Written some years ago while living in Germany
“…give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
As I went down the ramp to board the first plane on my return trip to Germany from the US, I heard the stewardess announce, “There is no more room in the overhead bins, so the rest of you passengers will have to check your carry-ons.”
I was not happy with that news! My carry-on was packed with personal things, many of which I wanted to use on the trip. Fortunately, most of these were in my backpack in my carry-on.
I took it out, surrendered my carry-on case with wheels, and made my way back to my seat, all the while complaining in my heart about this injustice.
This event and my response to it colored darkly the whole rest of the trip. On my transatlantic flight I was able to have 3 seats across so I could lie down to sleep. Instead of being thankful for this, I complained about not having the fourth seat so I could stretch out fully.
I was aware that I was not responding correctly, not “letting go, holding on, rising above,” and tried to do so but it was so hard because I was staggering about emotionally, wounded by the fiery darts of the enemy.
Later, in praying about the situation, the Spirit pointed out to me how, at the crucial moment, I had failed to get up the shield of faith: I had chosen to complain instead of praising God for what He was doing in allowing my carry-on to be taken away. In that split second of failing to praise, failing to get up the shield of faith, I got hit with the fiery arrow of self-pity, followed by the arrow of anger.
I was angry at myself for not getting on the plane earlier. I was angry at the stewardess for taking my bag. I was angry at God for allowing this.
Without confession and repentance, I was defenseless. I was down and Satan just kept shooting me with one fiery arrow after another: fear, selfishness, self-pity and more complaining.
It was a painful, joyless time before the Spirit gave insight through my journaling as I lifted my soul to Him and He helped me see where I had committed my initial, tactical sin of choosing to grumble instead of praising.
Then I could confess, surrender and be healed. After that I could easily raise the shield of faith and joy could flow again. I had to choose to live the truth that knowing Jesus is enough for joy, period! And this is something we can choose.
This morning I read in John 14:1, 27 where Jesus said,” Let not your heart be troubled,” and “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
These are commands where he tells us not to let our emotions rule us, but to choose truth. And the bottom-of-the-line truth about emotions is that we don’t have to obey them. We can choose to live the truth that “Knowing Jesus is Enough for Joy, Period!