10/12/15

Have you ever seen someone face tragedy or crisis — or even a flat tire — with an uncanny measure of calm? What do most people do when their world tips on its axis? Collapse. Complain. Rage. Shut down.

Over my lifetime, I’ve occasionally observed the rare person whose faith seemed to consistently trump their circumstances. I have always been drawn like a magnet to people like that. In my younger years, I remember spotting individuals who clearly possessed radical inner-wellness and thinking, “I want what he has.”

Over the past 30 years or so, since the hunger began, God has been slowly and deliberately fashioning a space of wellness inside me. Most of the healthy real estate in my soul was developed through hard times.

There are a couple passages of scripture that I’ve lived through so many times, I can put a stake in them and claim them for my life.

“When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4

“We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

I’m a visual person, and as God has developed this deep wellness in me, I’ve been reminded of what it’s like in the ocean when a storm is raging. The deeper you go under water, the less you’re affected by tossing waves and crashing thunder. Right under the surface, the tempest can knock you around. But each time you go a little further down, the water around you becomes increasingly still. When you reach a certain depth, the atmosphere around you is perfectly calm, even though the reality above the water hasn’t changed.

Achieving that depth, and finding peace and wellness regardless of my circumstances, has come from developing a bedrock belief in two simple truths. I’ve understood them to be true since I was a child, but lacked the experience I needed to gain through trials. Now I hold fast to them with my whole being, and my daily life has changed forever.

God is good.

I can trust Him.

Applying those seven words to tribulation has empowered me to operate out of that otherworldly assurance I longed for in others. My soul is well.

I still feel unease, pain, and even anxiety at times. My brain chemistry occasionally robs me of the emotion of peace. But I’ve learned how to swim to the deep place under the storm where calm and wellness are found. When the sea is tossing me around, it doesn’t change the fact that underneath it all is an unshakable knowledge that it’s going to be okay.

Is it well with your soul? Do you know deep down that you can have peace no matter what is going on in your life? If not, I encourage you to bring your hunger for wellness before God. Ask Him to make those seven words bedrock truth in your life.

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