God hasn't promised a smooth ride. In fact, from James 1, we gather that we should expect trials. James says "When you face trials...", not "If you face trials..." Put another way, I've heard my whole life to focus on WHO God is, not on WHAT He is doing. Or again, I've heard that circumstances will be up and down, but this doesn't mean your emotions or your relationship with God has to or should be up and down.
And yet, when they hit, it's so hard to focus on what you know to be true.
Prior to going to Guatemala, things were looking up for us. Really up. Extra income was flowing in; God more than provided for our trip. And God was doing some good things in our marriage as well. After Guatemala, we both suffered from still being stomach sick for two or three weeks, coupled with the stress of returning to work and lost vacation days... On top of that, the bill for my ER visit in February was slapped on us with a 30 day due date, and I did not get a paycheck July 1st (by error, not for lack of working in June...). Now, on July 14th, I've still not been paid and I'm told my Aug 1st paycheck may be delayed as well...
Nothing like a hit with finances to really sour your mood. And with terrible timing. Lack of finances only complicates other complicated decisions: should we try for a baby soon or wait til I finish school? should we buy a new (used) car or hold on to my paid-for, 11-year-old, 135,000-mile car? Even vacation plans for our anniversary this year are suddenly put on hold.
Not only am I struggling to stand firm and consistent with the Lord, but I'm struggling to keep my emotions (particularly frustration, lack of patience, etc.) under control. This morning I nearly lost it while dealing with our payroll staff, proving how truly terrible our little tongue can be...
But as always, I'm reminded that the choice is mine. And that's really what it comes down to... I once heard someone say that our stress and worry is really just a lack of faith: we don't believe God is big enough to take care of our problem. In addition, it's a pride issue: we think we can do it better, quicker, etc. than God.
So, stopping the craziness, moment-by-moment, I have to sit down and say, "God, I surrender my pride. I'm not big enough, but I believe you are. And I trust your word that not only do you never leave me, but you also never fail me. You're in control of this and of all things."
And this day, that's precisely what I choose to do.