"Don't look down... Keep your eyes on Me
Just Walk on the Water... Walk on the Water with Me..."
I heard these lyrics on the radio while running errands this morning, and while I don't know the song nor the singer, they were so poignant and significant to me. It's been a hard several months for us, culminating in a tremendous amount of stress over some tough situations. High anxiety, sleepless nights, upset stomach and sick with worry, I finally came to realize that these a significant amount of this anxiety all started with one negative thought, which rumination would feed like a starving animal until the situation was even more out of control. Don't get me wrong, a fair amount of stress was to be expected, but my own internal reaction to it made it so much harder to bear, and overshadowed any remembrance that my God would neither leave nor forsake me, and life still held a tremendous number of blessings.
The song lyrics I heard this morning hit a spot in my soul. The Apostle Peter was doing fine while keeping his eyes on the Lord, but when he let his fear of his circumstances take over, he sunk. He saw that he *might* sink, not that he *was* staying afloat. And that fear changed everything for him. That "I'm walking on the water and I might sink" turned into "I'm sinking!" When we have big, bad events in our lives, we need to hunker down with our Bibles and our God all the more, see past the scary stuff and see the ways He's keeping us afloat. He won't leave us. But we need to keep our minds, eyes, hearts and thoughts on Him and His sustaining power. And THAT is real.
In Charles Stanley's "Handbook for Christian Living," he has an entire section on "Thoughts" and their impact on every part of our lives if we don't take them under control. Ruminating on bad things isn't helpful, nor does it paint a realistic picture. Bad thoughts out of control overshadow everything else, including the blessings in our lives. Allowing negative thoughts to grow into things of epic proportions warps our perception of reality. And it is possible to get these thoughts under control, but certainly difficult when many of us have not ever exercised that discipline.
This is not the same as sticking one's head in the sand, or "pretending our troubles away." We can face our realities accurately, remembering that Christ will never leave nor forsake us. Oftentimes we can't see it, but our intense difficulties in life on this sinful earth can bring good and they can change us for the better. Our reactions to them can bring glory to the Lord, and they can draw us closer to Him. But not if we've ruminated them out of control.
"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4:23)