Improve your Emotional Well Being（2）
“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
But you were unwilling, and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.” (Isaiah 30:15-16, ESV)
I continue to share the spiritual insights I’ve learned in my personal devotions on improving our emotional well being.
I have heard an interesting story. A child was sitting by the road crying. A passer-by asked him, “My little friend, why are you crying so badly?” Said the child; “I accidentally dropped a quarter into the sewer.” The passer-by saw he was crying so much that he took out a quarter from his pocket and said to the child: “Don’t cry. Here’s a quarter from me. Take it! ” The child immediately reached out and took the quarter and put it into his pocket, only to cry even louder. The passer-by asked, “Kid, didn’t you lose a quarter? I have given you one, you have lost nothing. Why do you cry even harder? ” The child cried and answered, “If I hadn’t lost my original quarter, now I would have two quarters! God isn’t fair!” Then he went on crying.
The attitude of “I must get what I want” is a major source of emotional distress. We focus too much on our own success and failure. There is a saying in English: “let go and let God”. Richard Bach, the author of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”, said this famous quote: “If you love something, let it go free; if it comes back, it’s yours; if it doesn’t, it’s never been yours.” It is truly inspiring.
Isaiah 30:15-16 is a commonly read spiritual passage. We often mention verse 15, but we ignore the overall spiritual meaning of this passage. This is an interesting act of man in God’s eyes — believing that he can rest in peace by persevering and working hard in his own way. We think of ourselves as highly competent, capable of solving problems, independent of God, and proud of our achievements. Success or failure are only in our own hands. Yet God says: you want to rely on your own ability to solve your own problems, so I will let you until you learn to “return to and rest in me.”
Many Christians rely almost entirely on their own strength in all life matters, and do not think of God first, until they are at the end of the rope and cannot solve the problem, they “put all their trust in the Lord”. However, since this kind of “Hail Mary” faith has not been tested, it will definitely lead to emotional instability: uncertainty, panic, anxiety, abandonment, anger, insomnia, stomachache… . Even if God does lend a helping hand, we will not feel grateful or satisfied. Like the child who lost a quarter, he has to “pursue” endlessly for what he wants all his life, and the issue was even magnified and intensified. The vicious cycle often leads to emotional and even physical pain.
God is here to give us a spiritual recipe for internal peace. Our emotional strength comes from Christ’s promise. If we learn to rely quietly on obedience to Him instead of focusing only on our own successes and failures, we will surely enjoy a life of emotional stability.
Christians, learn to rest in the Lord!
(to be continued)
Ting Y Leung