Looking for normalcy in unsettled times
Several months ago our hot water heater decided to stop working. I thought it extremely rude. It caught us all off guard, as apparently it had been slowly leaking for several days before its dramatic demise. It ruined almost our entire home. Because of that small water heater, we had to vacate our home for six weeks while it was being repaired.
For several weeks we lived in an efficiency-type hotel room in a historic hotel (did I mention that we had to be out of our home for six weeks?!). Both my wife and I work from home, and our son is homeschooled, so we inhabited this place full-time.
Given what 2020 had already dished out, this thing nearly put us over the edge.
We’re all creatures of habit, and we all seek to find some sort of normalcy—some rhythm, some routine, some homeostasis—in the midst of all the chaos.
Between client appointments, mine has been to go out to the hallway and take in the amazing panoramic views of the entire glass ceiling—sun, sky, clouds, plants—as well as the open floor plans of the lobby below (we are on the top floor).
I, like a flower thirsting for the sun’s rays, have found a schedule of times to stand and enjoy as much sun as possible.
I have noticed a large swath of sunlight across most portions of my hallway all throughout the day, except at about 3:00 in the afternoon. At that specific time, for some scientific reason that I don’t understand and won’t try to explain, the sun is exposed on only one three-to-four-foot section of the hallway. So, like the obedient sun-seeker that I am, I choose to stand in that one specific sunny spot so I can soak up my small slice of sun.
Physically and emotionally, this is a healthful and wholesome practice—finding a daily schedule in the chaos of the day to get sunlight and fresh air; but, really, it’s more than that. This practice proves a powerful and healing spiritual principle. In all the messiness and chaos that’s happening now in our world, we can do this with God. We can reach out and soak ourselves in our own small slice of, not the sun, but the Son!
The Bible has much to say about this.
Telling God “What’s Up!”
A long time ago God promised David that he would be king of Israel. But the current king made David an enemy of the state and hunted him down in order to kill him. Not surprisingly, David felt that he got a raw deal. David wrote his woes in a journal of songs and poems called the Old Testament book of Psalms. And, frankly, given what’s happening in the world today, it’s a relevant book to read.
David isn’t the only person who wrote psalms. More than seven authors, including five individuals and two families, are listed as authors.1 Someone named Asaph was one of them. I mention him to highlight a psalm he wrote that clearly illustrates this principle.
Asaph Goes Off!
The psalm of this focus is Psalm 77. Take a minute to read it over and you’ll get a feel for the rawness, honesty, and emotion that Asaph expresses. He goes off!
With only 20 verses, the psalm is constructed like this:
Verses 1-10: Tell God all the bad and bizarre stuff that has happened or is happening.
Verses 11-20: Tell God about all the amazing and awesome acts He has done or will do.
I find it interesting that Asaph didn’t hold back to “keep it clean” with God. No, he totally unloaded! At first you may feel that he’s ripping on God too much and is taking his complaints to the extreme—even bordering upon the rude (or as we say in the South: “hateful”).
But God knows exactly how we feel. He can take it. He won’t get angry or get His feelings hurt. If you want more proof, many times in the Bible other people were just as real with God, namely, the Old Testament prophets and someone named Job.
God’s not interested in us sugarcoating our experiences and feelings. We can be honest with God. I promise: afterward we will feel so much better.3
Making It a Habit
Admittedly, it feels weird to follow our complaints with praise of God’s faithfulness. But as we do it more and more, it will become second nature. This act, like any other practice in life, needs to be a habit. And like any habit, the more we do it, the easier it becomes to do it again.
So when things are tough—and even when they’re not—let’s take time every day to secure our small slice of the Son. If we do this daily, we will shine both inwardly and outwardly.
And please pray for me and my family. We need more counter space!
Omar Miranda is a counselor, freelance writer, and editor who lives in Plainville, Georgia.
2 From overviewbible.com/who-wrote-psalms-besides-david/, accessed Sept. 30, 2020.
3 For more examples and specific verses of remembering God’s faithfulness during times of crises, check out www.openbible.info/topics/remembering.