Those of us who struggle with anxiety may take comfort from the Apostle Paul who was no stranger to it’s strangling grip.
…I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.
For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,….(2Cor 7:4b-6a)
Paul says he is exceedingly joyful in his tribulation, but it was not that way earlier on. Before the joy came he experienced the opposite. Paul experienced tribulation- which means: narrowness, pressure, being confined.
He said their bodies had no rest. Lack of sleep and being physically tired.
Troubled and pressured on all sides.
Conflicts, Fightings, struggles, controversies, arguments and strivings against him on the outside….
And on the inside, fear, dread and terror.
Being physically tired in our body can throw us out of kilter(off balance) and Paul experienced this. His soul was being buffeted with all sorts of fears and what we call negative emotions. This is the flood that David wrote about in the Psalms…
Psa 29:10 The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood, And the LORD sits as King forever.
Psa 29:11 The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.
And the Lord has done what David said. He has given us Jesus Christ to be the strength of our life and the Peace of our heart. Jesus has come into our spirit, a place deeper than the soul and the body. In the midst of the storm Jesus is there. In our spirit.
The body screams loudly when in any discomfort….the soul screams even louder sometimes. Add to that the enemy landing on our shoulder to whisper doubtful thoughts into our mind….and we are in a bad way.
But the LORD does sit enthroned in our heart, and our heart is enthroned in JEsus. We have been lifted up and set upon a great Rock–no more than upon Him, IN HIM!!
Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah Psalm 61:1-4
The end of the earth hey? Think on that friend.
Are you going through tribulation in body and soul? It is designed to bring you to the end of the earth- YOUR EARTH. When we come to the end of the earth we cry out to Him Who alone can save us. When we come to the end of the earth – our strength depleted, our ability finished- our heart totally overwhelmed within us- we cry and He leads us to the Rock that is Higher than I….which I?
Paul said, ‘I am crucified with Christ. I no longer live, Christ lives in me’ Gal 2:20
This Rock that is Higher is Christ living now inside you. He is not outside , up there somewhere, while you suffer down here.
You have a Rock inside your spirit–Jesus Christ –the One who never leaves you nor forsakes you. The One who has lifted you up out of the miry clay and seated you in Him, in heavenly places.
I start a new job driving a truck long hours tomorrow at 7am. It is 9:30pm as I write. My nerves have been terrible all day. Fears and doubts rise up to swamp me. My body is weak, my legs feel like jelly. Over the last 15 years I have been smashed and reduced to a nervous wreck at times. I have failed in many ways as a man, as a husband and as an employee….at least that is what the accuser tells me.
Those who know me, know that I have suffered in darkness, even to the point of despairing of life. I know the battle that others go through. But God has seen fit to keep me alive and to show me His truth. Without His loving embrace and the prayers of the saints I would not be here today.
So what I am saying to you, is what I am saying to me dear one….take courage, for Jesus is the Rock of refuge inside your heart. Let go of the shore and float out onto the stormy sea trusting Jesus alone to hold you up and to bring you through. The shore is that place where we think that it is up to me to do a good job. The shoreline is that earthy place of self reliance—the old self that was separated from Jesus. Let go of that place and deliberately swim out into Him.
Have you come to the end of your earth? Have you no confidence in the flesh? The Rock that is higher than I is your new born again spirit-It is Jesus—yet it is you. As we speak in agreement with these things we rise above the waves and joy begins to fill our sails. No use trying to fight the fears and the doubts…no use at all. What we need to see is that Rock that follows us, even leads us, and is even in us. What we need to see and speak is Christ our life, Christ our wisdom, Christ our righteousness, Christ our everything. Let the feelings go their way, you just speak Christ and keep speaking Him-for that is who you really are now.
Christ in your form–the new I.
Love and peace to you.