I struggled mightily this past weekend. My joy had drifted into stasis, momentarily absent from my consciousness…and I did not know why. Nothing had changed in my life. Nothing had changed in my relationship with God. And nothing had changed in my life’s purpose.
Were my thoughts and heart being held hostage by some speck of negativity that appeared on my radar screen late in the week before this past weekend? Maybe.
No matter the source, it brought C.S. Lewis into my mind’s living room where I considered his law of UNDULATION from the “Screwtape Letters.”
un·du·la·tion: a smoothly rising and falling form, outline, or movement.
Lewis is focusing here on how we allow our thoughts to swirl in a downward spiral. It’s the cycle of life moving through the troughs and peaks of life (undulation) when we alternate between GOD’S joy and the WORLD’S numbness.
My reaction? I started doing things that normally put a jump of joy in my step–running errands, working on projects, and watching sports on tv (the baseball playoffs and football.) But it only got worse.
And then it hit me. I had been THINKING too much about everything in a futile attempt to control my emotions and my thinking and my mood and my joy.
That’s when God nudged me to quiet the self-saboteur inside my head and turn to one of his spiritual imperatives: PRAYER. I immediately jumped on God’s sustaining grace with my passionate plea for relief. I acknowledged the valley’s unwelcome reception by getting on my knees with honesty dripping off my entire being.
God loves it when we pray. But he takes special delight in prayers like this that emanate from our dry dullness. And here is the ending and transformative difference maker: OBEDIENCE. If God feels absent, tell God (Psalm 13:1; Psalm 10:1; Psalm 88:14) and then OBEY.
This is what faith looks like in the trough. In the face of God’s apparent abandonment, the faithful Christian still obeys. Such faithful obedience, over time and through the ups and downs of life, is often the road to revitalize our relationship with Jesus.
I ask God to give me the strength to turn to him when I hit the valleys of life.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
You may not be struggling right now, but when you are…what will you do?
“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Psalm 13:1
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11