Ruffled Feathers

“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.” “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable.” “ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” John 16:33; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

This morning, someone told me of a decision made that I had so hoped would go the other way, and I found my feathers ruffled. I thought I had given the situation over to my Lord, entrusted Him to have His way as this person deliberated, but realized in my reaction that I had not fully yielded. It seems the relentless tendency of our flesh to take up the reins for what is not ours to guide. In my mind I know not only am I commanded against this, but God promises better plans than I, and He completes His work without my help. Still, my weak will gives sway to my emotions, my selfish wants, impatience, and determination for the plans I think are best. (And I have such good reasons!) (Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 29:11; Philippians 1:6)

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God alone does the best and perfect work according to His good and beneficial pleasure, and He calls me to higher ground by giving me these challenges of the heart. I realize the ruffling is my own doing, when I choose to walk into the turbulence of unmet expectations or hopes, mess in actions and decisions that arouse anxiety but aren’t mine to tend. When I instead face into the wind of His Spirit, He soothes and smooths the feathers of my heart. Looking to Him with my fears and deepest desires, I allow Him to calm me and enable me to capture His vision for what will be. My restless heart anchors its hope in Him, and comes to rest. Will I turn my back on what ruffles to face my Lord with holy resolve, and trust him? It is not wrong to have the right desire, to hope and pray for maturity in character and spirit, for wisdom that supplants emotion, but it is wrong to be anxious and upset when God doesn’t do things the way I want.

Lord, help me to trust You implicitly and completely, with all my cares, and every righteous hope and desire. At every doubt that nibbles at my confidence in You, may I turn to you to refocus. Let me not get stirred up by concern for what may never be, and instead choose to trust you for Who you will always be. Smooth my ruffled feathers of anxiety, restlessness, and impatience, to rest peacefully in You.

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