Consider the source, 考虑来源
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
It was a cold dark October evening. The large sea vessel plowed through the water carrying a commuter train and vehicles of all sizes sailing to Copenhagen from the German port of Hamburg. I stood topside next to the port rails looking to the stern. The ship was well clear of the port, and the lights on the horizon disappeared. The isolation was palatable. The water in the Baltic Sea was black. I pulled my collar closer and looked over the rails at the water passing underneath the vessel. As far as I could see, it was a dark and ominous expanse of black water and an overcast and black horizon above it. The only visible light on this dark sea was this ship sailing into blackness. I recognized, for the first time, that the open sea was dangerous. Most certainly, the sobering reality of my human frailty.
In counseling, people often described their emotional experiences to life events in similar word pictures. When asked to relate their initial thoughts about these life experiences, they express helplessness, disappointment, despondency, being in a dark lonely place, and adrift. When I posed the question regarding their first thoughts and response to those events, they replied it was always that way, resolved that past experiences repeated themselves, a sort of emotional déjà vu. Nothing seemed to change, and the cycle repeated. That was their perception, and their behavior followed similarly. Consequently, the solution was to begin examining life events objectively and reframing those events with the truth.
Certainly, as Christians, you would think finding the truth would be self-evident. It wasn’t. Especially, for those who suffered horrible experiences and unspeakable acts perpetrated upon them. It was difficult for them, as it is for us in facing a crisis, as the Psalmist expresses in the 23rd Psalm, to ponder – to consider – as our first thought:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4
Therefore, as Paul encourages,
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
When surrounded by temptation or testing, instead of considering these truths, are our first thoughts driven by emotions or fact? Do we consider the totality of the circumstances and examine the pieces in light of the big picture? Are we like the wise Captain who piloted the ship through the rough Baltic Sea to its destination while adjusting to present immediate surroundings?
Does truth guide your life and your response? If it does, you can choose hope in the testing or temptation. Why? Because you know the truth. The Perfect Captain guides your soul on the sea. He is piloting you to port. Like the Psalmist, you can “rejoice in his promise like one who finds great spoil.” (Psalm 119:162). So, who or what is guiding you?
However, what is your first thought when you face diversified negative and positive life events? What do you consider? Are you favorably disposed to God’s favor and aware of his grace? In short, do you seek the truth about God and his relationship with his children?
Therefore, who or where do you go for help in a crisis?