To Get Off the Merry-Go-Round

I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, ESV)

The merry-go-round is fun, but only for a little while. The whipping forces and the whistling wind over time births a dizzying nausea. Everything is off-kilter and the world refuses to stand still. Life on the merry-go-round is no life worth living.

The whipping force and whistling wind of worry and confusion whirl us around like life on the merry-go-round. Our hearts become the playground of every fear that haunts midnight moments. The dizzying nausea of uncontrollable chaos closes down direction and clouds our minds with insecurity. Life on the merry-go-round is no life worth living.

It’s time to get off the merry-go-round. So, I set my heart and mind upon Christ who loves me and has proven His faithfulness countless times. Since we can’t trust the circumstances and since we can’t trust ourselves, we must set our heart and soul upon Jesus. He has conquered all troubling terrors in this merry-go-round world. Taking hold of His hand, we find the stability and security of life we long to know.

So, planting my life in the grip of Jesus, I am resolved to get off the merry-go-round and live in His peace.

Resolved to Celebrate the Colors

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:2–3, ESV)

Soulful blues color the canvas with the sadness of circumstances swirling toward sorrow. The haze of purple highlights the confusion of shattered dreams. The red unveils the wounded heart. The ashen shadows blend into midnight’s sable, telling the tale of darkness shrouding the soul. Each color paints the portrait of pain’s plentiful hues. The sweep of the colors across the canvas of my life reveals the touch and tone of various trials.

But there is joy in the colors on the palate of pain. God is making a masterpiece, painting even with troubling tempera. The picture of my life is incomplete without the shadowed hues of aching anguish. Every dark color of trouble bleeds into the vibrant colors of God’s grace, mixed perfectly by the sure and tender hand of the Artisan. God unveils the sublime design of victorious triumph.

The blues of sorrow, the scarlet of suffering, and the black shroud of death give way to the bursting brilliance of hope’s fulfillment in Easter’s sunrise and death’s defeat.

Therefore, like Jesus, I am resolved to celebrate the colors.

Resolved… to hope.

The seas give way to the force of the storm, felling towering oaks of water across the bow. The skies are darkened with a blanket of doom as the sadistic squall swallows hope and spits out despair. The soaring winds and surging waves steer the vessel to the ravenous reef, drowning dreams and devouring delight.

In the face of the terrifying tempest, hopeless hearts give way to courage. When the ravaging rage of the storm pillages our strength, fear-filled souls are buoyed by faith. Even as despair’s darkness shrouds our thoughts, the shimmering rays of peace pierce our anxiety-saturated spirit. For I am not alone. I follow the wave-walking, wind-taming, shadow-shattering, death-destroying, rock-rolling Rescuer, and when He speaks the raging storm is silenced, the tempest trembles, and tumultuous seas are stilled.

Because I walk with Jesus, I am resolved to hope.

(Psalm 65:1-13, 89:9, 93:1-5; Matthew 8:23-27, 14:22-33)

Resolved… To have deep roots

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

The seed sprouts, searching out the warmth of the sun’s gaze. But it is the unseen journey below the surface which secures its future above the surface. The battle that will rage above is won by the journey taken below. Without deep roots, sagging limbs, lifeless leaves, and a fruitless future await in the season of drought. In the season of the storm, broken branches and tree-toppling terror pen the plot of rootless living. The seed’s security and future flourishing depend upon deep roots plunging purposefully into the hidden heart of the soil.

It is the unseen journey below the surface that secures my future. My life flourishes when my roots grow deep into the soil of Christ’s powerful love and purpose. Like the antelope in the Serengeti searching for water’s life, I dive into the depths of Christ’s compassion and grace feasting on His promises each day. Like fingers groping for a hand-hold fighting against gravity’s pull, I wrap my soul around His character, finding strength to stand against the fierce winds that will certainly come. Coursing through the soil of my soul, my roots grow deep into Christ, finding nourishment to overcome the drought’s withering and wilting power. Plunging purposefully into the secret chambers of my heart, I am rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ, empowered by His strength, strengthened by His courage, and encouraged by His power in the face of the menacing maelstrom.

Therefore, I am resolved to have deep roots.

Resolved… to dance daily

Dwelling the deep darkness, I search for the beautiful life. Surrounded by the stench of death and decay, the tunes of sorrow and sadness saturate my senses. I look for the light to break into the darkness. I long for the chains that clang around my soul to be shattered. I hope for life to be more than a mere noun for my existence, but that it will take on the added meaning of fulfillment and abundance.

When I met Jesus, God unveiled His pleasure upon me. The chill of winter thawed and the veil of death’s dark shadows were shattered. The chains were broken. The broken heart and battered soul were made whole. The lyrics of despair were transformed into a song of joy. And I am clothed in the majestic garments of praise. Today and forever, I live in the glorious light of victorious salvation under the banner of God’s grace. No longer constrained to the march of mourning, my soul delights in the dance of victory.

So, as one set free from sin’s embrace, I resolve to dance daily.