace, something that can’t be found anywhere else.
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Everyone one of these five is a choice, not a feeling. In fact, it’s unlikely in the midst of our despondency we’ll feel like any of these are true. But believing unseen things is faith. And faith can sustain broken hearts like nothing I’ve ever seen.
It begins with choices, and choices especially anchored in One who claims to be a prince of the peace we desperately seek, set direction for recovery. A recovery which often starts inside of us, long before storms move past.
“God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. God fights for us…” – Psalm 46:1-3