When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. (Psalm 118:5-7)
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me me, your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94:18-19)
When it comes to the things our minds are called on to deal with, we’re living in a more and more crowded space.
Along with the perennial conflicts, disasters and oppression in various parts of the world, we now have the specter of more frequent climate emergencies to think about. Most pressing for almost everyone, Covid-19 impacts almost everything we do. Because of it, healthcare staff are burned or burning out, and the system is under a level of pressure hard to sustain.
On a less urgent but more insidious level, rapid-fire changes in technology can leave us constantly feeling out of step. We just figure out how to operate something, and it gets an upgrade that makes it more complicated and expensive. If we need help, it’s increasingly frustrating to actually reach a human being about it. Meanwhile, the upgrades and updates just keep coming, and coming, and coming.
Along the way, somebody forgot to upgrade our ability to absorb constant upheaval.
All of these issues can clog up our minds as anxiety, uncertainty and depression leave us feeling hemmed in, trying to unravel everything — or even anything. Instead, it’s easy to feel unraveled ourselves. If something would just stay the same for a minute, we might be able to get a grip!
What a blessed relief it is to come out of the mind-maze and into a spacious place. What a peace envelops us when we come into the presence of the Father who is the same as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. There are no roller-coasters operating here; just the same arms open to embrace us, the same love to fill us, the same goodness to guide us. If anything changes, it will be us, understanding and resting in the truth that we can rely on Him to meet all our needs. The more time we spend in the spacious place, the easier it is to see that we can trust Him to work all things — especially the hard things — for the good of His children.
Perhaps our concerns have crowded out our thoughts of that spacious place. For many, the tyranny of the urgent fills our days and shortens our nights, along with our rest. It seems to be an axiom that the more we need to call a halt, the faster we run; the more we need to linger with God, the less we think we can manage it.
When we find ourselves in the narrow confines of our own helplessness, we can determine to go into the spacious place of our Father’s love for us. That love doesn’t change. The world may be rocking on its hinges, but His sovereignty over all things is secure. What people have uprooted and torn down, God has sent His Spirit to replant and rebuild. He is always at His work, and His work is to nurture His children and bring them to maturity, to seek the lost, and to forge relationships of love, forgiveness, compassion, discernment and grace. God is always in our corner, even if we’ve backed ourselves into it.
When I’m hemmed in by trouble, whether from within or without, God will bring me into the spacious place of His love, the wideness of His mercy, the height of His guidance, the depth of His understanding.
The grip of anxiety will be released as I linger in His embrace, in the powerful yet gentle arms of my Father. There I will rekindle the assurance that He will never leave me or forsake me. I will know that I can go forward because I go forward with Him, until that day when there will be no more tears or sighing, where love is the only language spoken, and joy the atmosphere that permeates all things.